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Tuesday, January 25, 2011


For the past several years I have made it a point to cut back on huge expenditures when it came to my children's birthday parties.  When they were younger I tended to hold their parties at a location because it seemed all my other parent friends did it that way.   Plus my kids gave me their big, pleading eyes with the hopes we would have their parties on location.  Those places included Planet Granite in Sunnyvale, Airborne Gymnastics in Santa Clara, and the Jungle

But when they were about eight or nine, I started having their parties at home, just like my mom did when I was a kid.  But as a mom I dreaded the work involved with home parties.  And especially the clean-up.  So this year, with two milestone birthday years within the span of 6 weeks, my husband, children and I decided to go for the "on-location"  party once again. And I have to say, it was SO nice not having to clean-up beforehand, cook, come up with an activity or clean up afterwards.  That was a huge relief. 

So where did we have their parties (Sweet 16 and Lucky 13)?  At the Bowlmor Lanes in Cupertino.  This is a great venue for a joint party.  We had side-by-side lanes where my 16 year-old was set up with her friends, and my 13 year-old was in the next lane with her friends.  At Bowlmor (formerly called "Strike") they have a nice setup for catered food with a counter right behind the lanes with food warming trays to keep things toasty. 

We ordered pepperone & cheese pizza, you can't go wrong with that.  I also ordered vegetable spring rolls and a vegetable crudite platter.   We ordered pitchers of drinks which is a much better way to go than separate juice or drink bottles that tend to be half consumed when you have a home party. Everything we ordered was consumed by the 16 hungry girls who attended over the course of the two hour party-time.  Bowlmor has a wonderful set up where you are assigned an Event Host (Talerra was superb) who makes sure your every need is taken care of.  We brought our own cake and packed goodie bags to hand out.

There were a few things I would recommend to make your party at Bowlmor a success:
  1. Plan ahead.  You need to contact Bowlmor to schedule your party.  You will be assigned a contact who will write up your contract, help you plan your menu and bill you. We worked with Tiffany and it was so easy just working by email with her.
  2. When sending invites, advise your guests to arrive 15-20 minutes before the start of the party.  In most cases birthday parties are alloted a 2 hour window.  For instance if your party is scheduled from 12-2, I recommend telling your guests to arrive at 11:45.  This is because you have to allow for time to get your shoe rental and find the right bowling ball.
  3. Besides yourself, have another adult or individual who can help out, especially if you have younger children under 10 in attendance.  The adult can help if someone has to go to the restroom or needs help tying their shoes and getting the right bowling ball. 
  4. Ask the Bowlmor host if they can enter the players names for you ahead of time.  We had 16 bowlers in total, and the method to enter names into the computerized scorekeeper is not that intuitive (in this day of Apple iMacs and iPads/iPhones).  It's not a simple process of entering all the names and then hitting the "enter" button.  With the Bowlmor system you have to enter each  name one at a time, and go back to the main menu to start the process over for every single name.  Then you have to decide if you want the bumpers to be activated by person. (We had them up for every player.)
  5. If you need more food, you can order on the spot. This was great because you don't know how hungry your crowd is going to be.  We ended up ordering 3 extra pizzas and more pitchers of soda than planned.  It was great being able to order on the spot and appease those hungry kids.
  6. Bring a camera.  There are plenty of photo opportunities at a bowling party.  Be sure you have a flash because it is dark in the alley area, even though there are neon lights and huge TV screens everywhere.
  7. Be sure you have the parent's cell phone numbers for each guest in case they are not on time for pick up.  Because this is a "drop off" party and the parents don't stick around, you have to be sure they know exactly where and when to pick up their child after the party.  Fortunately, every parent arrived on time and we did not have to linger for the last pick up.  But be prepared in case someone is late.
Check here to review their extensive menu.  It's a great venue for a children or adult birthday party or company event.

Full Disclosure:  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  However, I have received "FREE BOWLING PASSES" good for ONE SHOE RENTAL + ONE GAME.  Please leave a comment below with your email address and we will hold a random drawing for FOUR FREE GAMES+SHOE RENTALS.  You must live in the San Jose area to qualify.  Drawing will be held on February 2, 2011, Wednesday.


  1. Love that place. The food is so much better than what you'd think of for typical bowling alleys. I like the name Strike better though. (ldp95070@gmail.com)

  2. My teens love the place and the food. I must admit that all those tv screens give me a sensory input overload!! (haenselca@yahoo.com)

  3. A great place to host a pre-planned B'day party indeed! Friendly & efficient staff. It would be great if they made their menu a bit more vegetarian friendly.


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