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Bowling-Crazed Bar the Eleanor Is Almost Ready to Roll

The game-centric venue arrives this June with pinball machines and Pac-Man

Eleanor co-general managers Katie Rockwell (left), Jess Rockwell (center) and founder Adam Stein showing off the forthcoming restaurant’s mini-bowling lanes.
Adam Stein/Facebook

The reclaimed bowling alley wood Eleanor founder Adam Stein imported from New England looks great on the mini lanes he’s set up inside his forthcoming neighborhood restaurant/gaming complex. So great, in fact, that he used extra pieces to adorn his bar, host stand, and a few high tops at this new addition to NoMa.

The highly polished surfaces scattered about Stein’s latest venture — he’s also a partner in game-filled Atlas District attraction Bar Elena — are just one of the personalized accents built into the self-styled restaurant currently taking shape where short-lived Union Social once stood (100 Florida Avenue NE). The hospitality vet originally wanted to plant his fun-filled bar and performance space somewhere in Ivy City, but tells Eater everything has been reconfigured to fit in this perfectly accommodating location.

Stein says he purchased three 10-foot sections of reclaimed bowling alley wood from now-defunct Sky Top Lanes in Connecticut to use as raw materials. He had planned to install four lanes at the Eleanor, but trimmed that down to two mini lanes in order to accommodate a shoulder height drink rail for spectators and a nook for other electronic diversions. Look for various pinball machines and video games including Pac-Man Battle Royale.

Stein is still working out how to charge for the duckpin-style bowling; he’s currently leaning towards charging by the hour, though he says participants can play for shorter periods of time. He says he’ll most likely offer discounted rates during the day and then require reservations during peak times.

He kept the bar as is, but slapped a coat of bright red paint on it to add some pop. Stein has carved out room on an adjoining wall for a projection screen. “We will have sporting events and movies,” he predicts. On the opposite side of that sits a nook expected to double as the performance area. Stein says he’ll keep it as general seating during the day and then reconfigure it as needed for visiting bands/stage acts.

He’s also working on erecting a shrine to famous Eleanors somewhere in the restaurant. He mentioned honoring former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, specifically. There was discussion of showcasing the sheet music to the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” as well.

The restaurant has a total occupancy of 300, with room for 160 seats inside and 55 outside. Stein says he has 127 feet of patio space out front that he plans to shield with two enclosures in order to offer year-round seating outdoors.

The Eleanor is projected to operate from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily to start. Stay tuned for additional details about the food and drinks Stein plans to serve bowling enthusiasts.

Scroll down to see pictures of the soon-to-be-game-filled Eleanor:

The bar at the Eleanor is now topped with reclaimed bowling alley wood.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

Bowling paraphernalia stacked onto shelves at the Eleanor.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

The bar at the Eleanor features a stark red paint job.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

Eleanor founder Adam Stein plans to broadcast movies and sporting events on a projection screen affixed to this wall.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

The corridor between the mini bowling lanes and the bar at the Eleanor will feature open seating for customers.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

The logo on the staff t-shirts at the Eleanor.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

Bar Elena

414 H Street Northeast, , DC 20002 (202) 450-3265 Visit Website