61 Wythe Avenue
Designer: Tristam Steinberg Design
It’s a restaurant, a rock-and-roll hall, and, last but not least, a bowling alley. After two years of construction, Brooklyn Bowl opened on July 7 in Williamsburg, with 16 lanes and a design that borrows eclectically from the early 20th century. Designer Tristam Steinberg explained that inspiration came from an old bowling alley he visited as a child. “There were no video games, just a phone booth and a beautiful wood bar.”
To give the old warehouse space a patina of age, Steinberg tapped a group of set makers who made new things look old. Existing elements such as the brick walls and wooden beams were exposed and incorporated into the design. The floor is made of wide-plank pine—kiln-dried for strength and durability—while the paint Steinberg chose is in deep shades. “We wanted sensual colors that would go well with the burlesque side show,” he said.
For an added element of authenticity, the designers reproduced a 1905 Coney Island shooting gallery, with rows of targets suspended behind the bar. The bar itself, made of sustainably harvested sapelli—a South American mahogany—features exposed joints and is lit by the warm light of old Edison bulbs. The metalwork was done by Ferra Designs, the same Brooklyn Navy Yard artisans who worked on Dressler, a nearby restaurant.
With a limited budget on hand, the owners and designer worked hard to make the project green and locally sourced. “Our approach was, ‘If we’re going to be in Brooklyn, we should support Brooklyn,’” said Steinberg. The stage is made of recycled truck tires and the lounge floor of reclaimed cork. The 23,000-square-foot space is now awaiting LEED certification.
Boasting a restaurant run by the Bromberg brothers of Blue Ribbon fame, Brooklyn Bowl is targeting a slightly older crowd that will appreciate quality food, draft beer from local breweries, and live music. While the space is designed to feel like a time warp, it does have a high-tech twist: Screens throughout the venue show films, sports, and, during live performances, bring the stage to the bowlers. Still, there’s a refreshing absence of the usual loud video games and neon decorations. Added Steinberg, “We didn’t want distractions, we just wanted to put the focus on socializing, the music, and bowling.”