Amidst L.A.'s constant re-urbanization, there has been a subtle neglect, perhaps intentional, of one of entertainment's finest mainstays -- the bowling alley. 

With strip malls popping up in freshly plowed lots, renovations galore on all variety of rickety buildings, and a constant urge to modernize out-dated facilities, we can still rely on our local bowls to preserve the vibe and character fit for a grandfather.

Beloved by both casual warriors and competitive lane jockeys, bowling is a game with attitude. After all, what other sport would look baseball in the face and tell it a 'strike' is a good thing?

With adjoining bars, abundant pool tables, retro arcades, inflatable bumpers, black light lasers, and all things Lebowski (RIP Hollywood Star Lanes!), bowling alleys mean business in the Greater Los Angeles area. Here's the scoop on what's kitschy and fresh in the land of The Dude.

-- LA.COM 




All-Star Lanes

Yes Eagle Rock's got breakfast joints and taco trucks, but they've also got one of the best hidden-gems in recreation, the All Star Lanes. People come for the lanes and stay for the bar, or vice versa. A big free parking lot welcomes you to the Regal Beagle-ish vibe. Like the decor, the bowling prices also look like they haven't changed since the early 80s (less than a Hamilton per lane, per hour; shoes on the house) and drink prices haven't risen since Emilio Estevez was the Brat Pack king ($4 for import bottled beer, $2.50 for domestic). ASL also features live music, karaoke and DJ's depending on the night. Warning: Don't let the bathrooms catch you off guard. Unlike the gritty oldness of the rest of the venue, the bathrooms feel more like an MGM Signature hotel in Vegas. Perhaps it's the start of an on-going remodel (nooooooooo!), or possibly just another fantastic quirk. Either way, be sure to get a slice of vintage pie while you can.

All Star Lanes
4459 Eagle Rock Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041
(323) 254-2579
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Montrose Bowl

Where is Montrose? Is the community named for the seminal rock band of the 70s? So many questions. Montrose, in fact, is a cozy little town situated between La Canada and Pasadena, and if you're looking to get lost somewhere, try Honolulu...  Honolulu Street, that is, where this throwback alley is located.  With a 50s exterior, vintage signage, and house rules that smack of retro restriction ("no gum, no confetti, popcorn, silly string, or pixi sticks") you'll be too busy keeping score on paper to be worried about the causing any old fashioned trouble. Perhaps a reflection of its city, the Montrose Bowl has a small and personable feel. The maximum capacity of the place is only 95 people, they feature no more than 6 lanes, and it's booked almost exclusively for private parties. So while you may not be able to walk up and grab a lane on a whim, it makes for a much more intimate gathering spot for you next special occasion.

Montrose Bowl
2334 Honolulu Avenue
Montrose, CA 91020
(818) 249-3895
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Shatto 39 Lanes

What's with the number, you ask? Is this the 39th Shatto Lanes in a series of bowling alleys that share the same name? No, its the number of sick, old school lanes this bowling monster has to offer. The huge architectural structure has above-ground ball returns, underground parking, retro decor (not on purpose), and a staff that was already old when you were a kid. Awesome. The no-frills bowling alley is located in the heart of Koreatown where you'll find hipsters, regulars, locals and visitors throwing rocks under hand made, art-class banners that read "Bowl for Fun and Health," while meandering through wall designs that look straight out of Romper Room. Prices are affordable, too. On Fridays and Saturday nights you can play a game (per person) for $5.50. It's a couple of dollars cheaper during the day, and a dollar less on weekday evenings. If you have the sort of friends that don't like to bowl all night, no need to worry -- bring 'em here and let em' loose in the adjoining hall of 19 billiard tables! Rad, old snack machines, and a host of arcade favorites will also keep them busy. All night night long. Well almost. Shatto 39 is open until 3 AM on Fridays and Saturdays, 2 AM Sunday through Thursday.

Shatto 39 Lanes
3255 W 4th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 385-9475
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Canoga Bowl

Located in Reseda, this place is as valley as its surroundings. However, of all the reasons to go to a bowling alley, perhaps the most important is that it stays open late. And Canoga Bowl is open 24 Hours! Game. Over. Lots of lanes, generous prices, Englebert Humperdink-era decor, and grumpy old men working behind the counter will all greet you day or night. It's a popular destination and tends to be crowded since you and your friends aren't the only fools who like to get active late at night. Best bet is to book lanes in advance, or prepare to hang out in free parking for a while.

