I intended to write a series of posts on bowling alleys, set up a format to do so, produced one on San Bernardino’s Arrowhead Lanes in November 2011, and then never wrote another one. Oops. Well, here’s the second in the series, and I promise not to wait three years for the next one.
Possibly my favorite local bowling alley, Bowlium Lanes offers a burst of style on a dispirited stretch of Holt, even if the enormous pole sign fell victim to sign codes a few years back. Behind the flagstones, arches and dingbats on the exterior you’ll find more retro style inside: a cozy enclosed diner and vintage signs for restrooms and cocktails.
The interior is well-maintained too. The lanes are kept well-oiled (possibly too well-oiled) and they have plenty of balls to choose from. The scoring machines are tricky to program, with directional arrows in multiple colors for navigation, and I kind of hate them. The graphics on the overhead screens are entertaining. Besides the bowling, there’s a pro shop, a bar and a game room.
Bowlium is open 9 a.m. to midnight Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. That’s not 24-hour bowling, but 17-hour bowling is impressive.
Address: 4666 Holt Blvd.
Number of lanes: 32
Owner: Scott and Teresa Poddig
Year opened: 1958
Architect: Powers, Daly and DeRosa
Neighbors: vacant lot, quaint real estate office, elementary school
Games: Game room
Bar: Yes, with vintage “Cocktails” sign
Coffee shop: Yes, with counter and stools
Ambience: The Jetsons meet the Flintstones
Deal: Monday 9 p.m. to midnight: $1.25 per game, but there are more here.