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restaurants near brooklyn bowl

Best Night Ever: Where to Eat and Drink When You See a Show at Brooklyn Bowl

By / September 18, 2018

Despite its name, Brooklyn Bowl is better known as a music venue than a bowling alley. From sweaty punk shows and ’90s DJ nights, to hip-hop karaoke and live-scored films, this popular Williamsburg venue has been hosting rad events alongside its reclaimed-cork alleys for almost a decade.

Even with its relatively large capacity and ever-expanding presence to other cities like Las Vegas, Brooklyn Bowl always manages to feel like a fairly intimate venue. The sound is great, and you can get up-close and personal with whatever act is onstage that night.

And along with bowling and live entertainment, they’re home to a Blue Ribbon restaurant — so we’d call this spot a triple threat (we’ll say it now: Don’t sleep on the fried chicken).

Since it’s one of the only major venues in the city with decent food, you don’t really need to eat beforehand or go out to drink after. However, when you’re in the heart of perhaps the most happening neighborhood in the borough, why not explore a little? From a cocktail-slinging rooftop spot that is classy AF to the dive-iest bar in Williamsburg, these are our favorite spots to grab a bite or sip a drink before and after a show at Brooklyn Bowl.

Pre-show eats

Mister Dips

Walking time: 1 minute

During the warmer months, this Airstream trailer parked outside the William Vale Hotel dishes out the best of summer food: juicy burgers, sauce-drizzled fries, and chocolate-dipped soft serve. If you’re a fan of Shake Shack, you’ll love their burgers; otherwise, get the Hot Bae chicken bites, served with hot honey and Old Bay seasoning. Sipping on a frozen summer shandy or enjoying a chocolate soft-serve cone dipped in a peanut butter shell is the best way to enjoy the afternoon air before your evening inside.

Mable’s Smokehouse

Walking time: 2 minutes

You’ll feel like you went a little farther south of Bedford at Mable’s Smokehouse, the spacious Texas-style barbecue joint with communal tables that’s perfect for a casual sit-down dinner. This place lacks the quirky “artisanal” vibes of other Williamsburg locales, replacing it with honestly good food. Get the De Lux Platter and split the three meats and three sides — we recommend the potato salad, collards, and candied yams — with your date.

Cafe Mogador

Walking time: 4 minutes

Cafe Mogador is a Williamsburg institution, and for good reason. This female-founded Moroccan-inspired spot is packed to the gills at brunch but thankfully isn’t as busy for an early dinner, making it a great place to stop in for a comfortable meal before a show. No matter what you order, start with some olives and pickles and an order of hummus. After, enjoy a Greek salad topped with za’atar croutons and fresh herbs for something light or go all-out on the lamb tagine with stewed apricots and prunes.

Ramen Zamurai

Walking time: 8 minutes

Ramen Zamurai’s flavorful broths cook for over 20 hours before being ladled into bowls with slow-cooked, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly and fresh, chewy noodles. If you’re into eating ocean life, spring for the seafood ramen, topped with choices like snow crab, shrimp, and scallops. And although this ramen spot is known for, well, its ramen, their Japanese appetizers (think takoyaki, shumai, gyoza, and karaage) are equally delicious.

Pre-show drinks


Walking time: 1 minute

Twenty-two floors up in The William Vale, this high-end rooftop bar offers comfy seating with unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline, plus rare spirits and fine wines to match. Get the rum-filled Hurricane with passion fruit juice, or the Simpatico, a strawberry-spiked twist on an Aperol spritz, because why not treat yourself to a little luxury before getting sweaty at a general admission show?

Brooklyn Brewery

Walking time: 1 minute

With Brooklyn Brewery’s $5 pours, this is the place to pregame. The tasting room is like a chapel devoted to beer, where the wooden tokens used as currency are the communion wafers, the picnic tables are the pews, and the attendees are anything but pious. Start with the Sorachi Ace if drunk is your goal; at 7.2 percent ABV, you’ll get there quick.

D.O.C Wine Bar

Walking time: 5 minutes

This wine bar is technically an Italian restaurant, but it’s worth sitting at the bar for a laid-back wine tasting before a show because it’s so darn cute. Pro tip: Ask the server for the dessert list, and spring for the tiramisu if they have it. This date spot will elevate your night without entirely emptying your wallet. Just make sure you have cash or an Amex card for when the check comes.

Post-show eats

Sweet Chick

Walking time: 7 minutes

What’s better than fried chicken after a wild concert? There are a ton of places in Williamsburg that offer fried chicken, but this one’s cooking ’til 2am. Split an appetizer of pimento cheese with pickles and Ritz crackers before enjoying your hot honey-covered chicken and waffle, or fried chicken parmesan served with tomato sauce. Best of all, Sweet Chick offers a vegetarian fried “chicken” that’s actually really delicious, so everybody wins.

Anna Maria Pizza

Walking time: 8 minutes

Anna Maria Pizza isn’t one of those fancy Williamsburg pizza places. You can’t get locally foraged ramps on top, or a gluten-free crust, or organic cheese made upstate. Instead, they dole out the exact type of slices you only want to eat at midnight: hot, greasy, gigantic, and delicious. This is the stuff of Williamsburg’s nightlife past. Hand over your $5 bill for that chicken-bacon-ranch slice and you’ll find yourself feeling as disgustingly satisfied as possible.


Walking time: 9 minutes

There are two main reasons this bare-bones W’burg staple is the perfect place to grab a falafel sandwich on your way home. One, it’s literally right above the L train stop. If the time screen shows that your train isn’t coming for another 10 minutes, you’re good to head up for some food. And two, it’s mind-blowingly cheap. Where else in this neighborhood can you get a $4 falafel sandwich that’s actually delicious? We’re lucky Oasis still exists in this high-rent locale.

Brooklyn Surf

Post-show drinks

Turkey’s Nest

Walking time: 5 minutes

This decades-old dive bar offers to serve any of its drinks in Styrofoam cups — presumably, so you can walk home with one and not get ticketed for an open container, but don’t quote us on that. Get a cheap frozen margarita (or just a pint of beer) and be prepared to make some new friends at this Williamsburg relic.

Surf Bar

Walking time: 9 minutes

Rainbow tiki lights sway above you as your feet dig into the sand-covered floor at this aptly named bar, where high-ABV drinks and surfboard decor will make you feel like you’re on a vacation somewhere warmer than (but just as cool as) Brooklyn. Post-show is the best time of night to grab a drink here, too. Most imbibers may have moved on to more party-like atmospheres, so this is a great place if you’re looking to wind down a little after your main event has already ended.

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Quinne Myers is a writer, illustrator, apparel designer, and lingerie industry pundit living in Brooklyn. Loves sweaty concert dancing, eating dessert, feeling feelings, and petting every dog.

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