Beloved Bowling Alley Closes For Good Due To Pandemic

A beloved bowling alley in the East Bay is being forced to close its lanes for good. 

The lanes at Cloverleaf Family Bowl in Fremont have been silent since March 15.

Back then, Co-Owner Jim Chambers thought the bowling alley would be closed for just a couple of weeks. Now, after losing money for months with no end in sight, the closure has become permanent.

"I’ve been here 50 years and to see this place finally go, it’s heartbreaking," said Chambers.

Cloverleaf has been open for more than 60 years and hosted generations of birthday parties, dates, group outings and bowling leagues.

Loyal customers stopped by this week to say one last goodbye to the lanes and longtime employees.

"They’re wonderful here. We’re devastated to see them go. They do so much for the community," said Christina Rosada, who regularly makes the drive from San Jose to bowl with her disabled son. "This was a safe place for people to go to."

"This place has been my home for 37 years," said Benita Ritona, who broke down in tears thinking back on her nearly four decades of tending bar at Cloverleaf. "Every employee here was our family. They’re all family. So this is like moving away from home and leaving your home and you’re never going back."

Cloverleaf’s future was in doubt in recent years after the landlord announced plans to turn the space into a housing development. But still, loyal customers expected the bowling alley had a few years left.

Bowling is now gone from the Tri-City area.

"That’s the saddest part, there’s not a bowling center in Fremont, Newark, Union City and Hayward now. No bowls at all," said Chambers.

Rosada hopes that Cloverleaf is able to find a new home in the area.

"Fremont is losing out if they don’t find some way to keep Cloverleaf here."