Back in Time: Comet Pub and Lanes brings retro cool to Decatur

The long corridor and basement entrance to Comet Pub and Lanes is like taking a step back in time to a 1950s hangout. Located in Decatur’s Suburban Plaza, the atmosphere of a beloved hangout remains, but the grimy bowling shoes and greasy alley food is a thing of the past.

The former Suburban Lanes reopened last summer thanks to brothers Ethan and Uri Wurtzel of Twain’s and new general manager Ben Horgan. Together, they have brought back some of the glory if the bowling alley’s original splendor, while adding a few personal touches, and a whole new menu created by Twain’s executive chef Savannah Sasser.

Comet Pub and Lanes has updated the retro-glamour while keeping vintage features for a throwback bowling experience. The original Brunswick 2000 ball return system remains and the unique lane backdrops of twinkling starbursts still shine thanks to the owners’ efforts to find the exact make and model of light bulbs.

Before bowling, it’s best to start a Comet Pub and Lanes visit by putting in an order for one of their signature “munchies,” served straight from the kitchen in metal mixing bowls. Replace fries with potato skins ($8.50), fingerling potatoes covered in cheddar cheese, bacon and green onions, or get a teaser taste of their homemade pizza with garlic knots for $5.50. A secret menu item is the Comet Burger ($12.50), served with a sunny egg and bacon for a classic bowling alley dinner.

The Comet Burger

Once bowling is underway, thirst can be quenched from a 16 beer draught menu, a host of bottled and canned beers and cocktails, each with a special name. Cocktails are cleverly named after the movie “The Big Lebowski” and its iconic bowling alley scene. The White Russian ($9) is a must, prepared with cream, Kaluha, and Tito’s. The Beehemian ($9) is a refreshing summer cocktail with gin, lemon and honey.

The best-kept secret at Comet is midday bowling. Weekday lane rates are $15 per lane, per hour or $3 games on the weekdays before 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday evening rates are $20 per lane, per hour or $3 games after 10 p.m. Weekend rates do increase to $20 per lane, per hour before 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and then are $30 per lane, per hour after 5 p.m. All bowling requires a $4 shoe rental.

As for the name of the alley, it’s a nod to the Wurtzels’ flagship restaurant, Twain’s in downtown Decatur. Namesake author Mark Twain was born, and died, the same year Halley’s Comet made one of it’s rare appearances. Tributes to comet spotting, Twain and space exploration have popped up in the shape of murals on the walls of the Comet.

Comet Pub and Lanes is located at 2619 N. Decatur Road. For more information, visit cometpubandlanes.com.

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