Pickwick Bowl in Burbank closes after more than 60 years

For more than six decades, Pickwick Bowl and Banquets has been serving Burbank and beyond. 

On Tuesday, Aug. 15, the facility closed its doors for the last time.  

A passionate crowd gathered at Pickwick Bowl Tuesday ahead of the closure, to share decades' worth of memories and say their goodbyes to the community staple.

Holding a can of cherry soda, Veronica Christenson made a toast to the venue, thanking it for "all the wonderful memories." 

"Whatever’s coming next, we don’t want to know," she said as others poured out their cans.

The Riverside Drive institution had been family-run since 1961. It sits across from an equestrian center, and people arrived to the gathering on horseback. Everyone had vivid memories of Pickwick Bowl.


Lifelong Burbank resident Roy Simison lives around the corner, and is devastated to see the gathering place be turned into townhomes.

"We used to come down here, you’d bowl, you’d swim in the pool, ice skate, there were teenage fairs down here — it was a gathering for the entire community — including Glendale," he said. He said he feels a combination of rage and extreme sadness.

"It represents something of value to the community that is being driven out. So, it’s very sad," he said as tears welled in his eyes.

"Everybody has some sort of memory of this place — of coming here, gathering here, families, parties, banquets," said Christenson. "It’s just such a vital part of our community. I think everyone is going to miss that."

Darin Mathewson, the facility's general manager, announced the closure on social media last week.

"You brought life to this alley, making it a hub of joy, camaraderie, and love," Mathewson wrote. "From birthday parties and family gatherings to competitive leagues and spontaneous bowling nights, you made every moment memorable. Our fondest memories will forever include your smiling faces, the sound of pins crashing, and the contagious excitement that filled the air."

After its closure, Pickwick Bowl will be replaced with more than 90 townhomes and an equestrian trail. The developer's pans were approved with the city last year. The development will not affect the Pickwick Gardens ice rink, which is owned by the Los Angeles Kings.