I haven’t set foot in the bowling alley on Pico since July 4, 2012. That was the day that I did a bad thing. I parked in their empty parking lot because I was riding in the Fourthof July Parade. I figured the bowling alley wasn’t open, I would be back in two hours, and since I ate at the coffee shop about three times a week, I felt entitled.

The then manager an individual named Afshin disagreed with my sense of entitlement and had my car towed. I felt that was a bit unneighborly — especially on a holiday like the 4th. We exchanged words and I swore to myself to not set foot in the bowling alley till he was gone, and I told the president of AMF as much when I sent him a letter.

Fast-forward two years, Bay Shore Lanes is now Bowlmor, my beloved coffee shop is now the shoe rental and blessedly, Afshin is no more.

Saturday night I was driving by and saw that there were spotlights in the parking lot, so I decided to stop in and check out the joint. It was a whole new experience. To begin with the doorman (Yes, there was a doorman at the bowling alley! Because of a private party) was extremely polite and pleasant. I asked if the management had changed, and Amir confirmed that there was a new manager, and he’d gladly go find him for me.

About two minutes later this young stylishly dressed charmer comes up to me and agrees to give me a private tour of the remodeled bowling alley. Matthew Bowen is the new leader of the lanes and he is a harbinger of great things to come for the once wayward alley of pins.

The interior has been redone in what can best be described as hipster rococo. Deep reds and blacks set the stage for an evening of fun and games. Gone is the horrid and garish black paint, in its place is a back wall of movie screens that play a selection of classics like The Big Lebowski, I think I saw The Hustler playing as well.

What used to be a dark and dank bar reminiscent of Barfly – the Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway ode to alcoholics, has been replaced with a lively and open lounge area that looks out on the lanes.

Where the younguns used to play video games has been replaced with an “outdoor” indoor semi-private area that can be sealed off along with two private lanes, presumably for birthday parties, corporate team building events and marriage proposals.

Food is often a dicey choice at bowling alleys but this incarnation of the alley has taken feeding the masses to a spectacular new level. Burgers are always a popular choice but usually suffer from life in the freezer — Matthew tells me that they are not doing frozen burgers. He proudly touted the Behemoth Burger, which is a 5-pound, 14-inches-around burger that is freshly made. I asked if this was one of those “contest” type orders, where if you can eat it all in one sitting it’s free — he said no, not yet at least. It really is a buy and share type meal.

The rest of the menu also looks like a great way to host a party. There’s the usual suspects on the appetizer menu, wings and nachos but what caught my attention was the crab and artichoke dip.

The desserts looked lovely, there’s a warm cookie and ice cream, and apple fritters with caramel. The new d√©cor, the charm of the management and the reworked environment all make me want to throw a party (My dog does have a birthday coming up … it wouldn’t be the first time I used his birthday as an excuse for a party.) On my way out of the alley, Matthew stopped and said “you have to try this!” One of the wait staff was walking by with some Cronettes. They’re mini croissant donuts filled with either chocolate or raspberry sauce and glazed. He handed me one that was warm and gooey and oh my gawd was it good.

I’m sad that the new version of the bowling alley meant the loss of a good breakfast coffee shop, but it appears that we have gained a new night space with great food, a lovely environment and a pleasant staff.

I’m glad I stopped by the Bowlmor lanes and got to meet Amir, Matthew and have picked up a new dessert addiction — the Cronettes. I’m sure I’ll be stopping in more.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in fathers’ and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra

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