The Bar Tab

Split Rail Saloon @ Brunswick Thousand Oaks Bowl
4330 Thousand Oaks
10am-11:30pm Mon-Thu; 10am-1:30am Fri-Sat; noon-11:30pm Sun
Slow-cruising Naco-Perrin in  search of a Spanish-galleon-themed Shakey’s Pizzeria turned heavy-metal bar/possible strip club, I eventually accepted that I was looking for lost gold. The place was no longer there. Fittingly, I was near El Dorado, a northeast neighborhood named after a mythical city of lost treasure. I regrouped and made my way to the Brunswick bowling alley and its house bar, the Split Rail Saloon. As I sat down and ordered a shot of top-shelf tequila, the industrial sounds of crashing bowling pins and clanking bowling-ball-retrieval machines brought an unlikely sense of peace. All was not lost.

The Split Rail isn’t a great bar. The quality of the drinks is average at best, but being inside a bowling alley has its charms. Brunswick proudly celebrates “cosmic bowling” Friday and Saturday nights from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. The normal lights are turned out and black lights are turned on. Various objects throughout the bowling alley are painted to accentuate the haunting, cheap thrills of black light. If they played Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” during this time, I wouldn’t be shocked.

Even better, on Thursday and Friday nights, the bar hosts karaoke. Assuming my math is correct, on Friday night at 11:30 p.m., one could theoretically enjoy karaoke and the black-light spectacle at the same time. That could be interesting.

The Split Rail has a pool table, a huge television for sports, and a small bar to pull up to and drink cheaply. They offer drink specials every single day to make it an even better bargain. Tuesday is “2’s Wild!” night, when after 9:30 p.m. practically everything costs $2 — bowling games, shoe rentals, large sodas, and draft beer. At normal prices a pitcher costs $8.25 and a glass goes for $2.75.

After I finished my tequila, I realized I should have ordered a White Russian in honor of the Dude from The Big Lebowski. I asked the bartender if he could make one. He said he could abide.

— Mark Jones

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