Brooklyn Bowl arrives at Greenwich's The O2

By Beth Allcock on January 9, 2014 3:27 PM |

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Neon billboards boldly announce the arrival of Brooklyn Bowl at The O2, but step over the timber threshold into a world of warehouse chic and you will discover candy-coloured balls and sneakers are just a small part of this all-American story.

At the helm of the brand's European bowling, restaurant and music venue debut - The O2 will be its first project outside of its New York base - operations director Ray Duhaney relaxes on a striking leather couch surrounding one of the 12 new lanes.

With the first scattering of pins set to take place on January 17, the former director of Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club said the combination of leisure offerings was one of the best things he'd done.

But he admits a secret after striking a confident pose with a tangerine-coloured ball - he's actually "rubbish" when it comes to attempting a strike.

"But I know I am going to have lots of practice, so I am going to get better," he said.

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"It doesn't matter how rubbish you are, at the end of the day, it's about how you roll the ball - anyone can do it."

Brooklyn Bowl's flagship offering in the US - with its 15-lane, live stage attracting the likes of Kanye West and Stateside decor - is all set to be imported to the North Greenwich venue.

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Settled in our bowling booth next to the music platform, Ray said: "Americans do bowling in the way we love football. It's a great pastime and it's part of the American leisure world. I think it's going to work really, really well here.

"We have had so many enquiries for people wanting bowling parties already, and they also know they are going to get amazing live music.

"You will get people who come here for gigs and turn up early and find out they can bowl, or people will bowl and find out Kings Of Leon are playing.

"You're close to the stage you're going to want to dance to it - it's creating a place where people can party."

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Music-lovers of all genres should be entertained by the combination of indie, funk and soul acts set to make an appearance.

State-of-the-art visual and audio will allow bowlers to combine their game with the action on-stage and Blue Ribbon's high-end comfort-food with dishes including ground beef burgers and oyster shooters can be enjoyed on the lanes or at table.

"Some people like to do more than one thing in the space," he said. "People work long hours and they want to do as many things in one space as they can."

Ray said his focus was on forging an informal, relaxed atmosphere with good vibes for visitors of all ages.

For Wharfers, he said he hoped the venue would become a prime after-work socialising spot.

"What we are doing here is bringing a bit of cool to The O2," he said. "We are the first leisure product to happen at The O2 other than the cinema, where you can do something other than eat, drink or listen to music."

■ Brooklyn Bowl opens on January 19, for evenings-only this month - 2am weekday curfew, 4am at weekends.

Go to theo2.co.uk.

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