WHILE IT'S possible that you might feel like popping into Lounge 1020 after bowling a perfect game at the AMF Bowling Square Lanes upstairs, it's probably not advisable. The heady mix of warm lighting, powerful cocktails and Zen-inspired interiors may make for strange bedfellows, but it apparently does the trick for a respectable if modest cross-section of Arcadia's sizable Asian American population. Just leave the league shirt -- but definitely not your credit card -- at home.
1020's general manager, Chris Hwang, readily acknowledges the high cost of the Lounge's signature cocktails alongside the bottle service (prices range from $12 a cocktail to $150 to $400 for the jug, and get ready for a Remy Louis XIII to set you back $2,500).
"In the middle of Arcadia, the only way [we] can really justify that is through good customer service," he says. Sure enough, the hostesses with the tinsel tiaras make the rounds frequently enough. And a drink like the crowd favorite, So Seductive -- a mixture of berries and red wine -- could pass for higher-rent sizzurp. There's also an offering of fair-to-middling pot stickers, egg rolls and other Asian pub grub, though for the price, you might want to stick to the free (if rather anachronistic) Cheeze Doodles and Chex they for some reason serve in this atmosphere.
Since 1020 is an ultra-lounge, expect to do little but drink, listen to a DJ play hip-hop/R&B; and play Chinese drinking games with your friends. (While the club does project music videos onto a circular screen in the middle of the venue, it's useless if you're sitting toward the sides of the club, where most of the seating is.) There won't be much dancing unless some of the big spenders have had a few.
But the club's strong suit is its intimacy. Management never lets the crowd top the capacity of 110, and the interior's dark wood-and-concrete textures and clean lines do create a nice ambience and give the space, for all of its decidedly upscale aspirations, a rather down-to-earth vibe. It gives club-goers ample opportunity to meet their neighbors -- handy, indeed, for Ladies Night on Wednesdays.
For most days of the week, though, 1020 tries hard to be something it's not. The price tag and finicky dress code requirements only work against the lack of attitude and coziness that are this space's strongest suits (and make you wonder why they haven't fixed that leak under the sink in the men's room yet). Ultimately, one only wishes 1020 could downplay its exclusive, high-roller ambitions and embrace the bowling alley within.
WHERE: 1020 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia
WHEN: 9 p.m.-2 a.m. daily
PRICE: $25 cover on weekends, when reservations are recommended
INFO: (626) 447-8009; www.1020-lounge.com
ON THE WEB: For more photos, go to latimes.com/1020