What You Didn’t Know about Barn Bowl & Bistro


Martha’s Vineyard’s Only Bowling Alley is Primed and Ready for Summer Fun.



by Anna Frost

Those who have already visited Barn Bowl & Bistro in Oak Bluffs know that the brand-new establishment is not the average bowling alley.

The interior is colored with deep blues, rich purples and vibrant oranges, giving it a cool, summer vibe. Everything is glossy – from the tables and bar counters in the restaurant area, to the slick floor of the bowling lanes. Stunning portraits of Vineyard towns, which can be switched over to a mural of the Gay Head cliffs, by local artist Dana Gains give the bowling lanes a local touch. Unexpectedly, the right and left walls of the bowling area have portraits of presidents – George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Barack Obama, and Harry Truman – bowling at the White House’s famous alley.

It feels luxe and, at first glance, seems like yet another trendy, expensive Vineyard summer spot. That is, until you look at their menus and realize that the Barn is affordable for islanders and tourists alike.

“Every hospitality type business on the Vineyard – restaurants, hotels, you name it – they gear up for the summer. They raise their prices. They make their money during the summer. And then if they’re going to stay open the rest of the year, they struggle. Our business model is, and I don’t know of another one on the Vineyard, is just the opposite,” explained general manager Michael Sawyer.

When Sawyer opened the Barn, his goal was to have a place where families and other groups could enjoy themselves without the sticker shock. Whether people want a place to take the kids, a dinner date spot, or a good time with friends, the Barn aims to please. To start, there are five different menus – bowling area, lunch, dinner, drinks, and kids. And, of course, they serve drinks down by the lanes as well.

If guests desire to do more than bowl, the Barn will soon accommodate them. An upstairs game room is being finished and will open up in about a month, Sawyer said.

“We’re not going to be an arcade. We’re not going to have pinball machines, video games and all that. But there will be games that both kids and adults like, like foosball and air hockey. We’re going to have ping pong,” Sawyer added.

Additionally, the Barn boasts more televisions than any other restaurant on the island, on which they play various sports games throughout the day. There are seven in the dining room, as well as TVs in between the scoring boards in the lane. As a finishing touch, there are screens that come down in front of the back wall of the lane on which they will project major sporting events. Overall, the Barn has your sports-watching needs covered.

Sawyer’s main focus is on islanders who have little to do after the summer season passes. The Barn is currently signing up people for bowling leagues that will start in October and run throughout the week.


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