Serra Bowl to close its lanes April 15th

51 years of bowling at Serra Bowl, heading for the gutter in April.

Serra Bowl general manager Mike Leong sounded distraught on the phone today. "It's like somebody's great-grandfather died," he said. After 51 years of operation, his Daly City bowling alley is losing its lease and will have to close its doors by April 15.

Leong said that the bowling alley has been trying to contact its landlord for months to ascertain whether it would be able to renew its lease. "He kept telling us he wasn't at liberty to tell us whether he was going to lease us the property or not. It got within seven weeks of when the lease was up and we flat out asked him if we should start telling our customers if we're closing. And he said, 'that's up to you.'"

The landlord eventually went on to tell Serra Bowl staff that the business had to move out entirely by April 15, which means that the over 1,500 bowlers who compete in its over 20 leagues won't even have the chance to close out their season. The landlord refused the alley's request for two more weeks so that the leagues could finish out. Sorry gang, but money apparently talks when it comes to this piece of real estate located adjacent to the Colma BART station -- the extension was refused. 

The news broke officially on Friday, Leong says, but the announcement was made on Serra Bowl's Facebook page last night. Reactions were swift, and sad sad sad. "Sad sad sad... Back in the day, this was one of the stops in my junior bowling traveling league... All gone... Westlake, Castle, Broadway, Downtown, Marina, and Serra... Only one left is Sea Bowl :( " said one veteran bowler. "If there is anything that can be done I am sure the people that bowl at Serra would do anything we can," said another.

This, my friends, is a big blow. Sure, there's always Presidio Bowl and the Yerba Buena Center's alley -- and Mission Bowling Club will open its boutique lanes on 17th Street and Shotwell this spring (sign up now if you're hoping to get on the waiting list for those pins) -- but Serra Bowl was one of the last remaining classic alleys, where you washed your hands after games and you could score a White Russian at the bar to go with your basket of fries from the snack shack. Or, you know, bring the kids and find parking real easy, depending on your bag. 

So will Serra be fighting to keep itself out of the gutter? "“there are no plans because it's private property and there's nothing that we could do," says Leong, resignedly. "We feel like we've done everything we could do. Obviously it's not good enough for him.” Him being the landlord. LANDLORDS, argh. 

Leong did say that the alley will be actively searching for a new location once this initial period of shock has subsided, that the community is rallying hard behind the alley, and that in all likelihood there will be a goodbye blow-out. 

Who's down for one last jaunt to Daly City and a pitcher of Miller High Life or five? Call me. 


Sad to hear about the Serra Bowl, I haven't ever been to this place. The Sad thing is bowling alleys are going the way of the drive in, roller rinks, ice stake, mini golf courses, and the rest of the old bay area. Replaced by apts with Starbucks, phone stores, hair salons or worse yet. Strip Mall.

Posted by garrett on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 11:03 am


Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Mar. 04, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

I think it's an outrage that the article plugs bowling alleys in SF vs. Classic Bowl, Brentwood Bowl or even Sea Bowl first!

I hope they do find an available location to move down the Peninsula maybe San Bruno or Millbrae.

Will miss Serra Bowl :-(

And yeah after 51 years you should of owned the building!

Posted by Angelique on Mar. 04, 2012 @ 2:11 pm


Posted by eleanor on Mar. 03, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

There is still always Classic Bowl on King in Daly City

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

Thank You BART!!! You get to destroy a family oriented location. People refer to the other locations to bowl, but fail to consider the location. Fortunately for most, Serra was next to a BART station. To bad. I know of bowlers who drive in from the deep East Bay and as far as Santa Rosa because they enjoy bowling here with friends at Serra.
I hope BART and the property owners realize they are taking away a good thing and reconsider. There's a parking lot across the street that BART owns, separate from their main parking structure. I have yet to see it full, and now they need another?
People ask why there are kids in the street doing nothing. Here's another example of why.

