Brooklyn's newest bowling alley scores a strike.
Tue Sep 15 2009
Photographs: Lizz Kuehl
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
Brooklyn Bowl, the Williamsburg bowling alley and live music venue from Peter Shapiro (of the defunct music club Wetlands) fully embraces the new mania for Brooklyn-made products and local nostalgia. The block-long warehouse (the venue used to be a 19th-century ironworks foundry) takes its design cues and playful spirit from the Coney Island of the '30s and '40s, with reproductions of old freak-show posters and carnival-game relics, retro "carny cocktails" (including a top-notch Sazerac and the potent Mind Reader, featuring ginger liqueur, rye, honey and lemon) and a barker at the front door enticing arrivals to step on up and try their hand at a lane. All of the beer sold inside—by Sixpoint, Kelso and the next-door Brooklyn Brewery—is made in the borough; available in party-friendly pitchers ($23--$27), the selection shows off just how many great suds are produced east of the river. With a deafening hipster-rock soundtrack—and a stoner food menu from the Blue Ribbon team, which includes crispy pork rinds doused in cilantro and peppers, delicious fatty brisket and big platters of succulent Old Bay--fried chicken—the place self-consciously targets a postgrad demographic. Out-of-borough fogies might be inclined to request a volume adjustment. For the rest of us, though, this is a great place to kill a few hours with a big rowdy group. While a few diner-style booths are up near the front bar, you can just as easily tackle the food and drink laneside between frames: The plush tufted couches are the most luxurious alley seating we've ever seen. Brooklyn Bowl's cooking and cocktails are leagues above the competition (Gutter, we're looking at you). We'd even come here for dinner and drinks and leave the balls on the rack.—TONY