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L.A.’s Oldest Bowling Alley Is In Highland Park And It’s A Prohibition-Era Palace

Secret Los Angeles Secret Los Angeles

Highland Park Bowl

This 1920s gem offers a night of bowling, boozing and burlesque.

Bask in the gleaming surroundings of the masterful restoration project that is Highland Park Bowl. It was established in 1927, when patrons would head to the doctor’s offices on the second floor to collect medicinal whiskey prescriptions, then head downstairs to get them filled. The lower-level recreational space slowly became a place to booze and bowl. Later, a music store within the premises acquired a live music license and a magnificent party palace was born.

During the late sixties, the ornate features were covered in paint, the bowling lanes machines came to grinding holt a vibrant live music scene took over.  After decades, a renovation revealed the venue’s glorious past, bringing its debaucherous heyday back to life.

Now guests will step into the beautiful space with venue eight lanes of old-school bowling, plush leather sofas for competitors to relax on in-between strikes, spares and straight-to-the-gutter misfires. The pin-setting machinery remains exposed, offering geeky revelations for anyone who’s ever wondered exactly how it works.

For post-game refreshment, you can pull up a seat at the u-shaped bar with shelves of fine liquors that looks like a retro pharmacy display cabinet. the venue offers a casual Italian-ish menu with plenty of pizzas, meatballs, calamari fritti and chicken Milanese, amongst other dishes, with 11 punchy cocktails (try the Belle of the Bowl) are available, along with draught beers and a rotating selection of slushies.

But, there’s more to this recreational hotspot than boozing and bowling — there’s groovin’ too. Bands, DJs and other entertainments raise the vaulted roof most nights. There’s karaoke every Sunday, an open-mic night on Tuesdays, and a regular burlesque night scene, mixed in with one-off gigs from local bands and touring outfits.

Location: 5621 North Figueroa Street, 90042. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: seven days a week; 5pm–2am, Mon–Fri; 11am–2am, Sat-Sun.
Price: lane hire ranges from $25 to $70/hour depending on day and time (Saturday before 4pm is by far the cheapest); beer from $7, cocktails from $10, pizzas from $13.

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