It was L’s birthday… And you don’t turn 21 everyday (or every year for the last 12 or so)! A had to make it special, but L is notorious for offering no guidance. Every inquiry about the planning of festivities was met with a constant “I don’t know…” However, just a couple of days shy of the big day, L made his request… Bowling! Possessing a strong hatred of the game, A was less than enthused about this directive. Thankfully, Brooklyn can give anyone a hip makeover… even the lamest (Sorry guys!) game on the planet.
2+2 and the rest of the crew met at the Brooklyn Bowl on a bustling, spring Friday night in Williamsburg. The Bowl is an all encompassing, evening and late night, destination for fun. A good night is in store for everyone, including those who have no interest in rolling a gigantic ball down a lane and wearing those tragic shoes. Several solutions are offered, including copious amounts of alcohol, good eats, atmosphere, and live music… oh yeah, and a bowling alley.
The group was instructed to meet at the Bowl at 8pm. We’ve heard that the place gets jammed on the weekend so we wanted to start out pretty early. Offering nightly live music, we bought our (mandatory) tickets online beforehand so we could sail past the line… which was an awesome move. The line was giant sized and we hear it’s common for the venue to sell out with patrons being turned away. We decided to bypass booking birthday reservations for dinner at another restaurant and went with dining at Brooklyn Bowl’s loungy, bar/cafe by Blue Ribbon instead. Birthday dinners can always be such a pain to plan, with the list of attendees constantly fluctuating, so a one stop shop for drinks, food and a good time is perfect for groups. Excepting no reservations on the weekend, we decided to put our name down on the list as soon as we entered. In the interim, we headed to the bar to officially start the night.
The venue was mobbed with people, the band was blaring and the drinks flowing (when you could grab the bartender’s attention). 2+2 quickly realized that this place was awesome! It was chill, happening and the thumping music masked the sound of the bowling pins being knocked down. We totally forgot that we were even in a bowling alley! After a call to our cell roughly an hour after we put our names down, we headed to the eatery to chow down. Normally, we would be impressed if any bowling alley offered food that was better than edible… but delicious!? A total shocker! We ate… a lot. Sadly (that was A being sarcastic), the wait for bowling was ridiculously long, so after stuffing our faces, we decided to head out for a change of scenery, but definitely with the intention of returning one day soon.
Just around the corner, we met up with a second round of friends for a cocktail at Whiskey Brooklyn. To us, a bar that focuses on whiskey invokes such a serious connotation; one in which the clientele like to drink specialty whiskey straight up… the type of stuff that puts hair on your chest. A dark, dank, serious place. Ok, Whiskey Brooklyn was NOT that. It was fun loving and goofy and full of hipsters either dancing erratically to 80s jams or playing video games. A laughing crowd just letting loose. Hey, we like to let loose! We aren’t serious or dark, but we love whiskey! Our preconceived notions weren’t fair. A+K sipped mini bottles of Champagne and almost everyone else had beer, with not a single whiskey ordered. It just felt like a beer place… it goes so well with old school rap and Beastie Boys. It was a great end to the night. Unpretentious. Silly. Relaxed. We headed home statisfied with a night of good, old fashioned fun.
Activity, Cocktails and Dinner- 2+2+3www.BrooklynBowl.com American, Beer/Cocktails, Brooklyn
Most of us can recall as a child going bowling with the family on weekends. The shoe exchange, picking that perfect ball, hot dogs, video games, and early 80s soft rock in the background. Those were the days… Over the past few years many traditional bowling alleys have either closed or reinvented themselves to cater to the younger generation that require a little more stimulation. Disco balls, dance music, glow in the dark pins and balls, upgraded food options, fully stocked bars, waitress service, and flat screen TVs are now more the norm.
Brooklyn Bowl is another iteration of this new Bowling experience. Housed in a former factory (former Hecia Iron Works) on the Brooklyn side of the East River, Brooklyn Bowl is way more than a bowling alley. In fact, we are sure that they may even take offense to calling it just a bowling alley. The space is more like a music venue that has a few bowling lanes, a great bar, and some of the best comfort food around. It’s exactly what you think a bowling alley in hipster Brooklyn would look like (see the photos).
The 16 bowling lanes are open 7 days a week from 6am on weekdays or noon on weekends, until the wee hours of the morning. Though bowling is typically a cheap way to kill a few hours, here it will cost a hefty $25 per lane per half hour on weekends, $20 on weekdays, and $4 for shoes. The good news is that you can split each lane by up to 8 people. Take our word for it; go early and get your name on the list if you want to bowl. The lanes fill up quick and the waiting list fills up even quicker. We waited 3-hours for a lane and wound up leaving just as one opened up for us. Our timing was impeccable. As an extra bit of advice, buy an advance ticket for whatever act is performing that night. You can skip the 20 minute line outside and go right in. You have to pay the cover no matter what, so a little forethought will go a long way.
Surrounding the lanes you can relax on large leather sofas; they looked very comfy. No need to keep running to the bar, because along with your high priced lane comes wait-service to bring whatever food or beverage you require. You can even watch the stage performances on one of the many high definition projection-screens over the bowling lanes.
