Celebrating 20 Years of Great Memories We Can Hardly Remember
Raising a glass to bowling, delicious eats and burlesque shows at the Bryant Lake Bowl
(Minneapolis, Minn.) October 4, 2013 -The year was 1993. The location was Minneapolis. And we wore flannel. Lots of it. All the time. There was this new style of music called grunge. And grunge just wasnt a style of music. It is how we looked when we looked in mirror. Really. It wasnt pretty. We buttoned our jeans way past our belly buttons and we wore them with rips in the knees and Doc Martins on our feet. It was a really angry time, but the reasons for our anger remain uncertain. And we smoked cigarettes at the bar. And after a crazy night out on the town, the next day we kept our going out clothes in another room because they reeked of smoke.
Uptown was a lot shorter then. There was hardly a four-story building to be found as far as the eye could see. And a condo was someplace your Grandma lived in Florida, we didnt have them here. We lived in cramped studio apartments in brownstone buildings. A flannel and torn jeans wearing hipster looking for a comfortable neighborhood place to hang out had a short list of options. And if this angry-at-the-world hipster with a bitching resting face wanted a place to let down her dreads and put up her combat boots and go out for a great glass of wine, the choices were even more limited.
It was either a glass of Merlot or perhaps a glass of Merlot.
And then on Halloween Eve, on the dark, cold and lonely corner of West Lake Street and Bryant Avenue next to a sketchy video rental store, the Bryant Lake Bowl (known as the BLB by its fans) opened its doors.
And it was fun. Because there seems to be universal human truth that bowling is fun. Whether it is the funny shoes that you wear or the satisfying smack the ball makes when it hits the pins. Or perhaps it was sliding on those shiny hardwood floors or picking out the perfect ball with sparkles. Whatever it is. It brings people together.
Before the BLB there seemed to be an unwritten rule in this country that bowling alleys equaled substandard food and drink. Thirsty bowlers raised their glasses to the extensive beer and wine list filled with a long selection of varietals handpicked from around the country and around the world. Beer lovers kept their mugs filled with microbrews from Colorado, German pilsners and Belgian ales. Wine lovers knew they would want to spend more than one night with the Pinot Noirs from Oregon and the rich Spain reds.
And all that bowling works up an appetite. BLB turned typical bowling alley food on its ear and served fresh delicious eats. They put emphasis on serving local and organic long before anyone had heard of Michael Pollan. You could order a salad with organic greens and support local farmers by enjoying grass-fed burgers and organic chicken wings and it was all delicious. The dining room filled up with folks looking for late night apps and early morning breakfast burritos. And the awards came: Best Burger, Best Bowling, Best Breakfast, and Best Cheap Date Night.
And next to the bowling alley, the theater threw open its doors to musicians, dancers, comedians and actors. We hardly raised a stoic Minnesota eyebrow when acts like Dykes do Drag, Martinas Broadway Cabaret: Gender Bending and Bippys Burlesque O Rama took the stage. Over the years, the BLB stage welcomed big acts and small, and provided a warm, appreciative audience for fresh talent and new voices.
Flash forward to 2013. A great beer and wine selection, yummy food made with heart and an atmosphere that welcomes everyone seems to be the magical fountain of youth. Although 20 years old (or about 140 years in restaurant years), BLB maintains its reigning champion status as a humble neighborhood hotspot. To celebrate, we are tapping the creativity of our talented community by having a t-shirt and poster design contest. The design should answer the question, what does the BLB mean to you. Three amazing designers can win $200 in cash and $300 in BLB gift cards and see their design become a limited edition t-shirt or screen printed poster. The deadline is October 18th. (contest jpg attached)
And the celebration continues, On October 31st, thats right Halloween, we are having a birthday party. The Current will be there broadcasting their radio show from 3 to 7 p.m. and we will be featuring happy hour specials all day.
BLB is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Serving breakfast, dinner and late night eats until 12:30 a.m. 810 West Lake Street, Minneapolis Restaurant 612.825.3737 Theater box office 612.825.8949.
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