ROLLING Stone once hailed the original Brooklyn Bowl in NYC as “one of the most incredible places on earth” so when its sister venue opened up inside the O2, News Shopper was one of the first through the doors.
In isolation, Brooklyn Bar’s individual elements don’t sound too out of the ordinary – there’s a nightclub-cum-dancefloor area, there’s a restauranty bit with booths and there’s a bowling alley – but, for me, it’s the combination which makes it special.
Some combinations, like BLT, work; others, like the spork, don’t. Brooklyn Bowl’s combination does work.
It is scarcely worth noting this, but although it has 12 lanes, Brooklyn Bowl is not your standard bowling alley. Nor is it your standard night club, despite a capacity for 800 people. Nor is it your standard restaurant.
That much is obvious as soon as you walk in and if it wasn’t, the presence of the likes of Ellie Goulding, Cara Cara Delevingne and Kelly Brook milling around opening night yesterday (January 16) forced the point home.
This trendy bar is a destination and with its close proximity to the O2 arena is sure to be a hot spot for all kinds flash, celeb-filled after show parties in the coming years.
The New York venue, which opened in 2009 was named Best Music Venue as well as Best Bowling Alley and Best Brooklyn Venue in Zagat’s for three consecutive years and hosted diverse acts like Snoop, Guns N Roses, Kanye West, Elvis Costello, Adele and Paul Simon, so there’s plenty to pin your hopes on here.
Owner Pete Shapiro said: “When thinking of another city that’s as influential on global culture as New York, there’s only one that immediately stands out and that, of course, is London.
“We’re thrilled to be bringing the Bowl’s unique and multi-pronged vibe to what really is the most important city in the world.”
Inside, it’s a bit old-worldy in a kind of Wild West way with lots of wood and nik naks like a fortune teller statue near the entrance. Whisper it, but as far as I was concerned, the decor was nice but wasn’t exactly the wonderland I was expecting having read the promotional literature.
It’s clear that appearance is only a part of the appeal, though.
A large part is the food, which is provided by highly-regarded Blue Ribbon in it’s first operation outside the US.
If the buffet-style selection of samplers on the opening night is any indication, then Brooklyn Bowl is another great dining option in a venue that is already stuffed with them.
I’ve never tasted a chicken wing quite like the crispy, sweet thing I munched down.
And while everything else may have an NY vibe, the beer’s local, very local, from just down the road at Meantime.
Go to London.brooklynbowl.com