Four bowling spots in Orange County
Bowling around Orange County
Bowling has enjoyed a renaissance in the past few years as the stereotypical beer-and-cigarettes bowling alleys have given way – sometimes grudgingly – to trendy "bowling centers" aimed at families and young adults looking for a group night out.
In reality, there's still an alley for every taste. Two years ago, a survey found the U.S. had 5,100 commercial bowling centers, and more than 60 million Americans saying they bowl at least once a year, with 10 million people bowling more than 12 times a year. Here's a variety where the atmosphere ranges from 1950s throwback to 21st century party spot.
This is the largest bowling alley in Orange County – and was once one of the largest west of the Mississippi. Its 60 lanes means it offers peaceful coexistence between the devoted and casual bowler, with enough lanes to accommodate league events six nights a week without being too full for the walk-in bowler to get a lane. The lanes are kept to professional standards. It has hosted the U.S. Open of Bowling and the Women's U.S. Open, and has hosted Professional Bowling Association events. There's still room for fun, with Cosmic Bowling nights on Friday and Saturday nights. Try the snack bar with an award-winning hamburger. 17100 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, 714-963-7888.
Befitting its hometown, Irvine Lanes attracts families and upscale bowlers as well as regulars, with special events like unlimited bowling with fog and lasers on weekends. It's been known to invite gourmet food trucks to stop by the parking lot. The music comes through a state-of-the-art Bose sound system.
Call for information on special events. 3415 Michelson Drive, Irvine, 949-786-9625.
The last outpost of the Mann family's once sprawling bowling empire that included at various times Fountain Bowl, the gigantic Regal Lanes in Orange and the late, lamented tiki-style Kona Lanes in Costa Mesa. There are 42 lanes for bowling and weekend "rock-n-bowl" party events. Thursdays' college night promises bar specials and "loud music."
We like it best on a quiet weekday afternoon playing hooky from work and bowling like our dads and moms did. A great neighborhood place. 1091 Old Irvine Blvd., Tustin, 714-731-5022.
One of the national leaders is the upscale bowling experiences has an outpost in The Outlets of Orange (if you haven't been following retail makeovers, you might know the spot by its old name, The Block). There are 18 regular lanes, plus an additional six private bowling lanes that can be reserved for parties. Billiards, a full bar and big-screen television showing sports events round out the experience.
Lucky Strike even doubles as a sort of art gallery, showing local works on its video screens and walls.
After 9 p.m., it's 21 and older and DJs play music on Friday and Saturday nights.
People either love or loathe Lucky Strike – it's a bowling alley targeting the nonhard-core bowling crowd. The company pioneered the "bowling lounge" concept in Hollywood back in 2003. The Orange outlet has been the backdrop for TV shows such as "The O.C." and "The Real Housewives of Orange County."
Each day of the week has special events, from Bottomless Bowl on Mondays to DJs on Friday and Saturday nights. 20 City Blvd. West, Ste. G-2, Orange, 714-937-526.
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