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Bowling alley bets on the Bklyn side

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Brooklyn Bowl, the Northside bowling alley that triples as a music venue and restaurant will open in one to three weeks, one of its owners announced at Tuesday’s Community Board 1 meeting.

Originally, owners expected to open the 16−lane alley (161 Wythe Avenue) in late 2008. But the process was slowed by complications presented by city bureaucracy, along with a drawn−out construction calendar associated with converting the 130−year−old former iron foundry into a green−design LEED−certified building.

Charley Ryan, one of Brooklyn Bowl’s owners, said he expects to open as soon as he gets a Certificate of Occupancy from the city.

Once he gets the certificate, Ryan expects the 20,000−square−foot space to be heavily occupied, with a diverse range of customers drawn to a range of attractions.

At the end of each pair of lanes will be a massive, high−definition television screen. Combined with the plush leather couches that take the place of plastic chairs, Brooklyn Bowl is as good a place to catch a game as it is to bowl one.

(An hour at a lane costs $40 on weeknights, and perhaps $50−$60 on weekends, Ryan said.)

Ryan described the atmosphere for bowlers as similar to a VIP room.

“It’s kind of an interesting inversion. It defies the image of bowlers as these ratty people,” he said.

The 600−person capacity performance space is another interesting juxtaposition, given the general preconception of bowling alleys that play tired ‘80s music (or worse). Ryan’s co−owner, Peter Shapiro, is the former owner of Wetlands, the cutting−edge performance space in TriBeCa that closed in 2001.

Ryan said Shapiro’s contacts will enable Brooklyn Bowl to book some top acts. But he also wants to reach out to local musicians to make the venue “an incubator of a lot of local talent.”

When the performance space is not being used, it will double as a beer hall abutting a long main bar.

Lastly, Brooklyn Bowl includes a restaurant with a menu provided by Blue Ribbon, the chain of New York eateries. Ryan described the menu as “exhaustive” in terms of options, which include Blue Ribbon’s famous fried chicken. As for quality, “We’re out of the category of bowling alley food, or even good bowling alley food,” he said.

Ryan has long been anxious to open the alley, but said the delays have enabled him and Shapiro to improve the floor−plan, which now includes more space for the restaurant than originally envisioned.

“There’s no question that this being delayed has led to a better result. Our layout wasn’t nearly as good as what we’ve come up with. People use the tired phrase ‘feng shui,’ but this place really flows,” he said.

The building’s environmental touches include energy−efficient lighting and air conditioning. The machines used to return balls to bowlers will consume 75 percent less energy than the common product.

Ryan is excited and relieved to be nearing opening night for his bowling alley.

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