Maybe we should have an occupy Daly City in the BART parking lot. This is a real version of corporate greed at the peoples expense.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

F.y.I Bart has nothing to do with Serra Bowl closing!!! They dont own that land...And say if Bart did have anything to do with Serra Bowl closing ( in which they dont!) Why would u line up a occupy at Daly City Bart?!? You would have to take that up with the main guys @Lake Merrit headquarters.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 07, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

A. Who says BART is involved in this at all?
B. No, BART doesn't own that parking lot there by Colma BART, the City Of Daly City does and they've been pimping it for development for a long time with no takers. (Also, it's great cause it's only $1 a day, I park there. So I hope it stays around)
C. "occupy bart parking lot...corporate greed at the peoples expense" You are really sounding dumb there. Not only is BART not related to this, even if they were buying the bowling alley, it wouldn't be "corporations" to blame. BART.GOV, get it?
D. Public transit is a good thing, I don't get why you have some kind of weird axe against a train. I'm sure a lot of people you speak of from the East Bay took BART to get to Serra Bowl too.

A flaming liberal who hates most corporations and likes bowling alleys.

Posted by XP84 on Mar. 31, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

Brentwood is closing as well

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2012 @ 10:20 am

Brentwood is moving to the old Century Plaza 8 location.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 08, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

Brentwood is moving to a new property. It's moving to the property where Century Plaza 8 used to be.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 08, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

Brentwood Bowl is not closing!!!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 04, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

There is always breentwood bowl is so san francisco

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2012 @ 8:18 am

Hope Mike Leong got a nice retirement package. BJ

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2012 @ 7:12 am

This sucks. We've still got Classic Bowl in Daly City, Brentwood Bowl in SSF & Sea Bowl in Pacifica. True, Classic & Brentwood have virtually no parking, but Sea Bowl has plenty. Still sad to see Serra Bowl close because of a greedy landlord who probably sold the land to BART so they can turn it into another parking lot.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 02, 2012 @ 12:18 am

I bowl there 2 days a week, Tues. Mornings and Friday Mornings and no problem parking. It's later in the afternoon and night when parking might get tough. We have a womens league Tuesdays 9:30 and a 2 large mixed leagues on Friday mornings at 10:00 AM
Complimentary Coffee and pitchers of Water


Posted by Guest Dianne on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 11:03 pm

Name the landlord

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

Don't forget about Brentwood Bowl in South San Francisco!!! It's on El Camino across from See's Candies!!!

Posted by Guest Tom on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

Do not forget Brentwood Bowl in South San Francisco on El Camino across from See's Candies!!!!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

I remember as a little boy I used to come to Serra with my dad and watch him bowl. Serra Bowl is like my second home. One of the most fun parts of being so little was being able to go to the daycare and playing with my friends. There were so many memories. I'm going to miss Serra Bowl SOOOOO MUCH!

Posted by Jordan on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

Why is a business that's been open 51 years in a building obviously custom-designed to be a bowling alley still on a lease? You'd think it would own the building by now. Serra Bowl must've sold the building for cash years back, thinking it would save money by renting, and now it's coming back to bite them.

Posted by John Baker on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

The best response is to make it known loud and clear that the community should not support whatever enterprise will be taking over that space. It's their money that's getting Serra booted, and a little pressure on them might get the landlord to back off (at least to give the 2 extra weeks, which any landlord with integrity would be willing to do).

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

Yes! Don't support the landlord's new tenant or the new enterprise. I wonder if the landlord plans to sell to developers who will build sardine-can apartments or something. Too bad that the bay area is turning into boutique land.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

I agree!! Bldg. Condo's everywere theirs a Bart Station all along the El Camino and beyond. Theirs room for a Bowling alley in Millbrae where we had 2 at one time. The Dalland Nissan property is available....

Posted by Guest Dianne on Mar. 02, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

I'm betting it's not an enterprise, but rather transit-oriented housing -- which is much needed, but I'm still sorry to see Serra Bowl close.

