In what has been a big week for big openings, SFist had the chance to drop by a preview of Mission Bowling Club on 17th Street in advance of their grand opening this Monday. We've bowled a couple games in the former warehouse space before, so last night's preview was all about the atmosphere, the drinks, and various on-a-stick menu items.
While the bowlers downstairs were hurling balls down the hardwood and putting the refurbished bowling machines through their paces, we snagged a two-top on the mezzanine overlooking the action. (Those bowling machines, by the way, came from an old alley near Fort Bragg and have definitely chopped off a finger or two in their day.)
Serving as guinea pigs for Chef Anthony Myint's new menu of bowling alley comfort fare, we went started off with an Everything Pretzel (like an Everything bagel, but knotted up and served with spicy-sweet mustard made with rendered pork fat) and the 7-Bean Salad. Normally ordering a salad in a bowling alley would be like ordering the calamari in a strip club, but this fried chickpea number made the dish feel a little more snacky and a little less like you're the one eating a salad of a menu with corn dogs and burgers.
Speaking of corn dogs and burgers — those two items rounded out our entrees along with the home fries on a stick (Why are they on a stick, you ask? Doesn't matter, don't question foods on a stick). The burger is admittedly pricey at 15 bucks, but it's clear Myint is going to be giving Nopa and Zuni a run for their money in the classy burger department. As a noted corn dog aficionado, this SFist Editor can safely say the sausage corn dog is some kind of evil genius material. It will probably ruin cornbread-wrapped mystery meat for you forever.
On the cocktail list, we put back: one hell of a Blood & Sand as well as a nicely balanced citrusy/spicy whiskey number dubbed The MBC. We ended the night with the TBD — a firey tequila thing that is, as of this writing, unnamed (hence: "TBD"). The drink will eventually carry the name of whoever bowls the first 300 game at the club. Bringing things back to the Blue Collar roots, there's always Pabst Blue Ribbon on hand.
It might seem odd to hang around over a couple of courses and cocktails at a bowling alley, but the restaurant and bar section of Mission Bowling Club could easily stand alone in the neighborhood with or without the lanes. Most of the menu items are ideal for sharing amongst your hungry bowling team, and with only six games of bowling going on at once, there's a strong chance bowlers will end up waiting a bit anyhow. (We're also told only three lanes will be reserved at a time. If you walk in at Happy Hour, which starts at 3 p.m., the other lanes will always be available.) As one of last night's rollers put it: "It's kind of like bowling in some rich person's house." Whether folks come for the food or come for the bowling, we'll be sticking around for the pin-cracking atmosphere.
Mission Bowling Club opens Monday, March 19th at 3176 17th Street near Shotwell.