There’s just something about hurling a wooden ball and watching it careen down the lane and into holes of designated point values that appeals to the nostalgia within. So of course we were pleasantly surprised to see that Doc’s Lounge in Johnston features its own Skee-Ball machine, saving us a trip to less pleasant venues.
We visited Doc’s Lounge on a frigid Saturday night. It’s located in a Johnston strip mall space formerly occupied by W’s Lounge. The bar, located in the same area as a workout facility and tanning salon and near McDonald’s and Dahl’s, caters to the Green Meadows and surrounding Johnston neighborhoods, and the clientele appears to skew from 30 to middle-age.
The exterior window greets customers with the bar’s logo, replete with stethoscope and a tag line that says, “For What Ales You.” We took seats at the end of the expansive bar and spotted a board listing specials, including an aptly titled “Flu Shot,” featuring a mixture of the cream liqueur Rumchata and melon liqueur. It was a bit early in the night for shots, so we opted instead for exceptionally frosty domestic bottles for $2.75 each, though we were surprised to see Stella Artois on tap and Killian’s Irish Red and Red Stripe in bottles, imports that are not typical of neighborhood bars. And that bottle of Templeton Rye was staring at us as well, all telling us Doc’s has impeccable taste in alcohol.
We noticed the bar was set up for karaoke, but everyone’s eyes were peeled to the multitude of flat screen televisions, which were broadcasting an NFL playoff game — the heated matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. Most of the patrons were bellied up to the bar, with a few stragglers seated at tables scattered through the main area of the bar. In addition to karaoke, Doc’s also features trivia on Tuesday nights.
Though Doc’s does not have a kitchen, it sells chips, peanuts, beef jerky and Pasquale’s frozen pizzas. There’s also a small machine behind the counter that dispenses free popcorn to patrons. A sign attached to the machine requests that a new bowl be used each time the popcorn is dispensed. We’ve had plenty of free popcorn in our days and have never encountered such a sign, which points to Doc’s cleanliness standards, seemingly higher than most.
We ended our stay at Doc’s by visiting the aforementioned Skee-Ball machine, which is located by a door that exits to the rear of the building where a gated patio resides. Skee-Ball was much more expensive than our nostalgic hearts remember shelling out as kids. At $1 a pop we opted for one game apiece; I finished with a meager 260, and my husband hit 360. Had the game been 25 cents, we may have finished our night competing for a high score.
Find it: 8805 Chambery Blvd., Suite 650, Johnston
Hours: 1 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
Info: docsinjohnston.com; 278-7090