Where else on this planet can you eat a heaping plate of soul food, slip on some bowling shoes, hit a few pins and watch great performers, such as Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction wail through the band’s 1988 album, “Nothing’s Shocking?”
Turns out Brooklyn, London and now, Las Vegas.
Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas recently opened at The Linq, an entertainment district nestled between the Flamingo and The Quad. Early shows included top-tier acts, such as a collaboration between Elvis Costello and The Roots.
Las Vegas is the largest of the three locations, the first Brooklyn Bowl in New York opening in 2009. Las Vegas’ cousin on the other side of the pond, in London, opened a few months before the Strip venue. At 80,000-square feet, Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas is the size of the Brooklyn and London venues combined. A fourth Brooklyn Bowl in Chicago is being considered, Brooklyn Bowl partner Peter Shapiro said.
“It’s a similar feel — the couches, the floor, the walls, the artwork, the bowling check-in,” he said of the Las Vegas venue. “A lot of it is modeled after New York pretty closely.”
Shapiro described the Las Vegas venue as mimicking the original Brooklyn Bowl, housed in an old warehouse from the 1880s. The decor uses plenty of distressed wood, brick and wide-planked floors. Carnival-like paintings and figurines give the venue a soulful-feel.
“That’s a look that will stay with us,” he said.
Brooklyn Bowl, of course, isn’t the only game in town when it comes to music venues. Comparable venues include the long-standing The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, and its sister venue, Vinyl, which offers concert-goers a chance to get up close with the performers. The Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea and Boulevard Pool also have up-and-coming and alternative acts come through, featuring not only the mini-residency of Bruno Mars, but also performances by such artists as Lorde and Lana Del Rey. The Axis at Planet Hollywood is home to Britney Spears‘ two-year residency and will also host boy bands New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys.
“It’s been awesome,” Shapiro said of the first shows. “To see the response from people and fans has been almost overwhelming. People have responded with an almost emotional reaction.”
A bowling alley to the left of the stage allows those with tickets to the show to hit the pins on 32 lanes. Also inside Brooklyn Bowl is a restaurant where you can dine without having to buy a ticket for that night’s show — at least most shows. You can hear the music just as well — even singing along to your favorite tunes — and if you’re seated in the rights spot, you can even see some of the performance.
“Maybe we’ll have Jane’s Addiction sold out and we’ll say the whole venue is ticketed,” Shapiro said. “Most nights, what’s typical is you can go in for free (to the restaurant) and eat and drink. … Some of it we’re still figuring out.”
Shapiro said bands are chosen who have a roots rock and rock ‘n’ roll feel.
“That’s the special sauce,” he said. “There is no rule. You feel it out, you vibe it and make it. We’re definitely trying to be eclectic.
“You don’t always know when you build a venue how it’s going to turn out in real life. I can say I’m really happy the way it turned out — it surpassed what I was expecting, and I was expecting pretty good.”
Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday – Thursday and 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday.