On the Menu: Break Point Pacific Beach can be right up your alley
Break Point Pacific Beach is definitely not your old-timey, dingy bowling alley and eatery filled with the jarring clang of pins crashing down and the reek of sweaty rental shoes, serving up shriveled wieners, Lilliputian-sized hamburgers and soggy, crinkle-cut fries.
Just a lane’s length from the Pacific Ocean at 945 Garnet Ave., the fresh sea air draws you in along with the colorful pennants of the Ohio State Buckeyes and Pittsburgh Steelers prominently displayed at the modern, minimalist entrance of the former Johnny V’s nightclub.
Break Point is owned and operated by Pacific Beach denizens Mike Lee and his wife, Amy. Occupying this location since 1988, Mike Lee, a hospitality kingpin, decided to change direction and in January 2020 dramatically transformed the 10,000-square-foot space into a multi-event lollapalooza offering something for everyone. There is bowling lanes, a sports bar and fresh coastal fare by day; and live music, dancing and clubbing for creatures of the night.
Your brain goes into overload with a bright, white, cozy bar, luxurious, electric blue booths in whimsical hexagonal patterns and warm, woodsy banquette seating alongside a slick, four-lane bowling alley with eye-popping, jewel-toned Brunswick balls. There is also a spacious dance floor and gigantic LED-paneled wall for sports viewing and DJ show enhancements.
Now the creative menu items will make your jaw drop with unforgettable flavors that blend concepts from Mexican, Asian and Hawaiian cuisines along with football fare coming down the field. The eatery recently adopted the Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Club following the closure of Bub’s at the Beach. Break Point was already home to the Ohio State College Football Alumni Club of San Diego.
Let’s get the game started with some fan favorites — garlic shrimp fundito, a cheesy seafood dip paired with crostinis and tortilla chips. There is the ever-popular Mediterranean hummus board tricked out with grilled naan bread, blistered tomatoes, kalamata olives, marinated artichokes and feta chunks. There are also fried cauliflower florets, crispy wings, bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers and fully-loaded nachos or fries with a plant-based option.
Want to visit?
Break Point Pacific Beach
Address: 945 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
Hours: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Bowling: Reservations can be made up to three weeks in advance on the website. Same day reservations not accepted to accommodate walk-ins.
Bowling prices: Lanes discounted Mondays through Thursdays, at $35 per lane per hour. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays — after 3 p.m. it is $55 per lane per hour. Before 3 p.m. weekends it is $35 per lane per hour. Maximum six people per lane.
Shoes rental: $5
Good to know: Upcoming events are posted on its Instagram page.
Or jump right into an assortment of authentic Mexican staples, including a choice of carne asada or jackfruit street tacos, or white fish tacos dressed with a cloud of avocado mousse, house slaw and drizzle of Baja white sauce to please a discriminating piscivore’s palate.
There’s more. On the lighter side try some Italian-style, cheesy flatbreads topped with barbecue chicken or house-made pesto sauce. You may also like a modified Greek or Cobb salad and sassy bowls, such as, tuna poke, teriyaki chicken or beef or house-made chili.
For a double dose of carbs and hefty portion of protein, the burgers and sandwiches fill the bill like the blackened ahi on sourdough. Or try the newly recruited “Roethlisburger” that immortalizes the legendary Steelers’ quarterback in two quarter-pound Angus beef patties topped with candied bacon, onion rings, a fried egg, American cheese, roasted jalapenos, barbecue sauce and garlic aioli huddled within a potato bun.
To make a “Big Ben” simply add another quarter-pound patty to the line-up. Another rookie, “The Pittsburger,” offers a half-pound patty dressed with garlic aioli, coleslaw, provolone, French fries tossed in house-made cheese sauce and served on a toasted sourdough.
All burgers and sandwiches are paired with a side of Cajun-spiced, house-cut Kennebec fries. Stay tuned for more sports-themed items to come.
Brunch is currently served until 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, soon to be modified as NFL season kicks off. The menu is a mix of rebooted classics and Mexican favorites, along with some original creations, such as, banana-macadamia pancakes, chilaquiles (tossing tortilla chips in house-made chili verde with scrambled eggs, lime crema, tomatoes, red onions and cilantro), carnitas benny dripping in homemade hollandaise and loco moco, which layers a Hawaiian beef patty with fried egg and fried rice, drizzled with beef gravy.
It all washes down nicely with $15 bottles of house champagne.
“We make our simple syrups in-house, as well as the blueberry syrup, aiolis, salsas, sauces, and sriracha hollandaise, and source our produce locally,” Amy Lee said.
Finally, a vibrant and eclectic drink menu elevates the cocktail culture of the laid-back, beachy neighborhood with 16 drafts on tap; a nice selection of white, red, sparkling and rose wines; and a slew of creative, specialty cocktails. Up to the lips and over the gums with the Lucky Strike (Grey Goose, blueberry syrup, lemon, soda water and basil), Smokey Robinson (Illegal Mezcal, chocolate bitters and orange), savory and sassy margaritas, and the invigorating Watermelon Splash (recipe below). Happy hour offers $5 well drinks, $2 off draft pints and $5 house-brand wines, in addition to discounts on all appetizers throughout the week from 4 to 7 p.m.
Break Point Pacific Beach is more than just a fun and whimsical place for keglers, rock ‘n rollers, dancers, diners and football fans to hang out. The eatery hosts charity bowling and weekly beer pong tournaments, electric dance music shows, corporate and motivational events, and adult game competitions varying from giant Jenga to Cards against Humanity.
It also provides a hub for families and locals to create lasting memories, and seasonal tourists to experience a slice of the San Diego lifestyle.
According to Amy Lee, “We’re not really a bowling alley first, that’s just a side entertainment; rather we’re one of the last mom and pop nightclubs in the area with family-friendly food and fun until 8 p.m. every day. We are a welcoming, energizing eatery in a community where we have lived for decades and have raised our children.”
So, if you have time to spare, get out of the gutter and head to Break Point!
Recipe from Break Point Pacific Beach
2 oz. Watermelon Basil Grey Goose Essences
1/4-oz. watermelon puree
1/4-oz. lime juice
3 fresh basil leaves, torn
• Shake ingredients together in a tumbler with crushed ice.
• Pour into a stemless wine glass and garnish with lime slice and basil leaves, topped with choice of soda water or 7UP.
Courtesy of Break Point Pacific Beach