Yerba Buena Bowling Center (credit: Randy Yagi)
There was once a time during the ’70s when more than 10 bowling centers were in operation and thriving in San Francisco or near the city limits. But as the popularity of bowling has declined nationwide, all of these local venues have disappeared, forcing bowlers to either quit the sport or travel outside of the city. Fortunately, a few bowling alleys built in the late ’80s are still around, and a couple more have been added to delight both avid players and newcomers to the sport. Although bowling can be enjoyed most anytime of the day, here are the five best spots in and around San Francisco for late night games.
750 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
Open year round, the Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center features a NHL-sized skating rink and 12 bowling lanes. Located on the sprawling grounds of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and above Moscone Center, the family-friendly bowling center offers Ultra Bowl, with a dance-like atmosphere Thursdays through Saturdays from 5 p.m. until midnight. The center also offers a food and beverage service and is available for group events such as field trips, parties and team building sessions.
200 King St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
In a largely techno-centric city like San Francisco, there has to be a state-of-the-art bowling city like Lucky Strike. Just a short distance from AT&T Park, this lavish bowling facility offers 12 bowling lanes, exceptional bar bites, an outdoor patio, a full bar with an assortment of handcrafted cocktails, beers and wines and a private two lane suite. Lucky Strike is available for special events like birthday parties and corporate events. Unlike the grand bowling alleys from the previous millennium, Lucky Strike has a dress code policy and is open only to those 21 and over after 8 p.m.
Classic Bowling Center
900 King Drive
Daly City, CA 94015
Located in Daly City, Classic Bowling Center lies just beyond the southern border of San Francisco. But with 60 lanes, it’s definitely worth visiting, especially for late night bowling. Classic Bowling Center is a venue equipped with everything one could expect from the heyday of bowling, such as excellent rates, a service counter for shoe rentals, sports bar, full service cafe, a pro shop and arcade. Classic’s most popular night are Wednesday “Keith O Dollar Night,” named after their omnipresent host. Bowling, food and shoes will run you just $1 each. Plus they have raffles, prizes and a DJ spinning music. Yes, the DJ is Keith O. The largest bowling center in the Bay Area is available for special events. Advance reservations may be made online, and with 60 bowling lanes, booking a lane or more is almost guaranteed.
Mission Bowling Club
3176 17th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Open until midnight Thursday through Saturday unless otherwise specified on the calendar, the Mission Bowling Club primarily caters to the 21 and over crowd but also features family hours on weekends. First opened in 2012, the hip bowling venue has since received a host of distinctions, including named one of America’s coolest bowling alleys by Travel+Leisure, and its burgers were named among America’s best by the Travel Channel and Food & Wine. Known as the Mission District’s first bowling alley-restaurant, the club is also available for special events, such as birthdays and weddings.
Presidio Bowling Center
93 Moraga Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94129
Located in the heart of the Presidio of San Francisco, the Presidio Bowling Center is the only spot left in the city that’s reminiscent of a traditional bowling alley. Built well after the height of the nationwide popularity of bowling, the center is open to the public and features 12 lanes, a classic service counter and a bar and grill serving traditional fare like burgers, salads and salads, along with a very impressive selection of beer and wine. Walk-ins are welcome, but an online reservation guarantees a specific date and time. Reservations for special events like birthday parties can be made for up to eight lanes.