Looking to our recreational pursuits to be more than recreational pursuits puts a lot of pressure on said recreational pursuits, but bowling, above all pleasant pastimes, delivers on several fronts.
To prove our point, let's look to the brand-new Bowlero Mar Vista, which makes its grand debut on Friday, April 10. Bowlero is indeed inside that beloved rock-covered building that once housed AMF Mar Vista Lanes and, yes, the place got gussied up with a retro renovation.
So how is bowling more than a straight-up recreational pursuit?
1. You feel like you're having a full-on night out, thanks to Bowlero's deep banquettes, lanes lit in glow-blue, and all of the mid-century-esque touches one longs for in a bowling alley but doesn't always get.
2. The food goes beyond the mini chip bag, venturing into updated takes on comfort eats and apps aplenty. Are there fancy-pants cocktails? There are. Will you wish to use the bumpers along your lane after sipping one? That's up to you. Think portions as sizable as the Lone Star State (which also serves as a fine segue to reveal that Bowlero has three outposts in Texas, with its first outside-of-Texas location being Mar Vista). Oh, there's a five-pound burger situation going on, too. We'd be remiss not to mention it.
3. You can feel like you're in a movie, specifically the "The Big Lebowski," a cult favorite that must always be referenced when one is inside any bowling alley anywhere. A side note, though: Some fans of the film have believed that the AMF Mar Vista Lanes served as a setting in the Coen Brothers' 1997 crime-comedy, but it was actually Hollywood Star Lanes in Santa Monica, which is now gone. #themoreyouknow #butyouknewthatalready
4. You can pretend you're at a pool: The lanes not only look like the swim lanes, but there are pool-type loungers on the wall to up the effect.
5. You can thrill to being inside a building that's weathered some years. The AMF Mar Vista opened in 1960, and many a local wished to see the structure live on as a vibrant, people-drawing place while some fretted over its future (the bowling alley, which shuttered in 2014 for the full-scale overhaul, sent out a note to its fans on the topic). Armet & Davis, the firm behind many iconic SoCal places, had given the bowling alley its look, but a lack of renovations over the years meant a rethink, a redo and, ultimately, a renovation.
So Bowlero, you've got history on your side, and local lore, too. It's a bowling alley where so many Angelenos spent so many summers over so many decades. Just keep the vibes flowing and the strikes coming.