Bowling alleys abound in Los Angeles—some new and highfalutin' with cocktail bars and dress codes, others old and divey, crumbling with character. So when you're looking for a place to knock 'em down (and knock a few back—White Russians, anyone?), where should you head? From Koreatown to the Valley and Mar Vista to Downtown, we bowled lots of imperfect games to bring you this perfect list of the LA's best bowling alleys. Roll anywhere else and you're entering a world of pain.
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The 11 best bowling alleys in L.A.
All Star Lanes, which looks straight out of the '70s, is the quintessential divey bowling alley. It's got 22 lanes with automatic scoring (thanks, we're too drunk to do that on our own), plus pool tables, a video arcade, karaoke and a "cocktail lounge," which is putting it nicely. Hungry? Check out the menu at the alley's adjacent restaurant (complete with carpeted floor and plastic plates), broken up into four sections: Chinese, Mexican, American and Pizza. Here's the deal: It's all a little run-down and definitely a little silly. But that's what makes it fun—you won't find bottle service or fancy designer bowling shoes here, but everyone is having a good time (on the cheap) at a low-key spot where there's (almost) always a free lane and a friendly bartender. One downside? This place sometimes smells like the inside of a bowling shoe. Chalk it up to part of the authentic experience.
As the oldest operating bowling alley in LA County, this '50s style gem boasts just eight charming lanes, making it also LA's quaintest. Montrose Bowl opened in 1936, and has since served as the backdrop for an array of films and TV Shows, including Pleasantville and Teen Wolf. Now, the alley specializes in private events, for those who like their classic American party games with a little nostalgia. Though the facilities are certainly old school, their selection of 70+ beers from around the world certainly isn't. Contact the alley to book your next party of 95 or fewer.
Your ninth birthday was not held at this club-alley hybrid across the street from the Staples Center. Lucky Strike's neon-lit bowling lanes and billiards tables are the centerpiece of its loungey atmosphere, complete with flatscreen TVs, a full-service bar and rentable rooms for your partying pleasure. Sip a handcrafted spicy margarita in between turns at the lane, while tucking into a menu that beats the stuffing out of typical arcade fare (read: short rib tacos, flatbread pizzas, Belgian fries with curry ketchup, etc). Lucky Strike's stricty enforced dress code allows the general appearance of its guests to surpass your average bowler as well. We say better suited to your twenty-ninth birthday.
There are few L.A. venues more beautiful than Highland Park Bowl at the moment. Formerly a cherished music venue called Mr. T's Bowl, the 1933 Group (La Cuevita, Harlowe, Idle Hour) took over the space in 2015 after the previous owner passed away, and began an extensive renovation process that would ultimately transform the space into a gorgeous, steampunk-esque bowling alley and bar. The details here are meticulous, from chandeliers made out of repurposed pinsetters to old bowling banners that line the alley's eight lanes. Bowlers can wait out their turn on leather Chesterfield sofas and order from a menu boasting Neapolitan-style pizzas, craft cocktails and a rotating selection of local beers. Behind the lanes, two bars provide plenty of space to hang even if you're not here for bowling. The price to rent a lane fluctuates between $50 and $70 for an hour, depending on the date and time, but with each lane holding up to six people, it's a solid—and standard—fee.
We'll be honest—this alley's biggest selling point is the fact that it's Din Tai Fung adjacent. And since there's always a substantial wait at the famed dumpling house, a round at Bowling Square is the perfect way to kill time. Speaking of time, walking in here feels like you've really stepped back in it—and stepped way out of LA, to boot. The folks here care nothing for seeing and being seen, but they do take their bowling seriously. Also, their cocktails—you can get a bowl-sized margarita in the lounge (we recommend this to make the dumpling wait fly by), or a giant-sized beer, if you prefer. Take advantage of the deals here, such as Unlimited Pizza Bowl (all-you-can-eat pizza and unlimited bowling for $15 or $20, depending on when you go), Two Dollar Night ($2 games, shoes and PBRs) and College Night (student discounts on Thursdays). Also, gumball machines!
Standing strong since 1954, the bowling alley boasts (surprise) 39 lanes complete with a roundabout bar, coffee shop, arcade and billiards room. Pre-game at the bar with $4 cocktails served up by Eddie, a veteran employee and staple bartender for over 35 years, then graduate to a round of in-house bevvies—the super strong Shatto Sandbagger, a mind-bending blend of Bacardi 151, Remy Martin, Grand Marnier, sweet and sour mix and cranberry juice, promises a punch. In between celebratory strikes, refuel with salty snacks like heat lamp–ready (and heartburn-guaranteed) nachos or the Shatto Special, a combo of chicken wings, stir-fried cabbage and fried egg over rice. Forgot your socks? Don't fret—there's a sock vending machine (though you'll have to do a walk of shame past every last lane to get there) with offerings in all sizes and styles.
Tucked away on the second floor of Hollywood's Roosevelt hotel, the Spare Room is like stepping into another era where classic cocktails and punch bowls—served by waitresses in Gatsby-era dresses—pour freely and people make merry all night long. The big draw here is Monday game night, when an exclusive bowling league competes (get on the waitlist to high-five with Hollywood's pretty young things). Groups of up to six—clad in Spare Room's George Esquivel-designed bowling shoes and argyle socks—can reserve one of two lanes for $100 an hour. Or just chill in the lounge and cozy up to your neighbors with a friendly game of dominoes, Monopoly, Connect Four or Battleship.
Whether you're planning a 30-kid blowout for your son's 11th birthday or looking to join a league for the elderly, your bowling-related needs are guaranteed to be met at this extensively programmed alley. Formerl Canoga Park Bowl and no longer 24 hours, they're still open until 2am on weekends (and honestly, who's really in the position to hurl a heavy ball across a large room much later than that?). They've got a full service restaurant, billiards and arcade, plus tons of special events like weekly Dollar Night Bowling and Jukebox Mondays. Check the entertainment schedule for further details.
The holy grail of arcade games and bowling, X Lanes in Little Tokyo is a virtual paradise for game hang sessions. If you're looking for a high-energy club vibe without the aimless standing around, plus the added exhilaration of 24 Lanes of LED-lit Bowling, this is your sanctuary. With over 100 arcade games, a nine-table billiard room and karaoke ('80s power ballads, anyone?), there is no shortage of entertainment for your geek squad to feast on. And speaking of feasting, X Lanes also has a restaurant and full sports bar, because bowling while buzzed is highly amusing, and karaoke to Alanis Morissette after three vodkas is the stuff memories are made of. For large parties, you may want to make reservations ahead of time, as lanes do fill up quickly. Order a round of mozzarella sticks, bogart the Dance, Dance Revolution, and make a night of it, you crazy kids.
Around since 1958, this 28-lane alley is a Westsider's go-to for good old-fashioned play. Minus the expensive eats and blacklit club vibes you'll find at bowling alleys gone modern, AMF Mar Vista has the no-nonsense essentials—burgers and beers, pool tables and arcade games and, of course, bowling abound. Expect the sort of family-friendly amusement that never fails to fill you with American nostalgia (on top of the french fries and Budweiser). Sometimes it all just tastes so right.
Looking for more fun things to do in L.A.?
Looking for the best things to do in Los Angeles? We've got you covered with tons of options—101, to be exact. Whether you're a culture vulture, outdoorsy type or simply a lover of our fine city, there's more than enough here to keep you busy. Even lifelong Angelenos will find something new to add to their to-do list, between the city's underground secrets, off-the-beaten path museums and the ever-changing inventory of the best restaurants. How many of the best things to do in Los Angeles will you try?