Canoga Park Bowl
20122 Vanowen St.
Winnetka, CA 91371
(818) 340-5190
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Brunswick Matador Bowl

Near to Cal State Northridge, the Brunswick Matador Nordhoff Bowl is a popular haunt for locals and local college students alike. The uber-colorful decor is sure to strike a chord with any fan of Culture Club and/or the remaining members of the '84 Olympic gymnast Mitch Gaylord fanclub. And this is after their remodel. Ultimately the venue feels more like a "hang out" that happens to be a bowling alley rather than a destination crammed with sport enthusiasts, but seems to serve both purposes well, either as a place for kid parties or a clubhouse for the future leaders graduating from the California State University system. Proud we are of all of them.

Brunswick Matador Bowl
9118 Balboa Blvd
Northridge, CA 91325
(818) 892-8677
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El Dorado Lanes

We believe the Road to El Dorado ultimately leads to El Dorado Lanes. Like the ruggedness the name suggests, this bowling alley retains much of the archaic charm that probably read as "modern" many decades ago. The place looks so old that we're convinced that fossils are embedded in the flooring. Possibly the flooring is made of fossils. Some bowl-o-ramas offer great edible fare but this isn't quite one of them. Eat some place else, then come here pronto to work off your carbs.

El Dorado Lanes
8731 Lincoln Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310) 670-0688
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Mission Hills Bowl

This is the sort of place that makes you feel all good inside. Mission Hills Bowl provides nostalgia by default as it's simply seen modern times pass it by. Depicting exactly what Mission Hills is -- grainy, partly run-down, not at all flashy, but full of character -- it exists purely for bowling entertainment. It's a bowler's bowling alley; not the professional bowler, but for those who are bowlers at heart. It would seem that they have not realized that there are other bowling alleys boasting anything special -- cosmic bowling, blacklight bowling. If you ain't catchin' the hints by their geriatric ward exterior, they may even look at you weird here if you were to bring your own ball. Ball meets lane. Ball crushes pins. Simple arithmetic for a simple bowling alley.

Mission Hills Bowl
10430 Sepulveda Blvd
Mission Hills, CA 91345
(818) 361-1221
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Santa Clarita Lanes

In the vast northern reaches of L.A. county, nestled above the San Fernando Valley, you'll find a tumble weed or two, Magic Mountain, a secret society of soccer moms, some of the nation's finest up-and-coming artists attending Cal Arts, and also this Santa Clarita hot spot. We're going to be honest with you -- this place has an arcade room; not a measly corner with a couple of arcade machines, but a room. Hallelujah! The bar is spacious and conducive to sporting event viewing, and they also boast some of the best pizza in Santa Clarita (from Vincenzo's). You won't find dinged up lines or out-dated equipment here. They've polished this place up for a fresh, un-vintage feel of the aforementioned bowling alleys. They often have lane specials and happy hour pricing on drinks and food. Parking is plentiful, but just the lanes, like the lot will fill up fast. Luckily, the adjacent Foster's Freeze will help you out with a soft serve and a place to put your car.


Santa Clarita Lanes
21615 Soledad Canyon Rd.
Saugus, CA 91350
(661) 254-0540
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Oak Tree Lanes

Bordering just north of the O.C., Oak Tree Lanes is one of the few remaining locally owned, and independently operated bowling alleys in the region. Take all the great qualities of all the previously mentioned bowling alleys and you have Oak Tree Lanes. It's branded as the ultimate family fun center -- kids can take advantage of the gigantic arcade and air hockey, adults have billiards, bowling, and darts, and don't forget the grandfolks, they have KENO too! While the place looks like a decades-old Dave & Buster's rough draft, their bowling facilities are modern and they've joined the black-light, laser beam craze with some special sessions called THUNDER ALLEY at various times on Fridays and Saturdays. Add in an adjoining sports bar, and you have the best of both worlds -- modern and vintage. 1 hour FREE with each hour paid when you bring a coupon.

Oak Tree Lanes Bowling Center
990 N. Diamond Bar Blvd.
Diamond Bar, CA 91765
(909) 860-3558
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