The closure of East Hampton Bowl in 2013 weighed heavily on Scott Rubenstein, who grew up on the South Fork, raised his kids here and built East Hampton Indoor Tennis in Wainscott in 1995.
So he did something about it.
The Clubhouse, which goes beyond just 10 lanes of bowling to also offer mini golf, an arcade, corn hole and bocce ball courts, pool tables and a full sports bar and restaurant with more than 25 TVs, formally opens Thursday at the 24-acre Wainscott property where East Hampton Indoor Tennis is located on Daniels Hole Road. Mr. Rubenstein first had the vision for The Clubhouse in 2013, presented a formal proposal to the East Hampton Town Planning Board in 2015, fought off a lawsuit brought by nearby residents late in 2017 and completed construction, well, a few weeks ago.
“We remembered how important that bowling facility was, and a lot of other things,” Mr. Rubenstein said. “We really felt if we had a sort of all-in-one facility that it was something that would be needed and well received in the community.”
On Monday, surrounded by newly-trained employees in matching gray t-shirts hurrying about the sprawling facility, he admitted to being a little nervous. The Clubhouse’s soft opening was to be that night. They were still ironing out a few bugs — stop signs being installed in the right places in the parking lot, air conditioners already needing work, a sudden decision that bicycle racks were needed.
“It’s a good feeling,” Mr. Rubenstein said. “I feel like we have a good team. I have a lot of family members helping out, and a lot of young staff who are excited to be working here. I hope people come down to see us and enjoy the facility.”
Executive chef Brian Schlitt, the former off-premise catering manager for the Honest Man Catering group, promised a visitor “fantastic steaks, great wings and an excellent burger and clubhouse salad.”
“His food is great,” Mr. Rubenstein added, then joked, “But you should not send the food back. He was an all-state wrestler. Just a friendly suggestion.”
Between bus boys and tennis pros, Mr. Rubenstein says he now employs more than 100 people, ranging from 14 to 60 years of age.
A peek through the doors of the arcade yields lights and sounds that most kids would find alluring — exactly what the place is going for. Glossy bowling lanes await players who haven’t had a place to roll strikes in years — including the varsity boys and girls bowling teams at East Hampton High School, which may return to competitive action this coming school year.
The games, bowling lanes, pool tables, mini golf and even the bar run on an electronic swipe-card system. Parents can load money onto a card and hand it over to their kids for an afternoon of entertainment.
The Clubhouse also features five 220-inch projector TVs and more than 20 other big screens for watching sports throughout the venue.
“I hope people have fun,” Mr. Rubenstein said. “What’s going to be nice about it is leaving all the boloney in the parking lot. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive or house you live in. When you’re in here watching a ball game, when your team scores, you’re going to high-five the guy next to you.”