Brooklyn Bowl is a music venue, bowling alley and restaurant in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. It is known for its high-tech green construction and variety of musical acts. In 2013 Rolling Stone named Brooklyn Bowl the 20th best music club in America.[1]

Brooklyn Bowl
Brooklyn Bowl logo 2013.png
Address61 Wythe Avenue
LocationBrooklyn, New York 11249
Coordinates40°43′19″N 73°57′27″W / 40.72188°N 73.957424°W / 40.72188; -73.957424
OwnerPeter Shapiro
Seating typeStanding
OpenedJuly 7, 2009 (2009-07-07)

History and designEdit

Hecla Iron Works BuildingEdit

Uptown entrance, a reproduction of an old IRT kiosk

The Brooklyn iron foundries of the late 19th and early 20th century were the source of ornamental cast iron manhattan depended on to furnish interior and exteriors of its skyscrapers and building fixtures.[2] Founded in 1876 by Scandinavians Neils Poulson (1843-1911) and Charles Eger (1843-1916), it was named after an active volcano in Iceland, Mount Hekla. By 1889 the works had grown to a large complex taking up most of a city block. Following two fires, Poulson, whom had a background in architecture and engineering, began experimenting with fire-proof design. The replacement building was innovative, combining non-combustible brick, plaster and iron in a single foundry structure built in 1892 and other buildings completed in 1896-97.[3] Throughout the main structure samples are found of the products made at Hecla. Staircases, fire escapes, manhole covers, street gratings, subway kiosks and the cast iron frameworks for elevators came from the Hecla Ironworks factory and were shipped by barge across the river from the Greenpoint Ave piers. The 133 iconic landmarked IRT subway entrances that were built for the opening of the 1904 NYC transit System were fashioned there and assembled in place on location.[4] Street lampposts, fences, balustrades, door facades, security gates and sidewalk clocks were all available by catalog. Many older buildings in NYC still have iron stairways and elevators created by Hecla that are still in use a century later. Until the advent of Terra-Cotta as a prime ornamental building material the industry was competitive with other ironwork factories supplying the trade from Brooklyn, manufacturing all manner of iron works for the building trades. While other landmarks like the Flatiron Building’s clock gained landmark status much earlier in 1966, the façade on the foundry was the reason this factory building was nominated and gained landmark status in 2004. Hecla merged its foundry with a rival firm in 1913, the new firm was named Hecla-Winslow, Poulson gave ownership to a foundation which sold it in 1928 to the Carl H. Schultz Mineral Water company.

In 1989 the upper floors of the four story building were converted into residential space to serve the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.[5] Williamsburg and Greenpoint revitalized in the 90's and aughts with an influx of artists and other live-work craftsmen. This was due to proximity to Manhattan, easy subway access and lower rents compared to the other side of the east river at 14th st, where rising rents and lack of available space had pushed boundaries. The building was designated a New York City landmark on June 8th, 2004 for the Bower–Barff process used on the facade which imparted a black velvety surface to cast iron that did not require painting.[6] By 2005 Williamsburg had evolved a nascent hipster scene and the L-line subway stop at Bedford avenue needed to expand due to increased ridership to the neighborhood. (The nearby L subway line sustained damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and the under river tunnel needed extensive repairs, leading to the subways overnight closure in 2019.) During the early 2000s, the neighborhood became a center for indie rock and electroclash.[7] In 2007 the space was reworked into a music venue and 16 lane Bowling alley which opened in 2009 as the Brooklyn Bowl. [8]

Music and BowlEdit

Peter Shapiro, a former owner of the Tribeca nightclub Wetlands Preserve and Charley Ryan, the venue's General Manager, discovered the vacant iron foundry originally built in 1882 while walking around the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.[9] The pair teamed with fellow founding partners Alex and Arthur Cornfeld for a two-year renovation of the space that they opened as Brooklyn Bowl on July 7, 2009.[10] It immediately became the first bowling alley in the country, and possibly the world, to be LEED certified with its pinspotter machines using 75% less energy than typical pinspotters.[11][12][13]

The concert stage floor was built using recycled truck tires, and is lit entirely by LEDs. Much of the rest of the establishment was constructed using recycled materials, including glass reclaimed from the Brooklyn Navy Yard and custody-controlled wooden floor boards reclaimed from the original ironworks building in which it now stands.[12][13]

In 2010 former President Bill Clinton held a benefit at Brooklyn Bowl for the Clinton Foundation Millennium Network.[14]

Brooklyn Bowl has opened a location in London and another in Las Vegas (2014). The London outlet closed in January 2017 'until further notice' to facilitate building work at the O2 Arena, but it is hoped that the venue will return following the completion of the work in late 2018.[15]

In February 2016, Bill Clinton returned to Brooklyn Bowl to hold a fundraiser for his wife Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Presidency.[16]


Brooklyn Bowl has over two thousand square feet of floor space that includes a sixteen-lane bowling alley, operating alongside the music floor. The 600 capacity music hall has hosted numerous notable acts, including Guns N' Roses, Elvis Costello, The Roots and RJD2.[17][18][19]

The bars serve only draught beers brewed within Brooklyn, and in 2010 it was reported the establishment was the biggest seller of Brooklyn-based beer.[13][20]

The venue also offers a restaurant run by the popular citywide chain, Blue Ribbon, which seats 250 people.[13]


  1. ^ "Brooklyn Bowl in New York". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel (1 September 2011). The Landmarks of New York, Fifth Edition: An Illustrated Record of the City's Historic Buildings. SUNY Press. pp. 367–. ISBN 978-1-4384-3771-2.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Verboten, a New Dance Club in Williamsburg, Opens". New York Times. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "New Club Twins Rock 'N' Bowl".
  10. ^ "Two years after opening, Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg is still a popular fusion of Blue Ribbon food, live music and bowling".
  11. ^ Carlson, Jen. "Brooklyn Bowl Readies For Opening". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  12. ^ a b Danberg-Ficarelli, Meredith. "Brooklyn Bowl is the World's Only LEED Certified Bowling Alley". Inhabitat. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d Clemons, Dante. "Brooklyn Bowl Powered by Wind in New York". Catalyst Strategic Design Review. Archived from the original on 2014-02-28. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  14. ^ Shea, Danny (17 September 2010). "Bill Clinton Shows Up At Brooklyn Bowl". Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2016-02-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ St. John, Colin. "Guns N' Roses @ Brooklyn Bowl 6/6/13". Stereogum. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  18. ^ "Elvis Costello & the Roots announce album release party at Brooklyn Bowl". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  19. ^ Ghorashi, Hannah E. "RJD2 at Brooklyn Bowl". Relix. Archived from the original on 1 March 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  20. ^ "Brooklyn Bowl". Time Out. Retrieved 10 September 2013.