New Bowling Alley Faces Resident Opposition on King Street

The clock is ticking for the Summer, 2011 Opening of the proposed Lucky Strike Lanes on King Street; yet the location is still completely gutted with no sign of construction (insert sound of chirping crickets here). 

So what’s going on with Lucky Strike Lanes? When I personally spoke to CEO, Steven Foster in the end of January, he seemed pretty confident that they would be moving forward in the not-too-distant future. Apparently that was before he sat down, in depth, with the residents of the Beacon Condominium Building that would surround the property.

The word on King Street is that a number of residents have raised a laundry list of concerns around the plan to open a Bowling Alley that wants to stay open late and liquor-up their customers.

LiveSOMA managed to get a hand on a number of documents (the proposed Floor Plan of Lucky Strike Lanes, which you can view here), including a list of concerns prepared by a resident who recently attended a sit-down meeting with Mr. Foster at the Beacon: (Sorry, the resident in question has contacted me and asked me to remove his statements.)

A couple other residents at the Beacon have confirmed with LiveSOMA that there is a movement to file a formal complaint to the ABC to limit the liquor license to 12 a.m., with a NO ALCOHOL clause specifically assigned to the outdoor patio. 

We actually caught wind of this battle early last week, and waited until today to write about it because we were waiting for a response/rebuttal from Mr. Foster, himself. Unfortunately, his assistant is either bad at relaying the message, or they simply don’t care. From what I have heard though, Lucky Strike feels that the $6+ Million Construction Build-out is not worth the cost and effort if they can’t get a full liquor license, and Mr. Foster has said that without a full liquor license, and the outdoor patio, this deal is off.

I don’t live near 3rd and King, and while I understand the resident concern, I don’t know if blocking this is the best idea for the neighborhood. The folks behind Lucky Strike have definitely done their share of Community Outreach and addressed a number of the concerns from people who live in and around that corner. Let’s also remember that there’s a baseball stadium across the street!

Now, of course baseball games don’t run until 2 a.m., but I would argue that many of the people who attend the evening games at AT&T Park exit the stadium and walk across the street to Pete’s, Pedro’s, O’Neill’s and other bars in that area, so the addition of a new bowling alley (whether their focus is $9 cocktails or not) shouldn’t make that much of an additional impact on the neighborhood. It’s actually a big part of the local economy over there.

The outdoor patio is another issue. Honestly though, we all live here. It’s rare that I would want to sit outside in San Francisco after dark. It gets cold, and since Lucky Strike has claimed that they will not allow smoking in the patio area, there really is no reason to go out there after dark. It would be great before games/on Saturday afternoon though! Just look next door at Amici’s if you want proof that people opt to sit indoors when the sun goes down. 

Ultimately, it’s pretty scary to homeowners when a new business threatens to change their way of life. Especially when said business wants to be open until 2 a.m. in a spot that used to be a quiet book store. But honestly, they’ve addressed noise, security and outdoor patio concerns from what I have seen. My gut instinct is that pretty much any business that could theoretically afford to lease this space at the corner of 3rd and King will be shunned by the local residents.

I’ve heard horror stories from South Beach about the public opposition to AT&T Park when they were talking about building it over there. I don’t hear complaints from anyone over there today! In fact, without that ball park, what would anyone want to hang out over there for? 

Same goes for a bowling alley. It’s just another reason to draw foot traffic to the neighborhood. Sure, it will be different than it is now, but ultimately, will it destroy the value of that neighborhood? I find that hard to believe. But again, I don’t own a condo in the Beacon, so who am I to talk? I do, however, hang out over there on a frequent basis, and I would welcome a new entertainment option with open arms.




Here’s an excerpt from a recent Q & A between Residents and Lucky Strike Lanes: 

Resident Concerns About Lucky Strike Lanes on King Street

1. Patio- With Lucky Strikes having a patio outside and in general having a large crowd until 2AM, the amount of smoke will increase substantially in front of their entrance.  This is a huge concern as our windows open at an angle where the smoke will come into the units above the space.  There are young children living in the building and this is not acceptable.



2. Security-what happens after 2AM? We have had many incidents of vandalism in our buildings and since this would create more traffic, these incidents will increase.  We have also had tailgaters, people who sneak into the building when someone else enters. 



