Last month, Discovery Ventura opened its doors at 1888 E. Thompson Boulevard, Ventura at the former home of the Ventura Bowling Center that closed its doors in December 2012. The facility has been beautifully renovated as a restaurant and lounge, accompanied by a nine-lane bowling alley, several pool tables and shuffleboards.
Although Discovery Ventura has been open for a month, the "official" Grand Opening will take place from Wednesday, January 22nd through Sunday, January 26th with live entertainment, ribbon cutting ceremony, roll-out of a full menu, prizes and giveaways, and a silent auction benefit. More details at www.facebook.com/events/217503785103653.
The boys and I stopped by Discovery Ventura this past Sunday to try out the bowling. It was just before lunchtime and the bar area was well occupied with folks socializing and enjoying Sunday morning NFL on the too-numerous-to-count flat screen TVs.
It was not crowded when we got there so we were able to quickly get situated. Bowling lanes are first come, first serve and cost $15 per hour (plus shoe rentals). As a novice that bowls perhaps twice a year, I was reminded once again that bowling shoes run large. My kids and I took 2 to 3 iterations apiece to get the best fit, but the hostess was patient with us.
The boys were able to find lighter bowling balls (6 to 8 lbs) and the hostess was able to meet our request for "bumpers" to pop up during the kids' turns as we bowled away. After my first roll I did a double take, as after 8 pins fell down, ALL of the pins were lifted up by strings. Quickly thereafter down plopped the two remaining pins. Traditionalists may not be thrilled with this more efficient "StringPin" technology but for a "boutique" non-league bowling alley like this I don't think it will be an issue with most social bowlers. See video below for a close-up of the StringPin action.
The lanes were full sized, though a bit cramped lengthwise and the little black dots used to position your starting point are pretty close to where the tables were. But we managed and had a great time. The boys were hungry and one had the Four Cheese Pizza ($10.95) and the other tried the BBQ Bacon Burger ($11.95), which came with fries. They both remarked how delicious the food was...so much so that my burger eater wouldn't even give me a sample taste. It certainly smelled good. My Caprese Salad ($9.95) was also excellent. And the family a few lanes down dining on Chicken Wings ($10.95) and Nachos ($9.95) remarked that they were both outstanding.
I asked the hostess how they would describe Discovery Ventura...is it a bowling alley, a nightclub, a restaurant, or ? There wasn't a clear answer as it is really all of the above. On its Facebook page it is described as "Simplistic and repurposing best describe the theme throughout the development of the California-lifestyle project. All are welcome to enjoy the laid-back, fun, and easy entertainment with 9 lanes of bowling, a locally-sourced restaurant with delectable California-cuisine, crafted cocktails, and the region’s largest and most fun private event facilities." Having been there, I would agree with that assessment.
Learn more at www.discoveryventura.com or call 805.856.BOWL (2695).