Posted by John Baker on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

This is another example of shoddy reporting by this Rag, there are still 2 bowling alleys on the Peninsula, in SSF( Brentwood), and another up on skyline blvd. I talked to the employees at Serra Bowl yesterday and they've been tld the business owner is actively looking for a new location. Also a new 12 lane bowling place just opened across from AT&T park.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

Lived in Daly City a third of my life. Bowled at Serra Bowl maybe 5 times. I always felt at home there. It was like returning to my childhood lanes only now as an adult. I too will miss the place. It is truely one of a kind and I hope the owners find a place to rebuild and keep some of the charm going. AS for the landlord..he is a total grinch. Not allowing the season two weeks to finish out is unsportsmanlike and shows no respect to a long term tenant..But hey karma has a way of biting back and i am sure he will be bit back unpleasantly hardsomewhere in the future..
Or maybe the bluebird of happiness will leave its droppings all over him.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

sad! = (

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

There's always Classic Bowl

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

I enjoy classic Bowl. It's my favorite !! I've had no problem with parking. Maybe you would at night.

Posted by Guest Dianne on Mar. 02, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

2 words: No Parking

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

not the same!!!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

I used to live in Westlake. Went to schools there from Olympia Elementary (now the Doelger Senior Arts Center), Westlake Elementary, and then Ben Franklin Middle School before heading off to Westmoor HIgh School.

No matter where I went to school, I was surrounded by kids who hung out at bowling alleys, and Serra Bowl was extra special because my late Uncle, Michael J. Smyth, Jr, in 1976, when Serra Bowl got its first automatic scoring system, was the first person to bowl a perfect 300 score during league.

My Uncle went on to make history at Serra, for bowling more perfect games than anyone since him, with a total of 15.

His picture used to hang on the wooden cross beams as you entered the establishment from the street. His picture hung between the Pro Shop and the Bar/Front Desk.

I spent a sum total of 6 months of Wednesday night bowling league in the Children's Nursery, playing with other kids, watching TV some nights, being told stories, playing puzzle games, running around being mortal terrors to the staff that watched over us.

I will miss Serra Bowl. I am sorry that yet another classic Daly City venue has to go away because of money. At least Serra Bowl still makes money. At least it still IS popular, unlike Westlake or some of the other places mentioned in the article.

I look forward to the new location's grand opening!

Posted by Todd Rogers on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

The night I came home after the Military stint in Hawaii, I came to Serra Bowl to watch my brother bowl! I got there and he already had the first 6! He came up to my wife and I and said "welcome home can I get a drink for ya" I said just keep going and I get it later. He finished with a Perfect game. That was remarkable! this was in 1976! He even has the diamond ring that was given to him much later during the season! I bowled most of my junior leagues and blue chip bowling there. But I was a WESTLAKE bowler< Thanks to Jim Swanson who is now with KRON TV. Jim was on my Majors team..

Posted by Steve Stanley on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

Atleast it was making money unlike the Westlake and other bowls mentioned? Westlake was making money and most did as well as they lost there leases and the land was sold for development weren't they? Why so angry with the other bowls? Any bowl lost from our youth is bad period. You don't think those house bowlers feel the same anger as you back then? Do something constructive rather than hate.....idiot!

Posted by GuestDavid on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

Well there never was mentioned any thing about Classic Bowl in Daly City on King Dr. It is a very nice bowling alley. We have several leagues in the day time and evening. I bowl there twice a week and love it!!

Posted by Guest Dianne on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

This is an outrage. We understand the landlords can do whatever they want, but when they lease out their properties, there should be something in place, to keep them from doing whatever the fk they want. Okay. Close it down. I want to know who the landlord is, so I, and everyone else, can lay into them.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

Gee, I thought that was the whole point of owning a building!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

Don't you mean April 15th? That's what the Facebook page says.

Posted by Akit on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

Thanks for the catch Akit!

Posted by caitlin on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

Related articles

  • Wind it up

    Always wanted to try kitesurfing? Here's how to get started

  • Lawsuit challenging the Beach Chalet turf project goes to trial

  • New Zealand's Cup

    America's Cup, seen by many here as a billionaire's boat race, looks very different Down Under, with its culture of sailing and maritime innovation

  • Also from this author