The line between "play center" and "nightclub" has never been terribly blurred—until now. Rock and Roll Playhouse, a new Carroll Gardens venture aimed at instilling a love of rock in tots, is facing criticism from the pastor of a local church, who is convinced the space will be used as a raucous dance hall come evening.
Rev. Robert Powers, a priest at St. Paul and St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, told the Post that owner Peter Shapiro—who also helms Brooklyn Bowl—intends to turn the space at 280 Bond Street not into a children's learning space, with meals from Blue Ribbon and quiet jazz ensembles come night—but a nightclub.
“At the meeting, he basically presented that this would be a well-managed nightclub, and for him to say it’s not is just contrary to what was said to the neighbors,” Powers told the tabloid. “He can say it’s not a nightclub, but what is a nightclub? This is an aggressive businessman who sees something he can develop.”
The old "it's not a night club, it's a bakery!" ruse has been employed by plenty of entrepreneurs to win the favor of community boards, which hold power with the State Liquor Authority. But Shapiro is adamant that he's not trying to open another Brooklyn Bowl.
"We’re not looking for 12 piece funk bands," he said. "We're confident with the soundproofing and everything, but we're looking for three-piece jazz ensembles."
Shapiro said that the idea for the space sprouted from the wild popularity of Family Bowl, during which kids of all ages can enjoy the lanes without the parental nightmare of alcohol-sodden hipsters raging in the foreground.
Shapiro, who himself is a father of two, said he wanted to create an educational space for kids dedicated exclusively to teaching them about music—specifically, rock music.
"I've gone to a lot of the traditional kid's places, and they're great and I have fun with them," Shapiro said. "But I thought I could create a place that took from the vibe of some of what I do with my other venues."
To that end, Rock and Roll Playhouse will offer programming to children up to 10-years-old, featuring such themes as Beatles for Babies, Rock and Roll Storytime for Little Rockers and introductory programs on songwriting, guitar, percussion and keyboard.
"It's not meant to be a rock and roll venue, and it's not meant to hold a dance space. We're never going to have Guns N Roses play at the Rock and Roll Playhouse, he said.
"I do hope that one day Axl Rose would come in and teach the 4-year-olds, though."