BOWLING, BOOZE AND BOUNTIFUL BITES
When we were in the full swing of National Burger Month I was told about Bowlero, a Texas-sized homage to bowling, booze, burger s and doing things, well, big. The location in Mar Vista is the company’s first foray outside the lone star state and let’s just say they’re making quite an impact.
Bowlero is more than just a bowling alley with a bar and bites, oh no, they’ve got the bowling hipster setting down; they make solid drinks (we’re not talking mixology here but they get the job done); and their bites, well, let’s just say they’re ferocious and almost bite back.
Like I said, it was National Burger Month and I was told about Bowlero’s gigantic Behemoth Burger—a challenge-worthy monster hamburger that is 14-inches in diameter and made with a 5-pound meat patty, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, American cheese and thousand island dressing—with the total weight equaling around 10 pounds! My first reaction was “oh hell no!” Then I thought that’s just plain irresponsible. Somebody somewhere is going to try and eat that beast on their own and die of a heart attack. Talk about first world problems-oh, I have to eat this 10-lb burger all by myself. But we were in a group of four and chowed down and had a great time and still couldn’t even finish the burger—pretty sad honestly.
The west side bowl-o-rama features a fun, neon-themed beach setting—if that makes any sense. Let’s just say there’s beach décor and lots of neon. Hell, even their pinball machine is an AC/DC game. How cool is that?
I always say ‘start with cocktails’ (yeah, I always say that) and we started with a slew of drinks including the Barnyard Punch with Railean White Rum, BOLS Amaretto, pomegranate syrup, and orange and pineapple juices. We were drinking at a bowling alley so I wasn’t expecting fine handcrafted drinks but what we got were fun, boozy libations that really worked in their setting. The Whiskey Business with Rebecca Creek Whiskey, Grand Marnier and Angostura bitters is a good choice. Other drinks include the Southern Charm, a sweet tea vodka and lemonade combo, as well as the Hot Blooded Mary with Absolute Texas (cucumber and Serrano chili) with tomato, vegetable and jalapeño juices. There’s also the Dunk Tank punch that serves a minimum of four people; margaritas that require too hands to hold; and spiked milkshakes (yum!).
There’s a full bar at your disposal if you’re hanging out for a drink or two, or there’s crazy fare if you’re looking for a meal. I think it’s best to eat and drink while you’re bowling—then it’s a real party. We started our afternoon with drinks and then the Pterodactyl Wings served with buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing. Good wings but there are better choices, like The Vegan’s Nightmare, a burger combo of chorizo and beef with bacon and a fried egg. Now that’s a burger!
And because bigger is better (is that really a Texas thing?) there’s the Wonder Dog, a two-foot long hot dog covered in Coney sauce and diced onions—too much for one person but good for a group. Again, this was a good hot dog, not extraordinary, but the presentation rocks and helps create a festive foodie mood.
But again, this visit was all about the Behemoth Burger…and bowling and booze. The 5-lb monster burger is intimidating when it comes out as it looks like the size of a steering wheel. You can’t help but think does any burger really need to be this size? The answer is of course not but since it’s there and we were hungry, well, why not? I got off my “this is irresponsible” high horse when I realized it would be a group of us that would be sharing this bad boy. This is meant to be a fun dish (a fun, oversized dish). It’s not the quality burger that is The Vegan’s Nightmare, but then again, it isn’t meant to be. It really works when you cut into slices like a pie and drink and bowl.
They say everything goes better with bacon, well, I say everything seems better when you can do it while bowling. And apparently you can combine the two with the inventive (or ridiculous?) Mac & Cheese Bacon Bowl-ero, where, believe it or not, you can actually eat the tasty bacon bowl. We missed out on this one and I’m so ready to go back and try it.
And save room for dessert as the Glazed Cordo Minis, glazed croissant-donuts, are out of this world. We couldn’t stop eating them. They’re these amazing mini bites of pure goodness…finger food you just can’t get your fill of.
So, bowling, boozing and eating crazy food, does make for a good time. There’s no pretension so leave any attitude with your shoes as you get your spiffy bowling rental shoes and have a blast whether you’re bowling strikes or gutter balls.
Bowlero Mar Vista is located at 12125 Venice Blvd. Opens daily at 11am. Call (310) 391-5288.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy of:Bowlero Mar Vista