3. Noise/Loitering:  Lucky Strikes is applying for a FULL liquor license and will be open until 2AM. This already makes for a noisy night and once the place closes, people tend to loiter outside, drunk and be extremely loud. remember this place will take up the entire side along 3rd Street and be on Townsend and King. Imagine when people are at the game, drinking for 3 hours and then come out of the stadium and go across the street to the bowling alley to drink for 3 more hours.  It doesn’t seem like the something that we should have to deal with for 81 home games.  Plus if Lucky Strikes fails then that liquor license will be grandfathered for the next tenant which could be a nightclub.  The Beacon also has very thin windows which makes noise heard from the street all the way up to the 16th floor.  I can hear things on the 12th floor.  Living at the Beacon, we have heat gain issues where it gets very hot in many units and so we have to keep the windows open for the little circulation that we can get.  When it’s loud outside and you have no choice but to keep your windows open, it becomes impossible to sleep.  Granted this is not Lucky Strikes’ problem that we have thin windows but having a quiet neighbor (ex. Borders) over a noisy neighbor one is more favorable due to the circumstance.



4. Trash/Vandalism:  As witnessed after the World Series win, people can be reckless. Granted the World Series is a special situation but since the win, the games are going to be sold out and crowds are going to be crazy next year!!! Imagine all the drunk, loud fans continuing for 4 more hours in our neighborhood. The sheer increase of patrons at Lucky Strikes will  increase vandalism and trash in our neighborhood. The urination on side of building will be more present. Again, Lucky Strikes doesn’t have a solution for this.



5. Garage:  They want access to the garage that we residents use, we have had many incidents of car thefts and break ins in the garage.  Having the bowling alley have access to garage increases activity in the garage where more people will have access to our cars. Right now we have installed a gate that comes down at midnight.  Since the bowling alley will be open until 2 AM, they will most likely remove the gate thus, diminishing security.  I also haven’t of any update regarding the supposed valet only.



Lucky Strike Lanes Addresses Sound/Noise Concerns


San Francisco location in plan development with projected construction start date mid/late Spring 2011, opening in September 2011.

The following locations (14 of 20 open or soon to be opened) have significant acoustical considerations such as our San Francisco location:

LS Bellevue with retail tenants below and movie theater above 

LS Chicago with Embassy Suites Hotel/restaurant below and movie theater above

LS Del Amo with restaurant tenant below

LS Denver with retail tenant below

LS Hollywood with retail tenant above

LS Kansas City with restaurant tenants below

LS Lombard with retail tenants above

LS Los Angeles with restaurant tenants below and Club Nokia above

LS West Nyack with offices below

LS Philadelphia with retail tenant below

LS Washington DC with restaurant tenant below and movie theater above

LS Phoenix with retail tenant below

LS Ft. Worth with retail tenant below and movie theater above

San Francisco project is similar to locations but unique in that:

Office tenant directly above separated from our space by a 10” thick concrete floor (for the most part vacant after 5:30 PM Monday thru Friday and all day Saturday/Sunday/Holidays providing a significant buffer for residential tenants above).

Residential units above office level with operable exterior windows (required as residential units have no air conditioning).

Our acoustical consultant, who has participated in the acoustical attenuation design of most locations above, has performed two separate sessions of noise testing on site after the previous tenant (Border’s) vacated. (The Landlord had their acoustical consultant participate at both sessions)

Based on our acoustical consultant’s experience with previous LS projects and the unique circumstances specific to the San Francisco location our consultant has made recommendations for acoustical attenuation work which will be incorporated into our Preliminary Plans and Working Drawings prior to our applications for building permits.

Exterior noise emanating from our space will be controlled via a revolving door as our principal entry.

Exterior security and noise control will be achieved via Lucky Strike Door Hosts which will be in place during evening hours of operation 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  As well as the assistance with the Hart SF Patrol Special Police Force.

Interior noise from our space will be mitigated via a hard lid ceiling with 6” isolation batts above all public areas.

21 thoughts on “New Bowling Alley Faces Resident Opposition on King Street

  1. You are forgetting that none of Lucky Strikes’ locations or Pedro’s/Pete’s, MoMo’s or O’Neil’s have anyone living above them. Don’t get me wrong, Lucky Strike would be a great addition to the neighborhood, but this particular location is not ideal.

  2. A lot of folks living in the Beacon are likely $100,000 or more underwater on their mortgage and are effectively stuck living there unless they declare personal bankruptcy while they hope and pray the value comes back up over time. I don’t live at the Beacon, and I haven’t read anything that says that any residents living there are against Lucky Strike period. Now is the time when residents have some leverage to try to find a middle ground so that if/when Lucky Strike opens, they live and thrive in harmony rather than Beacon residents constantly filing complaints with ABC, the SFPD, and their Supervisor until the noise grows so loud that Lucky Strike is run out of town. To brush off residents concerns and say they can move if they don’t like it pretends that housing is a commodity instead of a major life investment. By the way, where do you live – can Lucky Strike be open 7 days a week with a patio under your bedroom window serving hard liquor until 2 a.m. every night?

