“I’ll have a vodka rocks,” Lucille Bluth says to her son Michael on Arrested Development. When informed that it’s only breakfast time, she rolls her eyes and mutters, “and a piece of toast.”
You’ll face no such scrutiny over your preferred drinking times at Mission Bowling Club, which in addition to six lanes dedicated to the only sport you can eat and drink while playing now has an all-$12, all-Arrested Development cocktail menu.
Created by S.F. nightlife pro Gillian Fitzgerald, it’s an excuse for you to come out of hiding in your model-home attic to socialize or watch your dogged attorney Bob Loblaw lob a gutter bomb. Suddenly, The Big Lebowski isn’t the only pop-culture phenomenon with a strong bowling theme. Definitely start with a The Money Is In the Banana Stand, a mix of Don Q Gold rum, lime, creme de banane, and a house-made Bluth banana garnish that’s a sort of dehydrated chocolatey treat on a stick. It’s quite an elaborate process, in fact. But then again, it’s one banana. How much could it cost? Ten dollars?
Once slightly lubricated, avoid quoting with your hands while you drink and move on to an I’ve Made a Huge Mistake (Del Maguey Vida mezcal, lime, Amaro Montenegro, agave, and black salt) which is as tropical as the bar in which Kitty the secretary flashes her boobs and orders you to “Say goodbye to these!”
Unlike those greasy burgers you unwrapped on the sad orange Formica bowling-lane cafeterias of your youth, Mission Bowling Club’s kitchen is considerably more adept at churning out eats. Already famed for its fried chicken sandwich and for its vegan falafel burger, there’s also a deviled egg with curry and pickled beets and a big, overflowing whopper of an elote slathered in cotija, plus jalapeño ash popcorn and chicken skins. Say “Annyong” to that corn-on-the-cob.
Then take another look at the cocktails. If you want to keep things fairly simple, go with a Buster Loves Juice (tequila, guava, Lillet Blanc, and lime). Buster’s not allowed to have too much of it, however, because it just makes him more awful. If you’d rather something closer to dessert in a glass, the Pick a Lane Michael is the wisest course of action. A mix of Powers Irish whiskey, cold-brew coffee, St. George NOLA coffee liqueur, chicory syrup, and cream, it’s a hair’s breadth away from a boozy ice cream float.
Remember: When bowling, always observe lane courtesy. If someone makes a veiled criticism of your ability to pick up a spare, just let them know that you won’t listen to it and you won’t respond to it. Instead, you’ll have a summery Marry Me! (aquavit, Salers Gentiane, lemon, cucumber, and compressed watermelon).
Isn’t it great that a bowling alley has such a great bar? It’s not at all like hospitals. That’s why people hate hospitals.
Mission Bowling Club, 3176 17th St. 415-863-2695 or missionbowlingclub.com