Pizza, Craft Cocktails and Prohibition-Era Bowling in Highland Park

Bowling lanes at Highland Park BowlEXPAND
Bowling lanes at Highland Park Bowl
Courtesy 1933 Group

What's old is now new: As of tomorrow, Highland Park Bowl will be open for business in the former Mr. T's Bowl space, a historic bowling alley that dates back to 1927 and more recently was known as a venue for local punk bands.

After a lengthy restoration process that spanned a year and a half, the 1933 Group — the cocktail bar collective whose properties include Bigfoot Lodge, Oldfield's Liquor Room, Thirsty Crow, Sassafras, La Cuevita and Idle Hour — is debuting its most ambitious and swanky project yet, a refurbished, eight-lane bowling alley complete with multiple bars, a dining area and a side room for live music. If you're a fan of historic preservation, vintage bowling equipment or a fine craft cocktail (try the riff on a white Russian called The Dude Abides), then the attention to historic detail at Highland Park Bowl will be a sight to behold.

The saga of what is now technically Los Angeles' oldest operating bowling alley began during Prohibition, when a "pharmacy" sold medicinal whiskey to bowlers. In the 1960s, the space became Mr. T's Bowl, transforming into a music venue that eventually fell into disrepair over the ensuing decades. By the 2000s, it was better known as a grungy concert spot for up-and-coming punk bands.

But with Highland Park's revitalization/gentrification well under way, 1933 Group owners Bobby Green, Dimitri Komarov and Dmitry Liberman stepped in for a massive overhaul. Ceilings were lifted to reveal the original bow truss architecture. Paint was stripped away to reveal a large forest mural on the back wall. Vintage pin machines were installed and repaired, and old banners and other memorabilia doubled as wall decorations. 

The Dude Abides cocktailEXPAND
The Dude Abides cocktail
Courtesy 1933 Group

Inside an open kitchen, you'll find a large, wood-fired oven turning out Neapolitan-style pizzas from chef Richie Lopez, topped with things like burrata, shaved prosciutto and roasted eggplant, as well as simple but hearty Italian-American dishes like meatballs, Caesar salads, chicken milanesa and sausage with white beans.

The craft cocktail program includes the aforementioned Big Lebowski–inspired cocktail, The Dude Abides, made with vodka, house-made coffee liqueur, horchata cream and cinnamon tincture; a tiki-tinged coconut and pineapple cocktail called the Fuzzyland; and a bubbly punch made with honeydew gin, lime and cucumber-thyme soda called the Belle of the Bowl. You'll also find old-fashioneds and Moscow Mules on draft, along with a wide selection of local craft beers.

If you're interested in bowling, the lanes will rent for $40 to $60 per hour for a group, depending on what time of night you decide to roll.

Highland Park Bowl, 5621 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park; (323) 257-2695, 1933group.com.


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