Mission Bowling Club’s finally getting that bowling alley smell

After many months of waiting for the right moment, Allan and I finally got to tour supposedly the first bowling alley to open in SF in decades, Mission Bowling Club. We all know how much Allan likes ping pong, well my indoor drinking-with-balls sport has always been bowling.

MBC - Lanes in Progress
Lane view from the mezzanine. [photo by me]

Back in high school we used to take the 22 to Japantown Bowl, with two floors of lanes and some of the worst food items in town. It was awesome. But it closed down around 11 years ago, and nothing has taken its place. Though I wait patiently.

MBC - Future Bar
Future bar view from the mezzanine. [photo by me]

Mission Bowling Club isn’t trying to be what Japantown was. With 6 lanes, a sit-down restaurant headed by neighborhood celebrity chef Anthony Myint and a full bar, they’re going after something different. Which is not to say that they want to restrict the crowd they attract. During our tour, co-owner Sommer Peterson was clear to stress that they wanted to be able to welcome neighborhood families as well as the 21-35 year old Mission nighttime scene, which they’ll have no trouble attracting.

MBC - View from the back
[photo by me]

MBC - Future Restaurant Seating
Future restaurant seating. [photo by me]

On the weekends they’ll be open for all ages, with weeknights reserved for the 21 and over crowd. Of the six lanes, three will be open for walk ins, the other three available for reserving by phone or website. You will pay by the hour, rather than game, to keep people from just hanging out in a lane all night. In addition to brand new lanes (brought in on two semi trucks in the middle of the night) they have all new bowling balls and shoes. The bar top will be made of a reclaimed lane from newly refurbished Morgan Hill Bowl. Sommer, who created the Divisadero Art Walk, will also be curating art for a large side wall, as well as rotating art installations for the huge wall above the lanes.

[photo by Allan]

Now, I know how excited I sound. Because I am. Because bowling is awesome. Yeah, it’s gonna be crowded, and cost more money then I wish it did, because I wish it was free, or as cheap as an old ass bowling alley. But there aren’t any around here, so we get a brand new one. So sure, there are plenty of things to gripe about (already well documented on this site) from the vocal minority, but I think we mostly want and deserve a bowling alley. One that isn’t a car. One where we can eat Mission Burgers in actual chairs. One that actually sounds welcoming. And I get the impression that these proprietors are sincere about really opening this up to the whole neighborhood. They know they’re going to make mistakes, so they’re open to reasonable feedback. As Sommer said, they’re opening three new businesses all at once, “I’m happy, proud and scared.” So I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and I’m excited to see what happens.