The Highball in Austin is next door, and owned by, a branch of the Alamo Theatres chain. We had something similar in Oakland, in that it was a theatre that sold food and beer, but they closed shortly after we moved to the East Bay. The Alamo, unlike the Parkway, is well run and you won’t catch something from the seats, and they now have an early 60’s style bowling alley. Scratch that, they have a really nice early 60’s style bowling alley. This is the bowling alley that everybody dreamed of back when Swingers came out. Apparently they just moved the refurbished lanes and pin setting thing from an old bowling alley into the Highball, and then added a huge bar, a kitchen, karaoke rooms and a stage. (Our friend who lives in Austin informed us that the Highball’s current location was still a Goodwill sometime last year.) Basically it’s a one stop shop for your evening out.
We stopped by for a quick drink one night, and then came back another night for a quick round of bowling before we saw a movie, and both times it was packed, and the crowd was not at all what I was expecting. (When you bowl they bring you this huge thing of pickles, olives and various types of chips. It’s enough food to completely ruin your appetite for dinner.) There was a swing band playing in the back, and the crowd was an awesome mix of over 65 couples there to dance, and 30 year-olds who were also there to show off the skills they learned back when everybody took swing dancing lessons in 1998. If this place was in the Bay Area it would be a write off on weekends, when the Marina crowd takes over, and probably pretty Hipster on weeknights. There were definitely bro’s and hipsters at the Highball, but everybody seemed to be co-existing. The drinks were pretty good too. Also not what I was expecting.
We stopped in before seeing The Big Lebowski next door for a quick game and a round of White Russians.
In conclusion, no really, why aren’t there more places like this? It’s like a license to print money. And it’s a cool place to hang out. And the bathrooms are right by the private Karaoke rooms, so you can hear some guy belting out “hungry like the wolf” totally off key while you wait for an available stall.
1142 South Lamar Blvd, Austin TX 78704 thehighball.com