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Brooklyn Bowl open for business

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Get ready to put on your bowling shoes.

Brooklyn Bowl, the new 16-lane alley in Williamsburg, finally opened this week.

In addition to lanes, the highly anticipated space has a 600-capacity performance venue, a full bar with 10 Brooklyn-brewed beers, a kitchen with a menu designed by the chefs of Blue Ribbon and nine high-definition digital video projection screens.

Leading up to their opening, the most significant challenge for owners Charley Ryan and Peter Shapiro when they were creating their bowling alley music venue has been managing and diverting sound.

“If you have a band and people are bowling and the sound is cranked up, honestly you don’t hear the bowling,” said Ryan. “If you think about any bowling alley, the amphitheater is structured back.Ours is wide open.The sound rises up behind the curtain wall up to the rafters and our pin spotters make a lot less noise.”

Ryan’s attention to detail is impressive.He has been planning the performance venue for the past six years, scouring the city for an industrial building with just the right dimensions and location for a professional bowling alley.

He fell in love with the Wythe Avenue location but delays from the city bureaucracy regarding LEED certification and the procurement of a cabaret license complicated the official opening, which was pushed back several times.

That’s all in the past now, as the first echo of bowling balls striking wooden pins at 6:01 p.m., Tuesday, July 7, folding underneath a DJ playlist of MGMT and Vampire Weekend was music to Ryan’s ears.

“Nice spare! Nice spare!” Ryan said, as he moved from lane to lane, shaking hands with the alley’s first bowlers.

Brooklyn Bowl staff have been clearly preparing for the onslaught of crowds expected to fill the facilities in the coming weeks.On Friday, July 10, the social calendar-site Flavorpill is hosting an open party, featuring O’Death, which will play on the stage behind the alley.

With the music venue featuring a custom-designed JBL Vertec system and digital video, the space will no doubt attract some of New York City’s hippest bands culled from Ryan’s rolodex, when he operated the popular Wetlands Preserve in Manhattan.

The bowling lanes themselves, designed by Tristam Steinberg and installed by woodworker Mike Gibb and Rab Ferraroni of Ferra designs are state of the art and, without exaggeration, form the most pleasant bowling experience in New York City.

On opening night, Brooklyn Bowl staff moved quickly and attentively throughout the evening.Bowling shoes arrived promptly in metal baskets, delivered directly to the lanes. A range of colorful balls sized 6 to 16 were available for players and an easy-to-use touch screen keeps track of your score, documenting every triumphant strike and embarrassing gutter ball rolled for everyone to witness.

Park Slope resident Danny Wallace, whose party was the first of the night to try out the lanes, certainly noticed, and praised the staff for their friendliness.

“I think it’s pretty amazing,” said Wallace.“We love the stage even though we don’t know what it’s used for yet.I wonder what this place will look like on the weekend.”

Ryan believes the crowds will materialize, to the extent that he will not be charging covers for future performances.The prices to rent a lane are $40 per hour, at parties up to eight, though happy hour prices are only $30, and shoe rentals are $4 per person.To some, that may seem high in a recession, though Ryan believes the venue is recession proof.

“We wanted to make this place as affordable as we could make it,” said Ryan.“If we were trying to put this together a little bit later, this might not have happened at all.”

Brooklyn Bowl is located at 61 Wythe Avenue and is open on weekdays from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m.For more information, call 718-963-3369 or visit

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