Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Little Piece of Brooklyn is Heading to The Strip

The Linq Project, currently under construction in the middle of The Strip (and the reason that beloved low stakes and cheap booze casino O'Sheas had to close), with its previously announced tenants that include a giant Ferris Wheel and Yard House restaurant, seems to be aimed squarely at mass audiences. There was no sign that anything cool or edgy was part of the plan, until yesterday when a more complete list of venues opening at The Linq was announced and The Brooklyn Bowl was intriguingly and unexpectedly included amongst them.

The original Brooklyn Bowl is, as its name implies, a bowling alley in Brooklyn. But it's also a concert venue in which interesting and cutting edge acts perform, where ?uestlove from The Roots DJs and curates a weekly party, bands like Lucero and Yelawolf are on the calendar of upcoming shows, and acts like like Chairlift, The Drums, White Denim, Real Estate, and Maya Rudolph (performing the hits of Prince with backing band The Roots!) have put on shows in recent months. So yeah, this is a place that books more interesting and eclectic acts than most Las Vegas venues, to say the least.

Bringing a venue like The BB to The Strip makes a certain amount of sense. The Cosmopolitan has seen some success booking hip up and coming acts like Best Coast and Fitz and the Tantrums for free to the public gigs at their small Book and Stage venue and bigger indie bands like Grouplove, The XX, and The Shins at their Boulevard Pool. The original Brooklyn Bowl isn't exactly tiny, but it's also by no means a massive theater appropriate for hosting the giant mainstream acts most Vegas venues usually stick with (I can't imagine Celine Dion or Rod Stewart will move from across the street Caesars and play at The Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas, but Elton John could maybe put on a more stripped-down and intimate show than his over the top Million Dollar Piano spectacle if he felt like it), so it only makes sense to expect the bookers to continue the original venue's eclectic lineup.

So does the opening of The BB in Las Vegas mean that  a Brooklyn invasion of The Strip is imminent? Probably not, as The Linq's other just announced venues include The Tilted Kilt (a chain that meshes Irish Pub and Hooters styles, so you'll basically be served by scantily clad hot lady waitresses in kilts), Chayo Mexicano (an upscale Mexican joint), Ruby Blue (a fashiony jewelery store), Flour and Barley (a pizza joint), and Sprinkles Cupcakes and Ice Cream (a delicious gourmet sweets import from Beverly Hills, but one that's more yuppie-centric than hipster baiting). Nary an artisinal Cheese shop, fair trade Coffee shop, Organic Butcher, or Craft-Brewery amongst them, so it seems like if hipsters are finally invading The Strip, it's a very slow invasion.

I think the owners of Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas have a real opportunity to cultivate the same hip and "curious" audiences that The Cosmo and many Downtown venues have been courting if they curate their shows smartly. Bowling plus indie rock is an irresistible pairing, and using a venue that combines both to bring a bit of Brooklyn cool to The Strip might turn out to be a stroke of genius. And perhaps Artisinal Cheese Shops on The Strip will not be so far behind.

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