Bowl Like Bond

Swanky bowling alley opens at massive LA Live.

Bowling doesn't exactly inspire all-nighter chills at first mention. Most people think polyester, stinky feet and cheap beer. But the new Lucky Strike in downtown's uber-entertainment venue LA Live ditches that rep like so many gutter balls. Yes, there are 18 sparkling lanes and 14 mega TVs. But it's the extras that make you forget to care how much you suck at bowling and pony up for another string -- and feel like a king.

First, there's the atmosphere. Plush furniture in rich colors, and warm yet modern accents throughout the expansive space make it feel more lounge than lanes. The full bar is more stacked than most nightclubs, and yes they have the good stuff. Relaxing with a top-shelf, olive-stacked martini is the only way James Bond would roll. He might even consider the "snacks" (yes, you'll want to try them), ranging from basic (pizza) to semi-gourmet (artichoke dip, seared Ahi tuna).

With this level of cool comes some requisite attitude: There is a dress code. Construction boots and excessively baggy clothing are on the list -- but white T-shirts? How strictly this gets enforced will likely depend on attendance levels; Downtown's always been a tough sell. The $2.5 billion LA Live is the the city's latest attempt to lure crowds. With ESPN studio coming in, plus more music venues and upscale eateries, Lucky Strike could be just the ticket to get hep cats to make a whole night of it.

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