Eastside Bowl Plans to Score Big in Madison

A little over a year ago, the buzz about the revitalization of the old Madison Bowl building in north Madison was stirring excitement. With former music venue owners and designers Jamie Ruben (The Family Wash) and Chark Kinsolving (The Cannery, The Mercy Lounge), and Nashville businessman and investor Tommy Pierce (A+ Storage of Tennessee, The Basement East) at the helm, it looked like a perfect 300 score was in store. But when the deal fell through, it definitely felt like a gutter ball. Despite their disappointment, Ruben, Kinsolving, and Pierce didn’t give up on their vision; they just moved it a little further south, to the former K-Mart building at 1508 Gallatin Pike.

“We were walking around looking at it,” Kinsolving says. “We’d been in the K-Mart before but never seen what was behind the walls of the retail area. We walked into an old shipping and receiving area. There was already a mezzanine level built in. I swore I’d never build or own another music venue, but I couldn’t help thinking, “You could put a stage right there. The bar could go over here. There’s the balcony.” Within five minutes I’d laid the whole thing out. It just made sense.”

With more room to expand the reformulated “Eastside Bowl” not only found a new home but expanded into a multi-entertainment venue. Plans for the 32,000 square foot complex now include 16 lanes of bowling, featuring both conventional ten-pin bowling along with a new, high-tech variation called Hyperbowling. “It’s hard to explain,” Kinsolving says. “It’s a little like bowling crossed with a pinball machine. I’ve played it in Florida and Indiana and it’s really fun, plus nobody else has it in the Middle Tennessee area.”

Along with the bowling area, the design includes a 24-hour, 125-seat diner with a patio area, a 5,000 square foot music venue with a balcony and patio area — featuring two stages to accommodate both large and smaller more, intimate performances, a game room, and a bar and lounge area.

“The extra square footage enabled us to look at the concept in a different way,” Kinsolving says. “We played around with the floor plans for probably four months, shifting things around until we got a plan we were really satisfied with. It’s a large interior renovation project, but much of the mechanical infrastructure is already in place. We’ve already signed the lease, began the permit process, and we hope to be open by August 2020.”