Sonoma Valley may welcome back a bowling alley before the year’s over.
Adam Kovacs hopes to sign a lease on a 5,000-square-foot space in the Olde Bowl Center behind his fitness club, Sonoma Fit – and has submitted initial plans to the City for a bowling alley, bar and restaurant called Noma Bowl.
It all started with Kovacs’ and his wife Jenny’s observation that “you can’t bowl with a phone in your hand.”
The Kovacs have five kids between them ranging from age 11 to 17 and they all love to bowl.
“All of us have a blast, every single time we go,” said Kovacs. “We want bring a fun activity to Sonoma that will get kids off their phones and give adults a new and different way to get together at night.” and we
Kovacs had longed for the days when Valley residents could bowl “without having to drive to Napa or Rohnert Park.”
Kovacs believes there’s not enough fun things for kids to do in Sonoma.
“It’s all about the wine tasting,” said Kovacs. “And we thought it would be so great to give kids something else to do, right here in town.”
Kovacs expects Noma Bowl to be open in the afternoons and early evenings, as well as all weekend.
“Tourists may show up, but we’re building this for the locals to enjoy,” he said. “We want to offer affordable fun for kids here in town.” He plans for the alley to be open to kids after school and all day on weekends, and that Noma Bowl will transition to a more adult-bar-vibe in the evenings. He also hopes the space will be appealing for birthday parties and corporate events.
Noma Bowl would have four or five lanes, “delicious healthy food and a fun bar,” said Kovacs. He has already signed on a chef, bar manager and some staff.
Kovacs says he wants to launch a bowling alley that will be here for many frames into the future. He is in conversations with Rich and Bruce Wagner, the Seattle-based property management company that has owned the building at 19310 Highway 12 for the past 25 years.
Initial designs have been developed in partnership with the local architecture and design firm, STRATA.
“It’s going to be absolutely beautiful,” said Kovacs. “I can’t wait to share the designs with everyone.”
The Kovacs expect to invest around $1.5 in transforming the current space into a bowling alley and they plan to use local companies to do the work, as they did with Sonoma Fit. Timing-wise, they would like to begin work mid-summer and for Noma Bowl to be open for business by the end of the year.
“This is a big investment for us,” he said. “We need to get the building fixed up and meet any City requirements. We aren’t naïve about the undertaking but we are hoping that because we aren’t making changes to the outside of the building that the process will go smoothly.”
Kovacs has done a good job keeping his plans quiet until now but he has been working hard on the concept for almost six months. He and Jenny are the sole investors in the project.
Next up, Kovacs and STRATA will appear before the City of Sonoma Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, April 27, at which time there will be public comment.