Brooklyn Bowl launches in London
London has a new music venue, and it's come all the way from the other side of the pond.
The Brooklyn Bowl has launched its first UK outlet at The O2 in London with an 800-capacity music venue that features 12 lanes of bowling - three of which are in a private party area with its own bar - and food by the famed Blue Ribbon Restaurants.
While its official opening starts tonight with three nights of performances by the Brooklyn Bowl All-Star Players (a collective of funk and soul musicians from Brooklyn), TMF was lucky enough to be invited about to its launch last night (Jan 16) which coincided with the Brooklyn Nets playing the Atlantic Hawks in the main O2 Arena. Musicians attending on the night included Ellie Goulding and Neon Jungle (below at the event).
As part of its launch, we were invited to try every aspect of the venue and we had every intention of bowling, but once we found the food buffet, we got sidetracked. The venue marks the first time Blue Ribbon has operated outside of the US and we can safely say that we're glad they're here, especially as they've come with their delectable fried chicken and BBQ wings. We're no food critics, but we know what we like, and we liked it a lot. Especially as it was washed down with a Brooklyn Lager, part of the beers on tap range that includes others from the Brooklyn Brewery and the local Meantime Brewing Company. Sources tell us the Rum Punch went down a treat too.
The venue itself is a delight too that really made us forget we were in South East London on a rainy winter night. Spacious but not so big as to ever worry about you losing track of your friends when they pop off to the toilet (which, also, were very sparkly), and intimate enough to make any gig there feel special. The restaurant area sticks to recent convention that American-based food outlets have low lighting and loud music, but when the music comes from the live performers (with screens streaming what's happening in the main area), not talking to your friends is a sacrifice you're willing to make as it creates an all-encompassing party atmosphere.
As for the potential of live music there, the Brooklyn Bowl All-Star Players were on hand to test out the new sound system and it held up admirably, with fittingly heavy bass and sharp acoustics allowing each instrument to not get lost in the mix. Perhaps most impressively, bowling continued throughout their performance and didn't impinge on it in the slightest. People might not have made enough visits to the bar for their first set to fill out the dancefloor - despite some determined move busting from select individuals - but you get the sense that with their richly entertaining Afrobeat funk-soul blend, the collective will be good value for a night out.
Oh, and while we never tested out the lanes personally, the setup gave us the impression that what every other British bowling lane is missing, is a giant mirrorball.
Tickets are on sale now for Brooklyn Bowl's opening weekend, featuring the Brooklyn Bowl All-Star Players and live DJ sets. For more information, visit london.brooklynbowl.com