Published on May 9th, 2014 | by Lumy George0
Brooklyn Bowl, O2 Arena
Being honest I was a little surprised upon receiving the invitation to visit Brooklyn Bowl at the O2. Firstly I was oblivious to the fact there were lanes at the O2 and secondly, I couldn’t imagine how a birthday classic activity had been pimped up. With interest and excitement I looked forward to finding out.
Walking into the O2, there wasn’t many signs showing where the Brooklyn Bowl was located, but I figured due to its circular nature, by walking round, I wouldn’t miss it. It was about a 5-10 min walk round to the right and located a few meters after the cinema. As soon as one walks in, it’s clear to see that things here were very different. Straight away it feels almost like a club. Dim lights, bold brash font posters and music fill the senses. To the left is an entrance to the restaurant (more to come on that later), whilst in front, smiling staff full of energy welcome one in. We are shown first to the shoe rack to change into those iconic blue and red, cool as a cucumber bowling shows and then into the main venue and to one of twelve awesome looking lanes.
The atmosphere is simply electric; everything is going on, my eyes wondered from the stage at the far end in front of me, the bar to the left and lanes to the right. The massive yellow beams in the middle that were clearly part of the building but also were dramatic by their presence. People were laughing at the bar, some were on the dance floor having a boogie, others were engrossed in what looked like tight games of bowling and others still looked to just be playing and having fun.
Fortunately for myself, the stage and dance floor were being used that night for a surprise performance by Example. Within no time, the dance floor was filled with over 200 bouncing fans, myself included. After a while, I went back to sit by the lane, and looking around, I completely understood the idea. Brooklyn Bowl managed to combine the common and relatively dated activity of bowling with energy and vibrancy. This started from the music and atmosphere this created, be it with the live performer, or simply on a normal night. It continued with the lighting, quirky bar and bold food.
After bowling, we were taken to a table in Blue Ribbon. The name was one I recognised, but was unsure why. After a conversation with our very friendly hostess, I remembered that Blue Ribbon was a chain of well-established restaurants in New York; in fact, I’d almost had lunch at one of their chains in Manhattan and it quickly dawned on me that we were in for a real treat. The waitress then set about explaining the restaurants signature dish, Fried Chicken. She also talked through the best combination of sauces to give the most mouth-watering and balanced taste. Then just on cue, as if perfectly scripted, a grand bowl of chicken made its way over, accompanied by some fries and a healthy array of condiments.
I tucked straight in, although not before setting up my plate in the advised manor. First I splattered a generous amount of the Blue Ribbon homemade hot sauce onto my plate, then I drizzled thick, runny and golden honey on top. With this final move, I was ready. I took the chicken and worked it through the sauce combo on my plate, before taking a bite. At first I’m hit with the crispy crunch and flavour explosion of the skin, then as the bite goes deeper, the juicy white meat adds a softness. At exactly the same time, the strong bold seasoning is softened by the sweet honey which is followed finally by the warmth of the hot sauce. Wow.
The combination was perfect, it had been well planned to create a sensory tidal wave. Each bite offered something slightly different, with the sweet honey and tangy warm sauce playing differing roles every single time. However, I would say though that after a few pieces of chicken along with the fries, the brashness of the seasoning became a little too strong. Never the less, it simply meant the cold beer I had felt all the more refreshing.
All in all, the Brooklyn Bowl is, in my books, a hit. A great social venue that creates an atmosphere full of energy. You can’t not have fun in a place like this; whether that is music, drinking, dancing or bowling, you won’t be disappointed. With plenty of parking at the O2 and at under £5 per person max with a group of 8, as far as fun nights go in London, there isn’t much to argue about.
Brooklyn Bowl, O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, Greenwich, SE10 0DX