Latest Brooklyn Bowl outpost to open its doors in March

Music City will welcome a new venue to its robust live music tapestry in early 2020.

Brooklyn Bowl Nashville, which follows New York’s flagship Brooklyn Bowl and the venue’s award-winning Las Vegas satellite, opens the doors to its 1,200-capacity, 50,000-square-foot space located in the city’s Germantown neighborhood to the public on March 14.

“Nashville, what’s going on down there, it’s evocative in a lot of ways of the spirit of Brooklyn: creative people, creative things,” Peter Shapiro, who co-founded Brooklyn Bowl with longtime business partner Charley Ryan in 2009, tells Pollstar.

Like Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas, which opened in 2014, the new Nashville venue makes some notable departures from the original in Brooklyn’s now-posh Williamsburg neighborhood. Both spinoffs have substantially larger capacities than their 600-cap Brooklyn precursor and both are two-story affairs that offer bowling on both levels. As with the Las Vegas venue, Brooklyn Bowl Nashville was built from scratch, rather than renovating an existing space. (After mulling the idea of Brooklyn Bowl Nashville for the better part of this decade, the team broke ground about a year ago, according to Shapiro, and is currently putting the finishing touches on interior aspects such as sound, lighting, bowling lanes and the kitchen.)

But “it’s important when building these venues” for them to have “similar feel, similar aesthetic” to the original, Shapiro explains, and like it did in Vegas, the Brooklyn Bowl team plans on maintaining the New York location’s vibe, which Shapiro describes as “more about old Brooklyn, old Coney Island funhouse carnival, less Brooklyn today.”

One glance at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville’s initial slate of 32 bookings, shared Tuesday, confirms that the venue will also uphold the Brooklyn Bowl legacy where it matters most.

For one, its opening booking is identical to its Brooklyn and Las Vegas locations: Bowlive featuring Soulive and George Porter Jr. Jam artists have defined Shapiro’s programming since he owned and operated New York’s Wetlands Preserve in the late ’90s, and Brooklyn Bowl Nashville is no different, with shows by Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (April 24), Twiddle (May 1) and The String Cheese Incident (July 22-24) already on the books.

The calendar also features indie-rock staples such as Angel Olsen (April 13) and Car Seat Headrest (June 20), acclaimed country acts like Rayland Baxter (March 21) and Brent Cobb & Them (April 2) and an eclectic smattering of other genres, including electronic (Hippie Sabotage, April 2-3) and reggae (Toots and the Maytals, April 22). It’ll all blare over a sound system by industry leader D&B Audiotechnik.

“In Brooklyn, we definitely are known as the jam band venue,” says Colin Keegan, who began working at Brooklyn Bowl in February 2016 and will serve as talent buyer at the Nashville location. “Coming here, I wanted to explore different markets – that’s why you see, on the lineup, it’s almost genreless. That’s something I definitely wanted to establish out of the gate.”

Keegan will book the venue with support from Kirk Peterson, head of talent at Dayglo Ventures, the parent company that encompasses Brooklyn Bowl and other Shapiro holdings such as the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., and Virginia festival Lockn’.

Among Brooklyn Bowl Nashville’s most noteworthy aspects is who the Dayglo team will be working with. The venue is opening in partnership with Live Nation, and Dayglo is working with Live Nation subsidiary and Bonnaroo co-founder AC Entertainment to book the room.

Shapiro likens himself to a parent and the venue to a child when discussing the partnership.

“To give this child the best foot forward, the right way to do it was in partnership with the big guy on the playground,” he says. “But it’s still the Bowl and the spirit and all of that – we’ll just be able to do what we want to do the best way this way.”

While Brooklyn Bowl Nashville will feature prominent national touring acts – and, as Shapiro and Keegan both tease, major underplays – it’ll also work to showcase local and regional talent, and will offer a one-floor, 600-capacity configuration for smaller acts.

“I really want to connect with the local scene,” Keegan says. “We want it to be Brooklyn Bowl Nashville, a part of Nashville, a part of this community for years to come.”

That’s also why the Brooklyn Bowl team has worked to replicate the Williamsburg model – stacked booking and an unparalleled hang to draw in casual patrons – in Germantown, where Keegan says the mix of bars, new apartment complexes, and minor league baseball stadium First Tennessee Park will likely yield plenty of natural walkups.

Add in the LEED-certified, 19-lane bowling alley, food once again courtesy of Blue Ribbon restaurant group, a selection of craft beers and an outdoor deck overlooking First Tennessee Park’s third base line – Shapiro compares it to the vantage points overlooking Chicago’s Wrigley Field, and excitedly says “you can go to a show and watch a little baseball” — and Brooklyn Bowl Nashville seems poised to take the city by storm as it previously did in Brooklyn and Vegas.

“Nashville’s got these amazing venues,” says Shapiro, “but probably not many brand new ones of this size and scale, with what comes with that: the power and the sound and the lighting and the screens. We’re excited to bring the energy that we’ve done over the last 10 years at the Bowl to Nashville.”

This article originally appeared in Pollstar.