Highland Park Bowl
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

The 8 best bowling alleys in Los Angeles

We've picked out some of the city's best bowling alleys but that's, you know, just like, in our opinion, man

Michael Juliano
Written by: Kate Wertheimer
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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 to Downtown, we bowled lots of imperfect games to bring you this perfect list of the L.A.’s best bowling alleys. Roll anywhere else and you’re entering a world of pain.

The 8 best bowling alleys in L.A.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Highland Park
  • price 2 of 4

There are few L.A. venues more beautiful than Highland Park Bowl at the moment—bowling alley or otherwise. Formerly a cherished music venue called Mr. T’s Bowl, the 1933 Group 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. 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. Stick to Saturday and Sunday afternoons for the most reasonable rates—otherwise they climb up quickly.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Koreatown

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 cheap cocktails, then graduate to a round of super strong in-house bevvies. 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.

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  • Things to do
  • Little Tokyo
  • price 2 of 4

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 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.

  • Cocktail bars
  • Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4

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 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 a hefty fee. Or just chill in the lounge and cozy up to your neighbors with a friendly game of dominoes, Monopoly, Connect Four or Battleship.

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  • Things to do
  • South Park

A far cry from your bowling birthday parties as a kid, this club-alley hybrid’s neon-lit bowling lanes and billiards tables are the centerpiece of its loungey atmosphere, complete with 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. Just make sure to heed the dress code, which requires “neat, casual, fitted attire.”

  • Things to do
  • Winnetka
  • price 1 of 4
Winnetka Bowl
Winnetka Bowl

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. Formerly Canoga Park Bowl and no longer 24 hours, they’re still open until 1am 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 (on Mondays after 9pm, you can get in the door for $8 and then only pay $1 per game).

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  • Things to do
  • Studio City
  • price 1 of 4

The celebrity sightings at this Studio City spot are legendary, but serious bowlers will likely be more interested in the 32 lanes illuminated with runner lights (as well as the fact that there are bumpers to prevent novices from getting perpetual gutter balls—it’s a family friendly joint). There’s also an impressive arcade, which boasts over 40 video games as well as a pool table and air hockey.

  • Things to do
  • Glendale

This ’50s-style gem boasts just eight charming lanes, though you can’t just walk in and bowl on a typical day: Montrose Bowl focuses solely on parties and events, for those who like their birthday with a bit of nostalgia. But look out for the occasional open bowl, where up to five people per lane can play. The alley opened in 1936, and has since served as the backdrop for an array of films and TV Shows, including Pleasantville and Teen Wolf.

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