On a recent morning at Costa Mesa 55 Tavern + Bowl, half of the 10 bowling lanes were the scenes of cheers, high-fives and laughter. The special occasion was a children's party, and fun was obviously being had despite a good number of brightly colored bowling balls flying into gutters.
"It is best described as a boutique bowling center," said Daniel Hurd, 42, owner of Tavern & Bowl.
The newest addition to The Triangle opened Feb. 27.
"We wanted to bring in a project that combined a restaurant and entertainment aspect, and Tavern & Bowl does just that," said Scott Sanfilippo, partner at Greenlaw Partners, which owns The Triangle.
Tavern + Bowl brings an edgy flair not typical of your average bowling alley. Don't expect overcooked hot dogs or burnt popcorn. Instead patrons can choose from an extensive and progressive menu of 37 items that include gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and Paleo options. Paleo offerings focus on grass-fed proteins and low-sugar fruits and seeds.
"We want to fight the negative stigma of your typical bowling alley experience," Hurd said.
Born in East Aurora, N.Y., Hurd was on his way to law school when he decided to take a different route. He moved to Vail, Colo., and started working in bars and restaurants.
"I just love working with people and making them feel personally catered to," said Hurd, who moved to Napa Valley in the 1990s and slowly started working his way south to find "perfect weather and a majestic ocean view."
This is the fourth Tavern + Bowl location for Hurd and the first in Orange County.
"We saw what Dan was doing in the Gaslamp District in San Diego and knew immediately it was the type of entertainment we wanted to provide the Costa Mesa community," said Sanfilippo. "The food menu is phenomenal. It is truly a place that you can do everything at."
"We believe in consistency and a welcoming environment," Hurd said. "Tavern + Bowl is a place where you could bring your family or bring a date."
Sanfilippo and his fellow partners stay involved in every facet of The Triangle project, from handpicking tenants to helping with designs.
"The Triangle has changed so much over the years," Sanfilippo said. "When people go out, we want there to be enough entertainment and food choices so that The Triangle is a destination with a plethora of options."
Tavern + Bowl, located below the Yard House, offers 40 beer taps, a full service bar and 10 specialty drinks.
"We know that we are surrounded by great establishments, meaning we have to stand out," Hurd said of his neighbors at The Triangle, "so we offer beers from various San Diego microbreweries and an amazing Bloody Mary mix."
The bowling alley-tavern combo offers food items such as grilled oysters Kilpatrick glazed in honey bourbon garlic butter and filet mignon steak tacos marinated in chimichurri sauce.
Not to mention the ribs.
"Our Tavern baby-back ribs are on point," Hurd said.
A dessert menu features a triple-threat chocolate brownie. Most dishes from Tavern & Bowl's menu range from $8 to $15.
What: Costa Mesa 55 Tavern & Bowl
Where: 1875 Newport Blvd., Suite L1-111, Costa Mesa
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Fridays; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. After 9 p.m., it's 21-and-older only.