  3. I probably will never patronize this place but I’d like to see it move forward – The last thing SF needs is another gaping vacancy. If this ends up getting killed, maybe the space can be broken up into 4-5 new retail/restaurant spaces. I think that would better suite and fit the area and SF as a whole anyhow. Small store fronts definitely contribute to the pedestrian experience. Also, if Lucky Strike backs out because of opposition, it’d be nice if they pursued another location as there really aren’t many bowling options here for those who enjoy the sport. Maybe Market between 5th and 8th (with lots of light and signage)?

  4. The only opposition I have seen is written in the post above. From what I understand, there is opposition, specifically in that one building that will possibly house the Bowling Alley (the people who would more than likely live above it).

    I definitely see both sides to this. Gaping holes, as gellan suggests, are not very good for the neighborhood, and King Street has their fair share of them with 7 or 8 different storefronts emptied in the last few months. At this point, they might want to try to work with someone (for instance, Lucky Strike) who shows interest in opening on King Street, especially if they can afford the high rent demands for the neighborhood. I‘ve seen nothing but complete cooperation from Lucky Strike (aside from not returning my calls in this past week).

    If I purchased a condo with shoddy windows and an overheating (?) issue that required me to have my windows open all the time, I would naturally take out my frustrations on a new business that wants to move in. Especially since we all know how “business friendly” this City is in the first place.

    With that said, if I did live above this spot, I would probably welcome Lucky Strike. They ‘ve made every effort to cooperate, and shown concern for the locals, and I just cannot believe that opening a bowling alley/lounge on the corner of 3rd and King would spell any kind of doom for this neighborhood.

    If anything, it would entice other businesses to follow because there would be more down there than the Giants from April to October. I recently spoke to the folks at Specialtys Bakery that closed in China Basin, and the one thing they emphasized was the fact that many businesses down there don’t understand the seasonality of the location at this point. Perhaps the homeowners would prefer vacant holes to foot traffic and a local, year-round economy? I don’t know.

  5. I’m guessing Lucky Strike is being smart about this and are willing to give a little on the patio issue … and like you said, it isn’t like people want to sit outdoors on most evenings in San Francisco anyway, especially near the waterfront where the wind can be especially brisk. I hope that’s the deal, and Lucky Strike will open up in July as planned.

    If Lucky Strike is being bullheaded and unwilling to give an inch on the patio operating hours, then I say good riddance and move on … if they aren’t going to try to meet neighbors part of the way on some of their concerns, I’d rather not see the City’s resources pissed away as the neighbors declare war on Lucky Strike once it starts operating. The SFPD have better things to do than to respond to calls about packs of loud douche bag amateurs creating a nuisance around King/3rd/Townsend.

    A business saying “Either take 100% of my demands or I won’t open” is not cooperating with anybody … its being pig headed.

  6. I live in the Beacon and I am all for this. Extra security? Awesome. We have crazy thick windows too so they shouldn’t be b*tching about noise. I can’t even tell when it is raining. Good point about the bars, I mean, COME ON. I went to a Lucky Strikes for the first time in DC a couple weeks ago and it was pretty suave. Very clean and chill. They were also booked for bowling for SIX HOURS, so that crap about not being about bowling is a lie. They had a restaurant too, not sure if this will be the same, but it seems pretty cool. We lost all these businesses on our block of King Street, why are we fighting one trying to come in?? I think it would be a great addition to the neighborhood.

    Oh, and a) we do have overheating issues (there is a lawsuit going on) but that’s why you use a FAN. The safety windows do not exactly circulate air. b) second the suburbs comment.

  7. I don’t live in the beacon but I do live in the neighborhood and I was/am so excited about Lucky Strike! I sincerely hope they can work it out with the neighbors because a vibrant bowling alley would be so much better than the vacant space. Also I haven’t been bowling in forever. :)

  8. Bowling is actually a pretty tame form of entertainment, one that if managed right won’t attract a bunch of jerks who just want to part-ay all night long. It would be great if this kind of entertainment was available in SF again. A friend of mine lives in one of the buildings nearby and I think we’d frequently go bowling there.

