bowl. n a c u ces yo of bowling a l p e h oh, t a pair your way! … b e r a r a u G es Sq rk minute? e on r ’ m i u T o s y e ; o Desk or Lan in a New Y e m ith o l h w w S o n B o n s i t t w e i t a s o Vi labor urateur, the si ated Downt l o e c e s n i o enius ef and resta d Want t the richly st g l a i r u d ch rene rom nt an of e f p e n e s r m w e t e o o n t i n h e s ative, id Burke, re for fun, exc cornucopia e r c s ’ annon rtise of Dav who venture portation a h S m To trans best. ❖ y expe ered those r d a o i n r i l e u p ff rk’s the c have o imaginative New Yo Reprinted from IBI February 2011
Reprinted from IBI February 2011
Sneak through to the heyday of yesteryear at a Prohibition entry–a millinery store–to four cozy lanes.
The Subway Lanes etch the gritty underside of the Big Apple. Select a venue or set an itinerary while having a drink at the Uptown Bar or dining at Burke’s Stadium Grill – your pleasure!
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12 lanes of striking architecture and lighting, the Art Deco Lanes glitter with by-gone majesty.
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Sleek and oh, so modern, Pop New Yorkâ€™s six lanes is an homage to Andy Warhol and his eclectic, bohemian crowd.
A BILLIONAIRE’S HOUSE That was the idea behind the bowling at North America’s biggest resort casino. By Robin Breuner
handeliers, champagne, grand pianos and martinis – these are not the typical images evoked by the thought of bowling. At the newly unveiled, 35,000-square-foot High Rollers Luxury Lanes in the Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT, these images combine with tradition to create high-end bowling reality. High Rollers opened to fanfare in October with Kim Kardashian as celebrity host. Foxwoods Resort Casino together with the MGM Grand at Foxwoods is North America’s largest resort casino property, with over 4,700,000 square feet of space. Owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, it opened in 1986 as the original high-stakes bingo hall. It is located approximately 50 miles from Hartford and less than two hours driving time from Boston. High Rollers is the innovation of Boston’s Big Night Entertainment Partners – Ed Kane, Joe Kane and Randy Greenstein. The three have proven their talent for out-of-thebox entertainment concepts with two other Foxwood venues, The Scorpion Bar and Shrine at MGM Grand. Their newest restaurant concept, Red Lantern, opens in Boston next year. The VIP suite.
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According to Ed Kane, the partners’ decision to create a bowling center was influenced by a lot of things. “We’ve been trying to do bowling for years. We started the Josh Beckett Foundation with Josh Beckett, who is a star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and when we did it, we learned a lot about what we liked about bowling alleys: format, how the lanes are set up, and what the viewing areas are like for big parties.” The Foundation hosts an annual celebrity bowling tournament called Beckett Bowl, which raises money for community-based programs that strive to improve the health and well-being of children, especially children that are severely ill, disabled, poor
NEW DEVELOPMENTS What would Steve Wynn build?
or otherwise disadvantaged. “We just love design,” Kane said, “so when we got an opportunity to do it, the casino said, ‘Yes, go ahead.’ We made our rounds [of] bowling alleys in the country and picked up a lot of ideas. There are certain technical requirements that you have to try to adhere to, whether it’s lighting, measurements or length of the approach, all those things. We wanted to incorporate those [requirements] into a very beautiful, high-end look, like if you went into your billionaire friend’s house, and he had a bowling alley there. That was kind of our look – 1920s meets Bellagio.” The concept of bowling in a resort casino is not a new one, but at High Rollers, bowlers feel as if they are still a part of the glamorous nightlife in the casino rather than in a separate venue. This $6 million bowling center cum elegant lounge sports 14 beautifully appointed lanes plus six separate VIP lanes. The classic decor features rich, dark woods, plush carpeting, flocked wallpaper, oversized leather banquettes, and walls lined with retro-chic, black–and–white photography of feathered showgirls and Rat Pack look-alikes. Kane said that every decision the partners made, whether they were picking out mosaic tiles, hardwood floors or curtains, was influenced by the idea of what Steve Wynn would choose. “If Steve Wynn built a bowling alley, what would it look like? We thought that High Rollers would be it,” he said. Touted as a “state-of-the-art adult destination,” the center provides more than bowling. A two-level piano lounge featuring a 50-seat custom marble bar and a 103” plasma television complements the cutting-edge sound system and 60 high-definition televisions that span the lanes, flashing music videos and sporting events. Lane-side food and beverage service includes inventive selections from Executive Chef Kevin Long such as hot lobster dip, Philly spring rolls, Narragansett clam chowder, and brick oven pizzas. The drink menu features specialty martinis with names like “Lexus” and “Indulgence” and an oversized cocktail called “The High Roller Experience” described as a “giant classic French martini topped with champagne from your personal Dom Perignon bottle for you to drink after your champagne toast.” Beyond the six VIP bowling lanes, High Rollers has three private rooms that can accommodate 30-100 guests. The entire facility is available to rent for up to 800 people.
