09 29 2012 Pins

Asbury Lanes (Asbury Park, NJ) The Best Years

This story and accompanying photos represent the best of years of the Asbury Lanes bowling & music club from my personal experience from the years 2006 to 2015. No doubt you have your own experience, lore, and opinions about the Asbury Lanes — those are yours, these are mine. This story is a continuation of my story about Asbury Park.

Around 2006 my Monmouth County friends began raving about a club in Asbury Park called Asbury Lanes. It was a bowling alley where bands played on a stage erected in the center of four lanes, it also had a bar, a kick-ass DJ, and a restaurant that served sushi, grilled cheese, and tater tots. And it was a short walk to the beach — what more could you ask for? Coming off the afterglow of the culturally resonant Big Lebowski movie, the nostalgia of a post-mid-century bowling alley, combined with great music, comfort food, and comfort drinks, the Asbury Lanes was like a big hug from 50% of everything I loved.

Photo: Asbury Lanes (9/29/2012). Like most Jersey Shore businesses, the Lanes look the brunt of hurricanes, nor’easters, and rowdy humans. It was not rare to see a missing letter on the wall, a missing part of a sign, or an abandoned U.F.O. on the lawn.
09 29 2012 Asbury Lanes

Repairing the sign (5/12/2012):
05 12 2012 Asbury Lanes

I saw and heard at least 100 bands at the Lanes. Shows performed by The King Khan & BBQ Show, Peelander-Z, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, and Fancy Space People were the most memorable. The King Khan’s shows were so phenomenal and mesmerizing that people would put their phones in their pockets, and dance. This was the era when a crowd would stand still as statues and film concerts with their cell phones. When a band was so good that the phones disappeared, that was a great band.

Aside from these hyper-unique national bands, indie rock bands like Electric Six, Supersuckers, and the Horton Heat, and local favorites like The Obvious and the Ribeye Brothers played memorable shows there. (Visit Setlist.fm for more Asbury Lanes shows).

Aside from music, The Asbury Lanes was home to the first two Asbury Park Comicons, a Big Lebowski festival, a Troma movie festival, D.J. dance contests, Sex Toy Bingo, garage sales, and many art shows curated by Lanes manager Juicy Jenn, who also co-owns the art gallery Parlor Gallery and runs the Wooden Walls mural art project.

The Door, starring the father of Milk & Cheese, Evan Dorkin (9/29/2012). This photo was taken during Asbury Park Comicon 2.
Evan Dorkin at Asbury Park Comic Con 2 09 29 2012

The Bowling Lanes (9/29/2012). A “Dutch angle” or “drunk about to fall” shot.
09 29 2012 Lanes

Pick your shoes (3/3/2012):
03 30 2013 Shoes

Bowling balls (9/29/2012). The Lanes had dozens of balls to choose from, in classic black and a myriad of spacey, swirly candy colors.
09 29 2012 Balls Blue

Disco balls (10/25/2011) are also spacey and colorful, but for floating above the lanes, not rolling down them.
10 25 2011 Disco Balls

The Bowling Pin Art Show (9/28/2008):
09 28 2008 Bowling Pin Art

Jucifer (7/27/2015) was one of the loudest bands I saw at the Lanes (I think Mr. Payday was the loudest band I’ve seen).
07 27 2015 Jucifer at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park 1

The Obvious (10/20/2009) were local favorites back in the late 2000s.
10 20 2009 The Obvious

One of the members of Peelander-Z hiding in the crowd (8/15/2010). Peelander-Z is equal parts Power Rangers, a Japanese game show, and a power-pop-punk rock band.
One of the members of Peelander Z hiding in the audience

Fancy Space People (10/25/2010). Fancy Space People are part psych-rock, glam rock, space rock, and shiny glitter body suits. Not a cult.
10 25 2011 Fancy Space People

The floor plan as I remember it from the 2006-2015 era.

Sadly, Asbury Lanes has been under new ownership and management since 2018. I have not been there since 2015.

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