    If you live in the area or in the Beacon and support this business, consider writing to the SF planning commission, SF planning staff, Lucky Strike, and your city council member. I think that many times it takes just a few loud mouths to kill a project because hardly any supporters show up to say hey, we’d really like this to be in our neighborhood.

  9. Typical SF neighbors….move next to a ballpark and complain about the noise…

    Sounds like the developer is working to address the concerns of the residences. Finding a tenant to fill that huge space is going to be challenging. I hope the developer moves forward regardless of some of the negative comments by a few NIMBY types. The corner of King, Third & Townsend is perfect for a venue like this. The fact that the neighbors are not directly above the space is great. The windows in the building are sound proof. The developer is providing additional security.

    Hey Steve stay the course, don’t let a few SF NIMBY’s ruin a good thing for the rest of us. I live a block away and I’m looking forward to a new neighbor. I thought the ballpark was going to ruin the neighborhood…didn’t happen. Yea we got some problems but it’s no big deal. I love living in this part of the city. Your just what we need……….look forward to my first Lucky Strike….let e’m roll……..

  10. I love the idea of a bowling alley, BUT the outside patio can Not stay open until 2AM!!!! THis is too noisey for the neighborhood. Maybe they will compromise and close the patio at midnight and allow the rest of the bowling alley and the bar to stay open until 2AM. Lastly, I hope this is a new upscale bowling alley with an upscale bar that serves good food – not just burgers, hot dogs and pizza, but good unfried foods.

  11. Sorry, but these complaints are complete garbage. Having lived on 3rd st just north of Townsend on the 2nd floor, I can’t imagine noise being any worse. There are heavy motorcycles powering up 3rd street, traffic at all hours, and baseball games are REALLY noisy. None of these things are going away, and having a bowling alley there isn’t going to make it any worse. Everyone in that area could use more reasons for property values to go up, and a massive “for rent” sign isn’t it.

  12. Likely saving the guy 6mill on the build out by having him walk away from this location. There is already an empty bowling ally walking distance from this area. The area is busy during games with in and out traffic but dead the other 300 nights. Already plenty of empty places to drink. Bowling better for the burbs and as a resident I don’t think it is a good fit.

  13. Mark, you raise a good point of question or debate. If a bowling alley/lounge isn’t good for the neighborhood, what is? A book store failed, Quizno’s failed, a shipping/packaging store failed. Specialty’s Cafe & Bakery pulled out. It’s almost as if the people who live in this neighborhood aren’t interested in doing much of anything when the ball season is over. Either that or the price to lease space over here is way overpriced because they’re relying on the tenants to make most of their money during the baseball season, and most of them (particularly the non-alcohol related stores) don’t seem to plan that way.

    But you’re right, there are plenty of empty bars for people to choose from when there’s nothing happening at AT&T Park, so do we need another one? I walk by the bowling alley at Yerba Buena all the time and it is seldom full, or even remotely full.

  14. Ummmm…..plenty of complaints about the ballpark from the neighbors. Fans are loud, rude, and pee on every doorstep not lit by floodlights (not all of course, but enough for it to be downright nasty). Come down to the neighborhood a few hours after the game and count the number of completely wasted drunks wandering around trying to get served more alcohol. While I welcome the addition of a bowling alley to the neighborhood, if it contributes to the out of control public drunkenness in my neighborhood I would vote no. Some businesses in the area do a great job serving their guests without creating a public nuisance. Lets hope Lucky Strike can too.

  15. I’m all for this project, but I would be livid if I lived above it and could hear the cacophony of bowling below me, however to complain of the bar/patio noise is complete NIMBY nonsense, if you bought here and didn’t expect bar noise you’re a fool.

    That said, my biggest concern is the prices to bowl here will be astronomical, as they apparently are at the other Lucky Strike locations. Surely they’ll offer better “Happy Hour” bowling deals, but for some reason bowling has become as pricey as golf of late. (If I’m not mistaken they’ll charge up to $8 per game, so four people on a lane could be paying over $100 per hour if they bowl well.)

    I’m hoping they’ll do this deal as they do in Seattle: Mondays: $15/ person gets endless bowling and shoes for the evening! Let’s hope they don’t jack up the prices for S… I’m assuming the menu is standardized as seen here:

    (I must say the Yerba Buena lanes provide a very depressing ambiance, so it does not surprise me they are under-utilized.)

  16. Security sucks at Lucky Strike. Me and my boys love to go to Lucky Strike, get drunk, and get in fights. After the fights we go looking for stuff to steal out of the cars in the parking lot.

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