Bowling Over Brooklyn

Peter Shapiro and his partner, Charley Ryan, are well aware how competitive the New York club scene is, having been owner and general manager respectively of the Wetlands Preserve from 1996 until 2001. Now the duo is upping the stakes in the growing Brooklyn live music scene.

While Shapiro has been busy with production projects such as the "U23D" film as well as the Green Apple Festival and the Jammy Awards since Wetlands closed, he still kept an eye out for what could be that next great venue. He found it about two years ago.

"I was excited about getting back into it but we wanted to find the right space," Shapiro told Pollstar. "One day, I walked into this amazing warehouse in Williamsburg that dates back to the 1880s when it was an ironworks factory. We said, ‘Holy cow’ and contacted the landlord immediately."

The duo’s latest project, the 20,000-square-foot Brooklyn Bowl, will house a 16-lane bowling alley, 600-seat concert venue and a Blue Ribbon restaurant chain outlet once conversion work is completed, possibly by year’s end.

"A lot of people have done great jobs with music venues in New York. You can go where there’s great sound, watch a show and have a great time," Shapiro said. "We knew we wanted to do something a little different than a traditional music venue and we found the right space."

Among the perks at the facility will be a bowlers lounge overlooking the concert venue, and eight 6- by 9-foot, high-definition projection screens positioned at the end of every other lane where robotic cameras will show live images. Acts will decide whether bowling will be allowed during a concert.

"We think we will be an ideal room for bands to ‘play down.’" Shapiro explained. "What a great thing to offer your fan club or for a special event … your own bowling lane while you’re watching a megaband play.

"Another thing that will be unique is that after a show, most traditional venues will say, ‘Thanks for coming and we’ll see you next time.’ At Brooklyn Bowl … we will be the after-party for our own shows as well as shows at other venues."

And Brooklyn Bowl also has another distinction in that it is being designed as a green building under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification program, an area with which Shapiro and Ryan are well acquainted.

Shapiro said part of that goal includes serving locally purchased beer on tap instead of bottled beer and a new type of machine for the bowling lanes that can cut down energy use by 75 percent.

Mia Sladyk, formerly with Bowery Presents, will handle booking duties, which Shapiro said will be an eclectic mix of entertainment, including vaudeville. Family events with children’s acts such as Baby Loves Disco are also being discussed.

"We have a long-term lease so we’re confident that if we build it right, the shows will come," Shapiro said. "We’re hopeful – and this is key – that this will also be fun for the bands and crew.

"If you’re a guitar tech or tour manager, you can bowl a frame or two and eat some of the best food in New York."