Few things in life can you be lousy at and yet still enjoy. Bowling is one of those things. My bowling scores are only a tad bit better than my golf scores, but while I might feel like snapping a five-iron over my knee now and then, I never get terribly upset if I occasionally roll a ball into a gutter. Maybe the booze anesthetizes it — or, more likely, is the cause of it — but it’s all in good fun.
Of course, it’s critical to find the right bowling experience. I go to Bowlero, where over each lane they play movies you know by heart; where the arcade is a flashback to childhood; where a DJ creates a house party atmosphere and where the food and drink are restaurant-worthy. It’s not at all the bowling alley experience I remember from childhood, thick with cigarette smoke and the smell of feet, sad songs and sad people.
Bowlero has reinvented bowling, and it begins with a friendly staff that is having almost as much fun as you are. Erica Matsubara at the Westchester location, for example, is like an ice-cold shot of Jameson on a hot summer day. The service is first-class and you’re going to feel like a VIP.
Think of this experience as a private booth at a hot nightclub that allows you to get up every now and then and roll a ball at some pins. Then, sit back and enjoy a signature cocktail as you mingle with your pals and soak up the ambience. You can even check out the scoreboard, which features some selfies of you and your friends in action.
Bowling will work up your appetite, and that’s one more reason to choose Bowlero. The menu features everything you would expect from an American gastropub. My last feast included bacon-wrapped scallops, coconut shrimp and, if my taste buds recall correctly, some filet Mignon and bleu cheese bites. And, as if that wasn’t enough, the two-foot Wonder Dog with coney sauce, onions, chili and cheese.
With locations in Mar Vista and now Westchester, Bowlero has the Westside covered. So, let’s roll.
Bowlero Mar Vista, 12125 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Bowlero Los Angeles, 8731 Lincoln Blvd
Westchester, CA 90045
Bowlero Woodland Hills, 23130 Ventura Blvd
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
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.