Chark Kinsolving (center) and Jamie Rubin (left), founders and former owners of Nashville hotspots Mercy Lounge, Cannery Ballroom, The High Watt, and Family Wash, partner with Tommy Pierce (right), investor of Basement East and A+ Storage, announce the opening of Eastside Bowl. Photo by Stacie Huckeba

Eastside Bowl Announces Oct. 1 Opening

There was a time in East Nashville when musicians gathering around a bowl meant something very different — well maybe it still means that — but come Oct. 1, the opening date announced today for Eastside Bowl, 1508 Gallatin Pike S., it’s going to mean something a little more wholesome.

The massive, 32,000-square-foot Madison complex with a 16-lane bowling alley, concert venue, diner, lounge, and vintage arcade, partially occupying a former K-Mart, is the latest homegrown venture from local musicians Chark Kinsolving and Jamie Rubin, better known as the founders and former owners of Nashville music venues Cannery Ballroom/Mercy Lounge/The High Watt (Kinsolving) and The Family Wash (Rubin). 

Together with partner Tommy Pierce  — a Basement East investor — Kinsolving and Rubin have been working on the ambitious build-out for two years (the design team behind Urban Cowboy and The Dive Motel has also been involved). 

“We are happy to be bringing this concept to the Madison area as we believe it fills an entertainment void that has not existed here for a while,” Kinsolving, a native Nashvillian, said in a press release. “Eastside Bowl will cater to families and folks of all ages. With a great location and plenty of free parking, we think it’s a win-win all around for Madison and surrounding areas.”

Eastside Bowl will see a soft opening in the weeks leading up to Oct. 1. No soft opening date is available, but friends have already been stopping by to bowl private games. The Wash at Eastside Bowl — a 5,000-square-foot, 750-person-capacity venue — is also booked Sept. 22-25 for AmericanaFest events, including daytime tapings of WMOT/NPR’s “World Cafe,” Rubin told The East Nashvillian.

“We don’t know if we’re going to do anything at night during AmericanaFest, but who knows, there might be some surprises,” Rubin said. 

Eastside Bowl will offer bowling from 11 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 3 a.m., Friday and Saturday. In addition to regular bowling, Eastside Bowl will be the only bowling alley in a 300-mile radius to feature a bowling/gaming hybrid called HyperBowling, which uses lights, sensors, and bumpers to score as the ball ricochets down the lane. The Lounge, a ‘70s-themed bar which Eastside Bowl is calling the “soul of the Bowl,” will be adjacent to the bowling alley. 

“(Bowling) caters to a lot of different types of people — hipsters, families, rockers,” Rubin says. “And I feel like bowling is a universal uniter, because everybody loves to bowl.” 

A songwriter who has lived in Nashville since the late ‘90s, Rubin says he hopes Eastside Bowl will provide the sense of community that Nashville “is really all about,” adding, “I think there’s a big gaping hole in the greater Nashville area of homegrown places, community places.” 

The diner, Chark’s Laneside Diner (LSD), will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday, and 6 a.m. to close, Friday and Saturday. The menu will see the return of some favorite dishes from The Family Wash, such as the shepherd’s pie, Rubin says. 

This being Nashville and all, it’s worth mentioning that Kinsolving, a guitarist who played in legendary Rolling Stones saxophonist Bobby Keys’ band The Suffering Bastards, painted the diner the exact colors of a Gibson Les Paul Goltop guitar (body and pickguard). It’s also worth reiterating that these guys named the diner at their family-friendly bowling alley “LSD.”

Thinking maybe “Lucy in the Sky with Dinner”?

Or maybe we spoke too soon about the “wholesome” thing … ‘cause like a wise man with a Les Paul once said: “Hey hey, my my, rock and roll will never die …” 

You gotta love this town.