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Come for the beer and food, stay for the bowling

Mason Ale Works already at work on a second brew house

Artist's rendering of the planned Urge Gastropub & Common House, due in 2017
Artist's rendering of the planned Urge Gastropub & Common House, due in 2017

The team behind Rancho Bernardo's Urge Gastropub is getting their bowling alley after all.

The Reader first announced the plan to turn a Vista fitness center into a combined brewpub and bowling alley two years ago. Due to leasing issues, Urge partners Nate Higson, Zak Higson, and Grant Tondro gave up on that location in 2015 and turned their attention to a property in South Oceanside. That's where they launched a second Urge restaurant earlier this year, complete with an in-house, ten-barrel brewery, Mason Ale Works. But no bowling alley.

Place

URGE American Gastropub

16761 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego

"We chased that dream for two years, then everything fell apart at the end," recalls Tondro. However, he adds, in almost no time at all, someone else picked up the thread. "This developer came out of nowhere and said, 'We love this idea, how can we do this in my development in San Marcos?'"

That would be North City, the ambitious mixed-use development being built on 200 acres adjacent to the campus of Cal State San Marcos. Tondro and the Higsons have been quietly planning the project for a year and a half and construction is underway.

The 21,000-square-foot Urge Gastropub & Common House will feature a restaurant, brewery, and eight-lane bowling alley. Plans include decorative nods to '90s cult comedy The Big Lebowski, including a bowling-alley bar that will serve 15 variations on the Dude's favorite drink, the white Russian. The lanes themselves will be stained to resemble dark walnut rather than the standard light ash, and the balls will be colored to resemble numbered billiard balls — both solids and stripes.

While the Brunswick-built lanes will be tournament-certified, Tondro doesn't expect hardcore bowlers to be the alley's primary customer base. "There's already a bowling alley in San Marcos, AMF Eagle Lanes," he points out. "The way we look at it, we're going for two very different customers." Visitors to Urge, for example, will be food and beer fans wishing to add bowling to their itinerary.

The brewhouse in San Marcos will also carry the Mason Ale Works name, though it will feature a larger, 15-barrel system and increased fermentation capacity.

Speaking from the Oceanside brewpub, Tondro explains, "That will become our production brewery, and this place will do the R&D, one-off stuff. So, if we have something that's just a home run here, we can scale it up and brew it on that system."

Head brewer Mike Rodriguez will remain in Oceanside producing R&D beers, and Mason will hire a new director of brewing operations to oversee the new production facility. Once that brewery is up and running, Tondro anticipates increased distribution, including the release of core beers in cans and barrel-aged beers in bottles — potentially under the name Mason Snail Works.

Urge Gastropub & Common House is expected to open in March 2017.

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Artist's rendering of the planned Urge Gastropub & Common House, due in 2017
Artist's rendering of the planned Urge Gastropub & Common House, due in 2017

The team behind Rancho Bernardo's Urge Gastropub is getting their bowling alley after all.

The Reader first announced the plan to turn a Vista fitness center into a combined brewpub and bowling alley two years ago. Due to leasing issues, Urge partners Nate Higson, Zak Higson, and Grant Tondro gave up on that location in 2015 and turned their attention to a property in South Oceanside. That's where they launched a second Urge restaurant earlier this year, complete with an in-house, ten-barrel brewery, Mason Ale Works. But no bowling alley.

Place

URGE American Gastropub

16761 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego

"We chased that dream for two years, then everything fell apart at the end," recalls Tondro. However, he adds, in almost no time at all, someone else picked up the thread. "This developer came out of nowhere and said, 'We love this idea, how can we do this in my development in San Marcos?'"

That would be North City, the ambitious mixed-use development being built on 200 acres adjacent to the campus of Cal State San Marcos. Tondro and the Higsons have been quietly planning the project for a year and a half and construction is underway.

The 21,000-square-foot Urge Gastropub & Common House will feature a restaurant, brewery, and eight-lane bowling alley. Plans include decorative nods to '90s cult comedy The Big Lebowski, including a bowling-alley bar that will serve 15 variations on the Dude's favorite drink, the white Russian. The lanes themselves will be stained to resemble dark walnut rather than the standard light ash, and the balls will be colored to resemble numbered billiard balls — both solids and stripes.

While the Brunswick-built lanes will be tournament-certified, Tondro doesn't expect hardcore bowlers to be the alley's primary customer base. "There's already a bowling alley in San Marcos, AMF Eagle Lanes," he points out. "The way we look at it, we're going for two very different customers." Visitors to Urge, for example, will be food and beer fans wishing to add bowling to their itinerary.

The brewhouse in San Marcos will also carry the Mason Ale Works name, though it will feature a larger, 15-barrel system and increased fermentation capacity.

Speaking from the Oceanside brewpub, Tondro explains, "That will become our production brewery, and this place will do the R&D, one-off stuff. So, if we have something that's just a home run here, we can scale it up and brew it on that system."

Head brewer Mike Rodriguez will remain in Oceanside producing R&D beers, and Mason will hire a new director of brewing operations to oversee the new production facility. Once that brewery is up and running, Tondro anticipates increased distribution, including the release of core beers in cans and barrel-aged beers in bottles — potentially under the name Mason Snail Works.

Urge Gastropub & Common House is expected to open in March 2017.

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great news to hear!

Sept. 2, 2016

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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