HomeCity NewsBeloved Pickwick Bowl Closes

Beloved Pickwick Bowl Closes

By City News Service

The rumble of bowling balls and the crack of toppling pins — as well as the cheers and laughter they produce — went silent Tuesday at Pickwick Bowl, as the beloved Burbank institution shut its doors after more than 60 years to make way for townhomes.

Pickwick’s demise — along with its bar and banquet hall — has produced an outpouring of lament on social media from many locals who have participated in bowling leagues, family gatherings, birthday celebrations and other occasions over the years.

The lanes at 1001 W. Riverside Drive, near the equestrian center, were built in the 1950s and have been family run since 1961.

“Over the years, Pickwick customers have become friends and are like family,” Darin Mathewson, general manager of Pickwick Bowl and Banquets, wrote in an Instagram post on Aug. 2, announcing the closure to customers.

“The staff and I enjoy seeing your faces regularly, catching up on life and sharing laughs together. Many of you have celebrated life’s milestones at Pickwick, we hope the memories stay with you in the years to come,” he added.

Mathewson has worked for the bowling alley for 30 years, and said his family celebrated many milestones and other special occasions there.

“I have cherished my time in the bowl and banquets, being greatly honored to participate in many special events and tournaments with our incredible customers,” Mathewson said in his letter. “Inviting you into Pickwick has been our honor over the years and we will miss each of you and look back with fond gratitude on the times we shared.”

On Pickwick Bowl’s Facebook page, more than 80 people shared their thoughts and feelings on the closing of the bowling alley.

“Thank you for all the good times you’ve provided me and my family over the last 50 years,” Laurie Herndon wrote in a Facebook post.

“We were always there for the New Year’s Eve festivities in various leagues we joined. My son bowled his first 300 game there. You are part of so many of our childhood memories and will be missed dearly.”

Others lamented the loss of a community space.

“This is so horrible. The last bowling alley in Burbank,” Kevin Conahan wrote on Facebook. “An entertainment spot that some of us have been around since the 1960s, a place where our kids go for entertainment and now there’s going to be a hundred townhomes.”

The decision to shutter the facility came after the Burbank City Council approved a proposal in 2022 to allow the townhome development.

But the new homes will not affect the nearby Pickwick Gardens ice rink, which is owned by the Los Angeles Kings.

“Please drop by to say hello!” Mathewson wrote.

First published in the August 19 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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