Bowling Night Too Gay for Orange County Cops


Last month we became intimately aware of some anti-gay goings-on in Orange County when Corona del Mar High School’s principal banned students from producing Rent because of its gay plotlines. (At last, the show will go on.) Now, more outrageous news from the region: A gay bowling night was shut down by police, who allegedly targeted the event at Lucky Strike because of the type of people who were going.

The week before last, the gathering at The Block at Orange was shut down after police told Lucky Strike’s management they could be ticketed or arrested for allowing dancing, live entertainment and outside promotions without a permit.

But the event’s organizers tell a different story. They were targeted by police, they say, because it was a gay event.

“Everyone’s feeling like the gay community is not welcome here,” said Zach Moos, 34, one of the event’s promoters and DJs. Gay night at the bowling alley, Moos points out, was shut down while other nights with live entertainment were left alone.


Police say the weekly event at the bowling alley was too well-attended.

Though there had been no complaints about the event, an officer on patrol in late January took notice of the over-capacity crowd of 500 people and a line snaking outside. It was operating as a de facto nightclub with hired promoters and furniture pushed out of the way to make a dance floor, authorities said.

The crackdown had nothing to do with the gay theme, Orange Police Sgt. Fred Lopez said. “When you’re expecting 30 or 40 people to be in an establishment and there’s 500 people that are drinking that you’re not expecting, then you have to pull officers from another area,” he said. “It’s a safety issue.”

Over the last few weeks, police met several times with the bowling alley’s managers and attorneys and sent them a letter warning that they need a permit for live entertainment, Lopez said, but Lucky Strike Lanes has not secured a permit.


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  • atdleft

    Jeez, why must I always be so embarrassed of where I live?

  • Jon B

    It’s probably time to start fighting these cities judicially. Even if we’re not winning, the police departments will think twice before doing anything that could be construed as anti-LGBT if they know that a law suit is waiting in the wings.

  • Donald

    Some background: I bowl in the Dallas gay bowling league. ( We have all 58 lanes occupied this season so we are talking about 232+ people. We start at 8pm and are finished around 10:30pm. We do not have a DJ rather members bring in their own CDs or hook an iPod up for music. We are not there to dance rather we bowl and use time inbetween frames and games for socialization as time permits.
    I have some questions about this for Zack Moos. Do you have 2 leagues that bowl back-to-back that lends to the 2am issue according to the police? Why are there people dancing rather than bowling? Do the other events at the bowling alley have live DJs and people dancing as well?
    This sounds like the police were correct in this case. I would not expect to go to a bowling alley and find a circuit party (live DJ, people dancing) taking place.

  • Anonymous

    @Donald: Do the other events at the bowling alley have live DJs and people dancing as well?

    “Gay night at the bowling alley…was shut down while other nights with live entertainment were left alone.”

  • rick

    they weren’t bowling. it was a bowling alley. the cops were justified. over capacity is dangerous.

  • Percival

    @rick: As much as I hate Orange PD and, while I wouldn’t be surprised one iota if these allegations of homophobia were true, I think you’re right.

  • Phillipe


    Spin Tuesdays at Lucky Strike really has nothing to do with bowling. It’s essentially a nightclub at a bowling hot spot. While there is bowling, 95% of the patrons are drinking, dancing, and socializing. There’s also a live DJ and Go-Go Boys.

  • George

    Lucky Strike is not your typical bowling alley. They are expensive and have a upscale decor with full bar. They serve nice food and have a strict dress code. It looks more like a Hollywood hot spot than a bowling alley. We have plenty of regular bowling alleys in Orange County. Lucky Strike appeals to people who do not necessarily bowl, many just eat, drink, and socialize. Of course people bowl also, it is just a different atmosphere. They have a door person and many times lines waiting to get in, I have never been there on a gay night. I did not even know there was a gay night until today. It is the same atmosphere when “straight,” as I am hearing about the gay nights.

    Orange County has targeted gay bars and businesses for many years. We used to have 25 gay bars in Garden Grove alone, now there are one or two. This was due to harassment by the police, the bars were pushed out of that city. Orange County is very conservative and not friendly toward gay events.

  • Pragmatist

    @George: I second that. People who aren’t familiar with Lucky Strike are probably misunderstanding the situation. I don’t bowl at all, and yet I’ve been there many times (not on gay nights, as it happens) specifically for drinks and dinner. It’s got an upscale, distinctly clubby vibe, and the management certainly intends to attract a wider customer base than bowlers.

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