The sun sets on Sunset Bowl

Sunset Bowl opened for business on January 9th, 1957, and it quickly became one of Ballard’s most popular hangouts. At one point, it was the busiest bowling alley in the country for two years running.

Then in January, a company called Avalon purchased the property with plans to build luxury apartments. Jim Bristow, an avid bowler, circulated petitions and searched for investors in an attempt to save the bowling alley. Or at least keep it open one more year. But tonight at midnight, Sunset Bowl is closing.

But it may not be for good. Avalon has left open the possibility that Sunset Bowl may return in a new development. But the current building will be demolished soon, and Sunset’s bowling equipment will be auctioned off on April 22nd.

Sunset is almost always packed on Friday and Saturday nights. Bowlers wait as long as two hours for a lane, and the small, dark bar is packed as karaoke singers take to the mic. This weekend, of course, is even busier, as Seattleites come to play one last game and pay their respects. And let’s not forget about the Sunset employees, who as of tonight, are out a job.

Just about everyone in Ballard has a memory at Sunset Bowl. Like many, my memories are late-night bowling with friends. On a glass wall inside, paper bowling pins are inscribed with messages like “I left my heart at Sunset” and “Sunset Bowl rocks.” There’s also “Avalon sucks,” a common theme among Ballardites who are worried that the neighborhood’s uniqueness is fading fast. So what are your memories? What will you miss about Sunset?

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

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