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The Build Out: Phase One at Brooklyn Bowl

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Welcome to The Build Out, a new series where we'll chronicle the construction of major venues, in this case Williamsburg's Brooklyn Bowl. Check in during the coming weeks for the lane installation, stage build out, and details on the Blue Ribbon outpost.

For all you construction porn lovers, welcome to Brooklyn Bowl, the 20,000 square foot space that Peter Shapiro and Charley Ryan are turning into a bowling/eating/drinking/music mega-venue right next to Brooklyn Brewery (and just blocks away from the nabe's first bowling alley The Gutter) out on 12th and Wythe in Williamsburg. Right now the space is incredibly raw, but Ryan and Shapiro say they could be open in as little as ten weeks, depending on how smoothly construction goes. Like the other massive space being built right now, City Winery, this baby has a dizzying number of components, broken down ahead:

The Restaurant: The first space you hit after your coat check and shoe check (bowling remember), is the permanent restaurant space. The kitchen and the menu were both designed by Blue Ribbon's Bromberg brothers. The menu will be "more in the style of the Brasserie or Bakery," says Shapiro, but with one new item, a French bread pizza, to cater to the late night revelers. All of the menu can be ordered in the main restaurant section of the venue (with high top tables and banquettes), out on the lanes, and when there isn't a music performance in progress, at high top tables populating the main general admission's area.

The Bowling: 16 lanes of high tech bowling. Huge projection screens will tower above the lanes (and also above the bar, restaurant, and exit) displaying the performance in progress, previous concerts, or any old music-related media the owners choose to throw up there. Waitresses will be on hand at all times with hand-helds that shoot your orders to the bar or kitchen, and busboys will run out your orders. Instead of the usual bowling seating, here you've got leather old Chesterfield couches and iron coffee tables.

The Music: Brooklyn Bowl's media man Justin Bolognino stresses the point that they won't need to, or necessarily want to, book shows every night due to the bowling and dining component. But when they do, expect special one-off shows from big bands (bands used to filling 5,000 person venues). It won't be a "breeding ground for up and comers." UPDATE: Bolognino doesn't want you to get the wrong idea here. "We will CERTAINLY be booking lots of up-and-coming bands, just won't have a hierarchical system to grow them," he says, contrasting Brooklyn Bowl to the other venues like Mercury Lounge, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Bowery Ballroom, etc.

The Bar: For now at least, all Brooklyn-based brews, and nothing in bottles. We actually saw Shane Welch of Sixpoint on the premises, and there could be a specially made batch of Sixpoint in the future for the BK Bowl team.

The Neighbor Relations: Apparently they are BFFs with Brooklyn Brewery and plan to bring over 'day of' specials from their neighbors. And then there's the case of their rival The Gutter. Bolognino points out they will be completely different venues: "We're focused on fun, service, and care for our customers. They are more of a bar with a bowling component...We like to think of this place as an adult playground, while they cater to a more mid-20's set." (Read, swankier and pricer.) He also notes there is absolutely room for two bowling alleys in one neighborhood since together the two venues only have 24 lanes, a relatively small number compared to full sized operations. We're not sure Gutter would agree.

UPDATE: Bolognino writes in to note there is no contention between his team and the Gutter, he was just pointing out the differences between the venues: "We Love the Gutter!...we met with the Gutter guys nearly two years ago, and we are on very good terms with them."
· The Build Out: The Build Out: A Sneak Peek at City Winery [~E~]
· Blue Ribbon Empire Invades Williamsburg; Set to Open in Brooklyn Bowl [~E~]

Brooklyn Bowl

61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718) 963-3369 Visit Website

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