CityCentre has a new place to party. As one would expect, it’s sleek and stylish. It offers a wide variety of cocktails, craft beer on tap, and a commitment to hospitality.
What’s unexpected is that it also offers 14 lanes of bowling.
Meet Bowl & Barrel, an upscale bowling concept from Dallas-based restaurant group FreeRange Concepts that brings Top Golf-style glitz to a pastime that’s faded in popularity over the years. After some invite-only previews, it opens to the public on Monday.
Owner Kyle Noonan tells CultureMap that he and business partner Josh Sepkowitz realized that the act of bowling is still fun, but the experience didn’t match the standards of hospitality that Noonan learned during his time working for Pappas Restaurants. Bowl & Barrel seeks to fill that niche.
Sticky floors and stale popcorn are out. Reclaimed wood ceilings, full service at the lanes (the staff even brings bowlers their shoes), and scratch made food is in. While it may host kids' birthday parties on weekend afternoons, Bowl & Barrel aims to be an entertainment destination for adults.
Even the bowling has been made more efficient. The individual pins are on strings. While that has a very slight effect on the way they fall that might displease weekly league night types, it also means that lanes reset in about 10 seconds. Basically, as soon as the ball returns, you’re ready to roll.
That sort of efficiency is important when people are paying $22 for 30 minutes on a lane Friday through Sunday (or $16 Monday through Thursday). Add in food and drinks, and the prices become pretty consistent with what a group of friends would typically spend bar hopping in Midtown.
“I cut my teeth with (Pappas) and I couldn’t imagine a better company to learn from,” Noonan says. “Their principles are still ingrained from the standpoint of let’s make a plate of food. I don’t want to see how much it costs. I want to know whether it tastes good and what’s the process, where are we sourcing from. If it’s good enough, we’ll serve it and put an appropriate price on it.”
If the food served during Wednesday night’s VIP preview party is any indication, that food's quality will surprise people. Everything is designed for sharing, ranging from giant pretzels to 18-inch pizzas, charcuterie plates, meatballs, and more.
Bowl & Barrel shares a kitchen with the General Public, an upscale pub that will open in a couple of weeks with a completely separate menu. Taken together, they should give CityCentre a nightlife destination its lacked since the sudden closure of The Marque earlier this year.