Interview With Bowlmor Lanes CEO On Their Coming Retro Kitsch Greenwich Village Country Club

by Mara Siegler · August 19, 2011

    Come October, New Yorkers will no longer be able to complain about not having anywhere to mini golf. The always innovative Bowlmor Lanes team will be opening a 16,000 square foot country club/nightclub/golf course hybrid called the Greenwich Village Country Club in the rooftop space on 110 University Place that previously housed Carnival. We talk to Bowlmor CEO Tom Shannon about the space.

    This isn't your parents, members only sort of country club. Shannon explains it will be:

    "An edgy reinterpretation of a traditional country club",  "a little bit positive and a little bit gritty, like some New York adventure."

    The space will include a golf course, an area for bocce ball and other recreational activities, as well as a space for billiards and shuffleboard. For those of you looking to get your dance on, there will be a sound-proof space called the Clubhouse, which itself will fit a couple hundred people.

    What will that be like and will it operate like a regular club with a door policy?

    Shannon encourages us to:

    "think of Clubhouse more as a lounge during the week and more as a club on the weekends", claiming that "the door policy will change accordingly based on the night."


    What will the spot look like?

    Shannon promises that the venue will be "non-traditional", "more interesting, more fun." He names Lee Wheeler, who is known for mixing the unconventional and out-there,  as the venue's primary designer. Expect to see giant fiberglass animals that were made in the 40s or 50s and bought from a New England mini-golf course after it went out of business. There are 9 of them, including a bear, 3 different types of jungle cats, a zebra, and a gorilla. The elephant, in all seriousness, couldn't fit.

    How much should you plan on spending?

    Despite mastermind David Burke's role as culinary director, Shannon hopes for a "really flexible price point", noting that Burke himself was looking for "a new canvas...something that was more accessible." It's important to the team that people are able to have a great night at Greenwich Village Country Club without breaking the bank.

    And for those of you who were lovers of Carnival, which was flooded during last years Snowpocalypse, Shannon explains why they didn't just bring that concept back:

    "It's just been a matter of, frankly, getting all the infrastructure replaced that got destroyed. We could have rebuilt carnival, but we decided that, for a variety of reasons, we were going to go in a different direction. I think ultimately the main reason was when we looked at the two side by side we just thought this seemed like a lot more fun.

    We could have just rebuilt carnival, but even though we would have hadWe found out with Carnival that people really were clamoring for something non-traditional, with a lot of diversions, and I think this is a step beyond that.We've taken every good lesson we learned with Carnival and embedded it into the DNA of the traditional country club."

    If you're still scratching your head trying to figure out what a golf course, nightclub, and bocce ball have in common, stop thinking so hard. You only have a few months wait. Bowlmor hopes to have Greenwich Village Country Club open by mid-October but definitely look for it by Halloween.

    [top image via]

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