“This is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.” — Walter Sobchack, The Big Lebowski
There used to be rules to bowling, anyway: cigarette smoke, fluorescent lighting, off-brand beers, country music jukeboxes, pederasts and women named “Flo.” Times have changed. Well, not really. But at Bowlero in Mar Vista, they really have.
Bowlero is the newest concept in bowling. And while it’s been a spell since I’ve donned the tri-colored shoes, a lot has changed. My party arrived to the sounds of modern hits being spun by a DJ, giant TV screens over every lane, black lights, vintage arcade games and pinball machines.
We began our evening in style with a bottle of Champagne on ice because, well, that’s how we roll. We would finish the night on a classy note, with a glass of the Macallan 12, neat. We dined on food fit for, well if not a king, certainly a giant. We shared — I want to stress here, that we did share — the Behemoth Burger. The five-pound patty is the size of a manhole cover. We also partook of the Wonder Dog — 24 inches of weiner covered in diced onions and Coney sauce. We also enjoyed donuts with both chocolate and raspberry sauce, as well as Oreo milkshakes.
So with all those calories, we needed some exercise. Fortunately, we found a collection of heavy orbs and a set of sort-of-people-shaped objects about 60 feet away. Time to bowl. And this might be the one aspect of the experience that hasn’t really changed. Oh, the ambience was a lot cooler, but the sport itself was the same fun that we remembered from our respective youths.
In the aftermath of my Bowlero cherry-breaking, I must confess that I’m eager to get back out to the lanes. And if you’re bowl-curious, yourself, remember to bring a few things: a roll of quarters for some old-school pinball, a hearty appetite, good friends (preferably some who appreciate your Walter Sobchack quotes) and your Uber/Lyft app — you’ll thank me for that tip.
“F*ck it, Dude. Let’s go bowling.”
12125 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Scott Bridges is an L.A.-based journalist who has worked as a police-beat reporter, a community newspaper editor, and a food and travel writer. He currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to The Huffington Post and Bizjournals.com, among other sites. He is a native Californian who lives on the Westside.
All photos courtesy of Scott Bridges.