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New bowling alley — yes, a bowling alley — opens in G’Point

for The Brooklyn Paper
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There’s a new old game in town: bowling.

The owners of Barcade last week opened the borough’s first bowling alley (yes, a bowling alley) in 50 years. How are the new lanes doing so far? Well, for now, a sign above the shoe counter reads, “Please be patient while we learn how to run a bowling alley. The Management.”

“The management” in this case is co-owners Jon Miller and Paul Kermizian, best known for the arcade-game filled Union Avenue bar they opened seven years ago.

But still, Miller and Kermizian’s newest venture, The Gutter, could put them in a gutter of their own. It’s one thing to bring back retro video games like Miss Pac Man and Qwest, but now the pair is going where no (business)man has gone for decades.

And bowling has certainly declined since its “Laverne and Shirley” heyday. Then again, Laverne and Shirley never tossed back Long Island Iced Teas while they threw from the Jersey side.

“There really wasn’t anything like this in the area, and bowling is a lot of fun,” Miller said. “It’s a sport that can either be competitive or not competitive, and it goes well with drinks.”

The Gutter is new, but the vibe is old. There are vintage bowling ball bags for sale over the shoe counter, memorabilia plastered across the walls, old lamps and formica throughout, and late-’70s TVs with rabbit ears. The scoring machines, the Model T’s of the computerized world, display totals in four-bit glow.

But this is still Williamsburg, so the bar overlooks the lanes — and there are only eight.

“It’s really more of a bar with a bowling alley than a bowling alley with a bar,” said Matt, the bartender who mixed us a frothy Caucasian (with Vanilla Stoli and a cherry) and let us sample a Southampton Secret Ale and the Six Points Sweet Action from the abundant microbrew tap selection (pitchers available!).

We were able to get on a lane for four free games without anyone asking us to leave, so we felt satisfied, though we thought perhaps the lane listed a bit toward the water, and we couldn’t help worrying that once the hipsters catch wind of this, there could be a lot of nonsense getting in the way of doing both things we came here to do.

The Gutter (200 N. 14th St., between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Greenpoint). Hours: Monday–Thursday, 4 pm–4 am; Friday–Sunday, noon–4 am. Games are $6 (plus $4 for shoes) and $7 on weekends.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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