Nestled in the heart of downtown Nashville is one of Music City’s newest and most unique live entertainment venues: Brooklyn Bowl Nashville.
As the third location of the Brooklyn Bowl franchise, following the opening of locations in New York and Las Vegas, the multi-concept venue is the home to more than just music. In addition to its 1,200 capacity live music space, with top-grade production, Brooklyn Bowl also features 19 bowling lanes with screens displaying the shows happening in real-time. The space also offer patrons multiple bars stocked with local craft beer favorites, a full dining menu from Blue Ribbon Restaurant Group, and a scenic patio overlooking the Nashville Sounds’ First Horizon Park.
“It’s unlike anything else,” Brooklyn Bowl Nashville’s General Manager, Sara Barnett, shares with MusicRow. “We want it to be a destination where you don’t just come for the show and then you leave right after the show is over. We want people to come early, eat, bowl a few games, stay for the show, and then, if they want to hang out and have a few more drinks, they can hang out on the patio. We want them to stay as long as they want and do all the things.”
Originally slated to make its grand opening on March 13, 2020, the venue and its staff has experienced their fair share of ups, downs, and adjustments as they’ve navigated their way through opening during a global pandemic.
Officially opening its doors on June 25, Brooklyn Bowl welcomed Nashville’s own Old Crow Medicine Show for two nights. Since its opening nearly six months ago, the venue has hosted performances from an eclectic range of artists such as Kip Moore, Jon Pardi, Sheryl Crow, Ingrid Andress, Leon Bridges, Moon Taxi, Madison Beer, Waterparks, Rainbow Kitten Surprise and many others. Brooklyn Bowl was also able to partner with this year’s annual AmericanaFest to host some of the conference’s events.
Barnett, a Nashville native who has worked in hospitality since she was 18 years old, has made stops as the general manager at Butchertown Hall and as assistant general manager at ACME Feed & Seed before joining the Brooklyn Bowl team. “This opportunity [with Brooklyn Bowl Nashville] came along and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. How could I not?’ I get to work in a bar, be around live music, and work for this amazing company with owners that truly care about music and people. It’s a dream job, and it really has turned out to be,” she says.
Meanwhile, focused on the live entertainment side of the business, is Brooklyn Bowl’s Talent Buyer & Director of Booking Colin Keegan. He first gained experience as sales manager for the Manhattan Center in New York before joining Brooklyn Bowl’s original location in 2016 as assistant talent buyer. “I grew up in Georgia, so I’m familiar with the south. I’m excited to be back and really excited to bring an A+ music venue here and share in the fun times of all these bands, the good food, and everything else [Brooklyn Bowl offers],” he shares.
“That’s what we’re in this industry for: to share the times with the people that pay money to see this stuff,” he continues. “We’ve been really lucky to work with such incredible artists and be a vessel for these bands to be able to play in front of people who love them after a year and a half [of not being able to play].”
With so many loved and historic venues in Nashville that bring with them their own fan clubs, what sets Brooklyn Bowl apart from the rest?
“The capacity that we’re at is a perfect capacity for the city. It’s between a lot of venues like Marathon and the Ryman, so we fit a nice crowd in the city,” offers Keegan. “We’re coming from New York into Nashville, but we clearly respect and love going to see shows at the Ryman, Marathon, Basement East, Exit/In, and all those places.”
He continues, “We offer something that’s different, though. The bowling aspect is really fun and the sound and lights are great here too. We try to create a space where people will come out, have a lot of fun, feel safe, and see the band that they love. We’re going to continue doing that and hopefully people will start to love us more. We’ll keep going one foot in front of the other.”
With an all-star staff that boasts over 65 years of combined music industry experience, Brooklyn Bowl Nashville has already made quite the impression in Music City, earning a nomination for Best New Concert Venue at the 33rd Annual Pollstar Awards. With such early attention and acclaim, Brooklyn Bowl Nashville is embarking on what’s sure to be a long and happy future in Music City.
“At the original location, they have a lot of regulars. It would be outstanding if we had people that just come to Brooklyn Bowl on Friday nights to hang out,” Barnett says. “Even if they don’t know the band, they know they’re going to have a great time and they’ll buy a ticket just to come for the whole experience.”
“Our goal is to continue to be a place that people love, whether it’s the 10th time they’ve been here or the first,” Keegan sums. “We want to make it a stop that not only fans and artists like to come to but, eventually, people from all over come for a weekend to see a show. My goal is to just keep doing what we’re doing and be happy doing it.”
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