068 – All Star Lanes Bowling Center

this picture was not taken at all star lanes

this photograph was not taken at all star lanes

Are you looking for a way to blow off a time commitment that you have made to another human being? Are you looking for a fun and lightly competitive activity to take part in with a special someone? Are you looking for a good time with your bro-dogs? You can find the solution to all of these dilemmas (and more!) at your local bowling alley.

This isn’t just a public service announcement intended to spread the gospel of bowling (though someone should be doing that at all times). Specifically, this is a review of All Star Lanes in Eagle Rock. A good bowling alley can be as effective as the much-sought-after good dive bar – and it is way easier to find bowling in the city. If you are rich or a teenager you will probably find yourself at a Lucky Strike, but true bowlers know that the real action is at the independent lanes.

This was not my first visit to All Star Lanes, but it was the first time I was sober, which is a very important distinction. Last time I was so drunk it seemed like all the lights were off and neon was flashing all over the place. How fucked up was I? Reality reasserted itself this evening.

The bowling itself was good. I will admit here and now that I got no strikes; something was off with my game – I picked up a bunch of spares, though. My companions (including my sister, visiting from Colombia) all played about as well as I would expect from relative novices. The first major strike against All Star Lanes is the buggy technology. The computer made a lot of mistakes, taking away spares from some people and just gifting strikes to others. I guess we could have kept score ourselves, but this is the 21st century dammit.

The service was not great. We had to wait several minutes to both get shoes and to return them. And it’s not like we were waiting in line; the employees just seemed to be distracted. You can’t beat the prices though. Six dollars per person per game is the best you’re going to get in the greater Los Angeles area (as far as I can tell. If anyone knows better than I, please pass on that info). Beer is very reasonably priced as well. We paid $14 for a pitcher of PBR, and really that’s all we needed to have a good time.

Any bowling alley worth its weight in geldings is going to have an arcade, and All Star Lanes is no different. Unfortunately most of the games were at various states of disrepair. The air hockey (I won of course) took some finessing to get going. And the shoot-’em-up game was only available for single player. But arcades are so rare these days that you really can’t be too picky.

Is All Star Lanes a perfect experience? Absolutely not. Did you even read the preceding paragraphs? I can’t believe you would ask me that at this point in the review. I think it’s pretty clear that the place has its faults. It may not be the best bowling center at which to host your league, but it is a great place to have a good time with friends. Net positive.

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