Headed to San Bernardino’s National Orange Show recently, I was delighted to pass by a bowling alley. I made a stop on my way back.
And speaking of way back, Arrowhead Lanes is a pleasant throwback. The scoring machine looks like something from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, and it must baffle newcomers, because the woman at the counter routinely asks if bowlers would like her to enter their names for them. Meanwhile, the ball return sends balls into a teardrop-shaped bin where they swirl around like thoughts in Herman Cain’s head.
The monitors above the lanes give you your score and nothing else — no fancy graphics, no ads. Helpfully, if you bowl multiple games, it shows you the same frame from each game, so you can instantly compare, say, your fourth frame from this game to your previous two.
The lanes are in good condition and the balls are neatly organized, with all the balls of the same weight grouped together, all the same color. I really liked my experience there. I don’t know how often I’ll drive to San Bernardino to bowl (perhaps never again), but this place makes it tempting. A few particulars:
Address: 299 W. Orange Show Road
Number of lanes: 32
Year opened: 1959
Architect: Paul R. Williams
Neighbors: Maytag Superstore, Turner’s Outdoorsman
Games: Billiards, video
Bar: Yes (with vintage “Cocktails” sign)
Ambience: Scarcely updated 1960s equipment and furniture; serious bowlers; working class vibe
Deal: $10 an hour beats $3.95 per game