Hey Man, It's the Best Bowling Alleys in Los Angeles

Let the Good Times Roll

Photo: Wonho Frank Lee, Highland Park Bowl, Facebook


Hollywood Star Lanes, the bowling alley where The Big Lebowski was filmed, closed in 2002 and was demolished a year later. But not to worry, there are plenty of places to bowl a few games and celebrate Jeff Bridges' iconic character. Whether it's The Day of the Dude, celebrated each year on March 6, or during the annual Lebowski Fest L.A., here are seven of our favorite bowling alleys in L.A.

Lucky Strike Live

Lucky Strike was L.A.'s first upscale bowling alley when its first location opened at Hollywood & Highland in April 2003. As other luxe alleys came on the scene, Lucky Strike evolved too, and in June 2014 it became Lucky Strike Live (6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood 90028). It’s still got that chill, eclectic vibe. But now there’s live music several nights a week. Bookings lean heavily to rock, with the occasional blues, psychedelic and tribute bands thrown in for variety. If you just want to bowl? There are 12 lanes, each outfitted with a comfy couch for lounging and a sizable table for the smoked gouda mac & cheese bites and kalua pork nachos you know you want.

Fun fact: the bar is repurposed from Lane #7 of Hollywood Star Lanes, where The Big Lebowski was filmed.

XLanes in Little Tokyo

Photo: XLanes, Facebook

XLanes

Located in Little Tokyo, XLanes (333 Alameda St., Los Angeles 90013) has been likened to a Chuck E. Cheese for adults. Though it should be noted that kids are welcome except Friday and Saturday evenings, which are adults only. The sprawling, modern facility, which feels like it would be at home in Vegas—after all, you can order a ribeye laneside—has so many extras. Arcade with prize redemptions? Check. Restaurant? Check. Billiard tables? Check. Karaoke rooms? Check. Virtual dart machines that allow you to compete with players around the world? You already know the answer.

As far as the bowling goes, they have 30 lanes. Three VIP rooms offer private party guests a more intimate environment. The smallest accommodates 30 guests with four lanes, the largest 50 people with six lanes. Note that XLanes has a dress code.

Highland Park Bowl

Highland Park Bowl | Photo: Wonho Frank Lee

Highland Park Bowl

L.A.'s oldest functioning bowling alley, the spectacular Highland Park Bowl (5621 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park 90042) was lovingly restored by 1933 Group and it’s a beauty. Opened in 1927, Highland Park Bowl features the original pin mechanisms, like something out of Hugo. But there are far more than eight vintage lanes here. The kitchen turns out elevated fare like authentic Neapolitan pizzas made with flour imported from Italy. Two bars mix up themed drinks like the Pinsetter (Singani 63, Yellow Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino, Fresh Lime & Grapefruit Juices) and The Dude Abides, made with Tito’s Vodka, Housemade Civil Coffee Liqueur, Horchata Cream, Cinnamon Tincture - the White Russian style slushie is worth the calories. The busy calendar includes "Spareoke" every Sunday, Weekly Musician's Open Mic, and on every third Sunday, it's Night Scene - "'a gritty punk-you Burlesk dive." 

 

George Esquivel Bowling Shoes at The Spare Room

George Esquivel Bowling Shoes | Photo: The Spare Room, Facebook

Punch Bowl at The Spare Room

Photo: The Spare Room, Facebook

The Spare Room - Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Yes, you can bowl at The Spare Room, the vintage gaming parlor located on the Mezzanine level of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles 90028). The intimate bowling experience is unlike anywhere else: just two circa 1940s maple and pine wood lanes, which were discovered in Texas. An attendant keeps score on the chalkboards. And forget renting clunky clown shoes - local designer George Esquivel crafted the bespoke beauties offered here.

But there’s much more to do at this beautifully appointed lounge besides bowling. Challenge your friends to a game of Connect 4, fashioned from walnut. Or perhaps Jenga or Monopoly is more your thing. There’s an impressive drink menu featuring a long list of craft cocktails and party punch bowls that serve 2-20 guests. Want to take home a souvenir? A pair of those Esquivel shoes will set you back $700. Or you could find the secret photo booth and snap a strip of photos for a mere $5.

Bowlero Los Angeles Bowling Lanes

Photo: Dana Hursey, Bowlero Los Angeles, Facebook

Bowlero Los Angeles

Gather some friends. You’ll need a group to attack the aptly named Behemoth Burger, a five-pound head turner offered at Bowlero Los Angeles (8731 Lincoln Blvd, Westchester 90045). To wash down this beast, naturally you’ll want the 123 oz Dunk Tank - a fruity, shareable cocktail served in a fishbowl. Laneside service is offered in all 32 lanes. Order from the touchscreen and then your food magically appears. Bowlero is kid friendly too, though not on Friday and Saturday nights - that’s when a DJ spins for an adults-only crowd. Be sure to check out the giant, four-person air hockey game in the impressive arcade.

Pinz Bowling Center mural

Photo: Pinz Bowling Center, Facebook

Pinz Bowling Center

Opened in 1957, Pinz Bowling Center (12655 Ventura Blvd., Studio City 91604) has stuck around this long for good reason: it’s one of the nicest neighborhood alleys in the city. It’s not fancy or flashy, though it has been updated over the years, including a recent upgrade of all 32 lanes. Jerry’s Deli is adjacent - guests have access to the full Jerry’s menu, which they are welcome to enjoy while bowling. There is also a solid arcade with classics like Galaga and PAC-MAN, as well as the latest and greatest. Monday through Friday from 9-5, Pinz offers their Triple Play special: $3 per game and $3 for shoe rentals. And if you’re into celebrity spotting, keep your eyes peeled. Maybe it’s the proximity of various studios, but Pinz gets plenty of famous folks.

Bowling at Montrose Bowl

Montrose Bowl | Photo: @srawr, Instagram

Montrose Bowl

No longer a public bowling alley, Montrose Bowl (2334 Honolulu Ave, Montrose 91020) opened in 1936 and offers eight vintage bowling lanes and 1950s style decor for private parties, corporate events, and is available as a retro location for movies, TV, and photography sessions. The throwback design dates back to the 1990s, when Pleasantville shot there and revamped the Montrose interior. Current owner Bob Berger does occasionally offer public bowling "under certain circumstances," so be sure to call ahead to check for open bowling hours.


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