Specialty theme and customizable menus are available. High Rollers also offers four professional Brunswick Gold Crown billiard tables, shuffleboard and a video gaming area. Lanes are available on a first come, first served basis and can hold eight people. There is a two-hour limit when there is a wait. Day rates are $5 during the week and $6 on weekends; night games cost $6 and $9, respectively. Age groups are diverse, according to Jason Nichols, Director of Operations for Big Night Entertainment Group. “We’ve had young children in here but late at night, after 7 p.m., we turn to 21 and older only. Children are coming in with families for the most part. We do have a lot of groups coming in, older folks coming in early as well to have lunch and basically to enjoy the ambience of the lounge.” Reprinted from IBI January 2011
NEW DEVELOPMENTS The 14 open lanes in a wide-angle view.
“We have a dress code at night,” Kane said, “and it does skew ‘higher end’ in the sense that I think it’s great for dates, I think it’s great for bachelorette parties, it’s great for a group of girls who are going out on a Friday or Saturday night because it’s kind of glamorous-looking. But anybody can come out and bowl. It’s not like you have to have a tuxedo to come out. “The music is all over the board – top hits from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, and our age demographic after 7 at night is basically 21-80. “We like to call it ‘the Four Seasons of bowling’.” Lane reservations are available with the purchase of packages, which start at $35 per person for 8-24 guests during the daytime. This includes two hours of bowling, shoe rental, homemade Yukon potato chips and brick oven pizza. The most expensive evening package is $90 per person for 8-24 guests. This package includes two hours of bowling with shoe rental, two hours of premium bar service, teriyaki chicken skewers, Philly spring rolls, crabbie melts, “oversized” grilled cheese, and classic shrimp cocktail. Luxury VIP packages are also available after 10 p.m. “Our feeling is let’s give people a reservation option,” Kane said, “let’s give them a package option and sell the lanes, because we’ve got a limited amount. Twenty lanes is not a lot of lanes to sell out. On a busy day there, they have 45,000 people through the doors.” Luxury decor elements include chandeliers that parade above the lanes, hanging from coffered ceilings and surrounded by classic dentelle work. The coffered ceilings were cleverly designed to help deaden the noise of the actual bowling in order to facilitate conversation and the sound of the music. Each section has three sets of coffers. Kane said that the ceiling height is intentionally lower than most bowling centers for the same reason – to create a boutique-scale Reprinted from IBI January 2011
feeling. The ceilings are 13.5 feet in the bowling area and nine feet in the billiards area. In the settee area, soft seating is arranged for privacy. “It’s like going in your living room to watch television and bowl and hang out with your friends, ” said Kane. According to Nichols, the partners have no current plans to accommodate leagues but hope eventually to host sweepers or charity events. Local bowlers are mostly Foxwoods employees coming in after work or on their days off with their families. “We operate independent of the casino, so our economic structure is independent of theirs. They like us because we bring in national, regional and local people. We run it as a private business. Our goal is to tap into the 45,000 people who might want something else to do other than gamble, eat and shop,” said Kane. “It’s unbelievable, it really is,” Nichols said. “When you first walk in, it’s so grand you don’t even feel like it’s a bowling alley. With everything set up and the multi-level lounge, it’s unbelievable. And then you look left and right and see the lanes, that’s when you actually realize that you are in a bowling alley.” ❖
Robin Breuner is a freelance writer who lives on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California with her husband, two kids and two dogs.
Reprinted from IBI January 2011