Got the munchies? Brooklyn Bowl has an awesome comfort food restaurant by Blue Ribbon Restaurants. You may remember this name from other famous NYC eateries such as Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Downing Street Bar, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, Blue Ribbon Bakery Market, Blue Ribbon Brasserie and Blue Ribbon Sushi. We were with a group during our visit and had the chance to sample most of the menu. Our favorites were the mac and cheese, as well as the flatbread. And of course, a trip to the Bowl wouldn’t be complete without a few pieces of their famous fried chicken (a personal favorite). Wash it all down with a few of Brooklyn’s finest beers (they serve beers from Six Points, Brooklyn Brewery and Coney Island) or a Bourbon St. Shake (that comes with Nutella and a shot of Bourbon) and you my friend, are ready for the real party!
Seven days a week the Bowl is home to a variety of live acts spanning almost every music genre. With standing room for 600, Brooklyn Bowl has that intimate feel while still being able to attract larger acts. Snoop Dogg even performed here last year. The best night to go may be Thursday, when Quest Love of the Roots kills it with sets of hip-hop, house, 80s and much more. We hear the dance floor gets rockin’. So put your best dancing shoes or bowling shoes or drinking hat or whatever and get to the Bowl.
- Strawberry Margaritas (A+K)
- Grey Goose on the Rocks (A)
- Six Points Beer and Brooklyn Stout (L)
- Brooklyn Pale Ale (M)
- Greek Salad with Plum Tomatoes, Feta Cheese and Cucumber (A+Group)
- Theresa Flatbread with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic (A+Group)
- Baked Mac and Cheese with Breadcrumbs (A+K+M)
- Organic Mixed Greens (K+M)
- Fried Chicken Platter (L)
A: I hate bowling and I love this place. I had a great time, was thoroughly impressed with the food and love the line up of alt rock bands that take the stage. It’s more like a concert hall with tasty eats than anything else.
K: Totally not what one would expect from a “bowling alley”. What a super fun ambiance! Hey, I’d go back… even if I have to wear devastatingly horrific shoes and launch gigantic marble spheres across a room.
L: Ok, so I didn’t get to bowl. I am sure A+K were very happy about that, but I am coming back soon to get my bowl on. Other than that, the place is sweet. The food was fantastic and washed down nicely by all the great Brooklyn beers that were on tap. Good thing we got there early and pre-purchased tickets. The wait outside was crazy.
M: GET THERE EARLY!!! Live music, bowling and some good food… what else could someone ask for?Oh yeah, some good local beer! This place has it all. Although I didn’t bowl, I still had a great time. But really listen to me when I tell you, either get there really early or plan to wait a very long time to bowl. Not that the wait isn’t worth it, but if you have other plans to be somewhere else, then don’t plan on coming in, getting a lane, and leaving in two hours. It will not happen. If you really want to bowl, then make this the one place you are going to be for the whole night. Also, don’t forget to buy the tickets for the show online so you can walk right in.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- A new Brooklyn staple! Underground concert venue plus so much more!
- Food/Drinks- 3.5: Pleasantly stellar!
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity included
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood- Centrally located
- Return Rate- Green light!
Cocktails- 2+2+7www.WhiskeyBrooklyn.com Beer/Cocktails, Brookyn
This place was recommended by one of our friends for its whiskey, so we decided to give it a shot. We headed down the stairs into a dimly lit room, complete with a huge, centrally located square bar and booths all around. A small dance floor with a DJ booth sits to your right as you walk in. Somehow this bar has found a way to mix all of BK into one place, and it works! A sure-fire, fun time with friends.
Before reaching the bathroom there is a game room from college past and future: Foosball, Buck Hunter, Basketball, a Photo Booth, Mortal Combat… it just keeps going. You may forget you were trying to even get to the bathroom! Even with all of those games, back by the bar there still lies free shuffleboard, and of course, the Mega-touch at the bar. There is all sorts of stimulation at this place!
The service was pretty good. The waitresses were very friendly and somehow managed to handle the crowd, including many a rowdy table! They have a couple of signature drinks here that everyone goes crazy for: The Pickle Back (shot of Tom Lawless, shot of pickle juice) and the Spicy Back (shot of Tom Lawless, shot of SPICY pickle juice). Both are apparently better than they sound, even if you are not a pickle lover.
We found a spot by the back corner of the bar (right next to the Mega-Touch) and ordered our drinks. They have plenty of small bottles of sparkling wine, which A+K didn’t waste any time getting their lips on. The beer choices are very simple- light or dark. And most importantly, the bartender is always there to ask if we wanted more! Although we came here for the whiskey, ironically none of us ended up having any. Good drinks, cool music, and a great vibe.
What we drank…
- Mini Bottles of Chandon Champagne (A+K)
- Beer- Dark (L)
- Beer – Light (M)
A: This place is nothing fancy, but that’s what makes it so much fun. The DJ played great sing along song, the guys headed straight to the video games and they have mini bottles of prosecco (which may be all it really takes to win my heart).
K: This is definitely a fun-for-groups kind of place. It’s lively and vibrant. Lots going on all around!
L: Great place for a few drinks, talking loud and acting like a fool! Kind of like a college bar with an older crowd. Everyone was having such a great time. Not so sure about the ‘whiskey’ bar part though. All I saw were the standards.
M: Foosball + Buck Hunter + Mega-touch = Need more quarters next time I come back.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Your dream gameroom… DJ, beer, videogames, friends, laughs and debauchery
- Drinks- 3: Pleasantly surprised
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity included
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood- Centrally located
- Return Rate- Green light