Combining a restaurant, bowling alley and music venue all in the same room sounds like an odd concept, and it is. Rolling Stone recently named it the 20th best club in America, but you can take that as a good or a bad thing (what’s up, RS, never heard of Death By Audio?)!
Brooklyn Bowl is located 61 Wythe Ave (between North 11th and 12th) in Williamsburg, so head onto the L train yet again to Bedford and walk a few blocks or you could also attempt to take the G to Nassau.
Upon entering the venue, the restaurant part is straight ahead, so make a beeline if you’re hungry. The food on offer is decent enough (courtesy of Blue Ribbon.) I’d recommend the french bread pizzas. You could easily split one, but I’m a pig, so it’s also fine to go solo.
As for beer, the venue offers ten locally sourced beers all on tap (mostly from Brooklyn Brewery, which happens to be right around the corner.) There are no bottles or cans. That’s right, no bottles or cans, just sweet nectar experienced in the best possible way (though at the time of writing, Brooklyn Brewery’s Winter Ale isn’t in season yet, hurry up!).
I’m also down with their efforts to make the venue a “green” one; electricity is supplied from wind power, the stage floor is made from recycled tires, etc. Anyway, tree huggers can check out their list of commitments here, whilst science-denying weirdos can cool their rage under four “big ass fans”, which are effective even under the strain of a sold out show, impressive.
There are 16 bowling lanes. You pay by the half-hour, which seems a weird way to cost things out (I don’t know if that’s the norm here, I’m used to paying per game, but I guess it encourages people to hurry up.).
The toilets are located upstairs, and are fairly standard and dull, but everything is clean and works, so pros and cons… I guess they have to make a bit more of an effort on the hygiene side of things because of the restaurant.
Oh yeah, they have bands here too… the sound is actually pretty good, although I would be worried about seeing a solo/acoustic/”intimate” set since they would be competing with the sound of people bowling. The curious thing about that is you have to buy a ticket for the show to get in if there is one going on, so I’m not entirely sure why anyone would bowl and not see who is playing, but hey… what I’m trying to say is, people are strange. Capacity is 600, which seems low considering the building has over 2,000 square ft of space, but works out well for the amount of room allocated for the band area. Even sold out shows seem to have a more roomy feel. The stage is wide and there are no obstacles to block your view.
After a show you suddenly find yourself on a dance floor as soon as the band leaves the stage. I don’t really do the flailing arms and legs kind of thing people call dancing, but hang around if that’s what you enjoy.
This place shouldn’t really work at all, everything is way too clean and nice for my usual tastes, and the bowling aspect could potentially be a distraction, but I can’t help but like it: the sound is good and so is the beer, so I’m on board.
Check out our listings for upcoming events at Brooklyn Bowl.