The versatility of Brooklyn Bowlis summed up in its current tagline, displayed on its website: “Whiskey. Chicken. Strikes.” In fact, the venue is so all-encompassing that the tagline could be extended to: “Whiskey. Chicken. Strikes. Music. Pizza. Frozen margaritas. Chesterfield sofas. Good times.”
This is not the kind of bowling alley you remember from your tween years when your mother dropped you off to chuck a ball down a lane just to keep you busy and quiet for an hour. Brooklyn Bowl is both a nightlife and corporate events venue where bowling is just one of the many facets. It’s also an outstanding concert venue with a capacity of up to 1,000 and, it goes without saying, a spacious stage and modern AV equipment, ideal for conferences and award ceremonies.
The food alone is another reason to visit, with an array of delicious platter and “Bottomless Buffet” packages for large groups, which may include such varied foodstuffs as Greek salad, pizza, pulled-pork sliders, and brownies and cupcakes to top it all off. And to help savour flavours, there's a medley of craft beers, wines and cocktails – with names serving as an homage to the venue’s New York roots, such as the Brooklyn Collins and the Wythe Avenue.
After all, the Brooklyn Bowl concept did begin in – you guessed it – Brooklyn, where it forms part of the Williamsburg renaissance, and has gained attention by being named in Rolling Stone’s top nationwide music venues, having hosted such high-profile acts as Guns N’ Roses and The Roots. The London branch has absorbed much the same vibe as its older brother, with food from the Blue Ribbon restaurant group, Brooklyn Lager on tap, and a dedication to hospitality. And all is set within the sprawling and iconic O2 entertainment complex in North Greenwich.
I can wholeheartedly confirm the hospitable nature of the venue from personal experience. Hire Space was kindly invited to the Brooklyn Bowl Olympics, a private event in which 12 leading event agency teams competed head to head in three creative events that perfectly demonstrated the versatility of the space. After we were treated to numerous frozen margaritas and their famous fried chicken, we cheered on our two brave competitors who stepped up for the hot-wing challenge. They donned the very necessary latex gloves and proceeded to gallantly chew their way through a mountainous plate of buffalo chilli wings. The hot-sauce moustaches and tranquilised-by-spice expressions on our volunteers' faces after the event really said it all.
Then, there was the rock karaoke contest, run by the charismatic MC and band that form the Rockaoke hosts. Each team was given a shot at effusing their inner rock star potential, with groups belting out classic tunes from “Don’t Stop Believing” to “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” to…Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”...? The three Hire Space nominees gained applause for their rendition of the Arctic Monkeys’ “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor”, and yet more applause and wolf whistling for their crowd-surfing skills.
Eventually, we won second place following rave reviews from the night’s judges – one of which was the host of ‘90s kids’ TV favourite, Fun House, Pat Sharp (who is notably now sans mullet, in case you were wondering).
But at the heart of it all, Brooklyn Bowl is a bowling venue, and the bowling experience is a unique one, offering colourful mood lighting, table service and comfortable leather sofas for between-turns downtime (and which actually make you want to skip your go and just snuggle into the couches for a little longer instead).
So we’d like to thank the folks at Brooklyn Bowl for their hospitality, for the second-place trophy, and for reintroducing us to Pat Sharp. We highly recommend using the experienced and supremely fun Brooklyn Bowl for your next event – perhaps your Christmas party?
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