Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that comprise America can unite in common cause and topple a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10.98 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4.79 value).
It may seem odd to find a bowling alley on the busy corridor of Lincoln Blvd that leads to hulking Los Angeles International Airport, but the AMF El Dorado Lanes is normally chock full of locals and recreational league bowlers looking to get their fix. Inside, the space is a 60s retro-lover’s dream, complete with loud tonal accents, a couple of pool tables and some dusty arcade games. Anyone not in the bowling mood can belly up to the sports bar in the back, or take in some casual American food from the attached eatery, which comes complete with a private room for any birthday party needs. For everyone else, it’s all about the lanes – 32 of them in fact, with El Dorado Lanes being billed as an official PBA Practice Center. Various leagues call the alley their home, and a pro shop sells balls and assorted gear.
Don't be surprised if you bowl the best game of your life at Corbin Bowl. Each of the alley's 26 lanes is made with synthetic wood, a surface that's softer than real wood. That means the balls travel with less friction and more speed, a combination that often translates into higher scores and the thrill of a lifetime for anyone who tosses their ball, but forgets to let go.
High-scoring lanes aren't the only modern amenity at Corbin Bowl, though. The center also boasts automatic scoring systems, a fully-loaded arcade, and an on-site sports bar filled with televisions and pool tables. And, the alley is host to a wide range of special events including weekly live musical acts and karaoke.
Bowlers lounge at the end of 22 glossy lanes that stretch across the floor at All Star Lanes. Each lane tracks their games with the automatic scorers, meaning players can leave their abaci at home. Post-frame, bowlers can head to the lounge for drinks and snacks while watching games displayed on nine televisions. Those seeking sit-down sustenance relax in the on-site restaurant, which serves hearty American, Chinese, and Mexican dishes. All Star Lanes was also recently featured in Pharrell Williams' music video for "Happy", a 24-hour music video in which he dances through the bowling alley at 11 p.m.
The thunderous roar of 240 pins toppling over could erupt at any moment inside Mission Hills Bowl. That's because the alley is home to 24 lanes, each equipped with automatic scoring machines and optional bumpers. Open bowling sessions unfold daily, as do league games for adults, senior citizens, youths, and domesticated yetis. After the final frame, the staff keeps visitors rapt with billiards and darts in the bar, as well as a video arcade filled with classics such as air hockey. A snack bar supplies treats to celebrate strikes, while The Pro Zone helps improve forthcoming games with the sale of balls, bags, and shoes from brands including Brunswick.
Lawn-bowling statistics don't dominate newspaper box scores, but the sport is hardly an unknown phenomenon. The game’s English roots stretch as far back as the 13th century, and today, lawn bowlers can be spotted in locales as distant as South Africa and New Zealand. Primarily a game of finesse, lawn bowling rewards teams of three for their accuracy as they read the manicured terrain and gently heft a three-pound ball toward a small, distant target.
Ever since Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club was founded in 1927, it has embraced the social aspect of the sport, currently welcoming 120 members from the surrounding community. As the only lawn bowling club in the city of Los Angeles according to Westwood-Century City Patch, the HPLBC organizes matches across two separate playing fields, accommodating as many as 96 players at a time. The club loans equipment to new members so they can get a feel for the game before buying their own supplies, and instructors arrive in the late morning to dole out pointers and help newcomers learn the fundamentals. Plenty of benches and shaded areas allow players to relax in between throws or enjoy a quick refreshment before the next match. Click here for an ATVN feature about the Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club.