2012: Year of the bowling ball


Justin Timberlake brought sexy back. Now it’s time to bring bowling back.

Two separate groups are aiming to open fancy new bowling alleys in San Francisco soon, nearly doubling the number of lanes available within the city limits.

Mission Bowling Club is transforming an old warehouse at 17th and South Van Ness into six snazzy “boutique” lanes, plus a restaurant and full bar. Local restaurateurs Sommer Peterson, Molly Bradshaw (minibar) and Anthony Myint (Mission Chinese Food, Commonwealth) are hustling to get the ambitious project online by February.

Mission Mission got a tour of the 8,000 square foot MBC last week, and came away impressed with both the space and the owners’ community-focused approach. MBC plans on opening for all ages on weekends, and for ages 21+ on weekday nights. Weekday bowling time will also be donated to local youth groups.

The owners are also crowdsourcing money for a landscaped bike parking and patio area in front of the club. Currently a dreary concrete pad, the goal is for parking 10-20 bikes along with a vertical garden, perimeter gate and patio enclosure.

The second new set of lanes is Lucky Strike at 3rd and King, kitty-corner from AT&T Park. Now slated for a March debut, Lucky Strike plans 22,000 square feet including 12 upscale lanes along with a bar, restaurant and private party space.

A chain with locations in 14 states and Canada, Lucky Strike has taken the alley out of bowling, enforcing a no hoodies, athletic wear or baggy clothes dress code at its 21 locations. Presumably they’ll make exceptions during baseball season, or otherwise turn away a ton of hoodie- and jersey-wearing Giants fans.

Other options for San Francisco bowlers include 12 lanes at both Presidio Bowling Center and Yerba Buena. And given the relatively small size of all of The City’s bowling facilities, your Bart ride to Colma and Serra Bowl may be shorter than your wait for a lane. Serra’s 44 lanes are more than all the lanes at The City’s old and new bowling alleys combined.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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