Last Tuesday the Dublin Planning Commission struck down a parking variance request related to the parking for the proposed 16-lane bowling alley, restaurant, billiards, and bar. Star Lanes has chosen the former home of The Good Guys as the ideal location for the much-needed entertainment venue in downtown Dublin. Located at the end of Amador Plaza Road, there are 96 dedicated parking spaces shared between two other businesses and Star Lanes. Star Lanes plans to use an adjacent lot for valet and employee parking.
The business plan calls for an upscale venue with a high energy lounge and bar. Unlike a traditional bowling alley, there is no league play and the concept is formatted as a restaurant and bar with bowling as entertainment, not the focus. The concept mirrors that of the popular Lucky Strike Lanes. Lucky Strike has locations in Hollywood, L.A., Washington DC, Phoenix, Boston, and many other cities. The facilities often cater to parties and play host to professional events.
Of course supporters of Earl Anthony’s Dublin Bowl were in full force at the meeting. Opponents of Star Lanes said the new bowling alley will put Earl Anthony’s out of business. It was voiced that the proximity to the freeway on/off ramp is dangerous and the parking variance should not be approved. After reading the insidebayarea.com article I was further disturbed by the political forces that already seem to be work.
In my most humble opinion, I do believe this venue is vital for downtown Dublin’s redevelopment. The supporters and bowlers will continue to patronise Earl Anthony’s while those just looking for entertainment will have an option in Dublin. As of now, what do people do in Dublin for a group event? I would guess they make the drive to Livermore’s Campo Di Bocce. This isn’t about a big bowling alley pushing out the little local guy; although that does seem like the view from the opponent’s side. Star Lanes may give bowling the exposure that has seemed to lack since the movie “Kingpin”. The addition of the venue will no doubt raise bowling awareness and may even influence those who may not think of themselves as bowlers to patronise other traditional bowling alleys.
Here is how I think of it: A company may plan a group event at a place like Campo Di Bocce where they can combine a luncheon and sport that just about anyone can play. That same group is not going to plan a day out to Earl Anthony’s, under any circumstance. It’s a bowling alley, not an entertainment venue which is exactly where Star Lanes aims to fill the gap. The business also generates a sales tax which in turn benefits the city, in this day in age, every city needs money.
The local businessman behind Star Lanes will appeal the decision and no doubt will this continue to be a politically heated topic. Watch for further updates on the City Council meeting to be planned in the near future.