Two brothers with years of experience in the bar and restaurant business have taken over management of Asbury Lanes, the bowling alley and live music venue on Fourth Avenue.
The new management team is headed by Chris and Bob Fahey, who own Edgar’s Pub in Manasquan. Bob Fahey is also a partner in a Manhattan club called Libations.
The brothers took over as managers two weeks ago, Bob Fahey said. The two are also in the process of becoming partners in the building and business with current owners Patrick Fasano and Vincent Gifford, he said.
“We’ve been partners in bars and restaurants in New York City, but this is a whole new ballgame,” said Fahey, 36, in regard to the unique nature of a vintage bowling alley combined with a live music venue. “We don’t want to make any hasty decisions on it.”
The brothers want to continue to work with the existing company, Little Death Collective, that books shows at Asbury Lanes, said Fahey. Current live shows feature a range of acts including punk bands and burlesque.
“There are shows that are booked, and we are going to honor those shows of course,” said Fahey, 36. “But we are going to bring in other types of music as well. We want to bring in other types of music so it’s not just the punk genre.”
There are no specific plans to change anything yet and the brothers are currently evaluating how they would change the operation, Fahey said. They plan to clean up the front of the building and the outside area.
As for keeping the vintage bowling lanes, “as of now, the plans are to preserve the bowling,” Fahey said. “It’s an historic piece of Asbury. We’d like to preserve it as best we can.”
The bowling alleys and associated equipment are old and it would be expensive to upgrade to a modern bowling operation, he said.
Fahey and his brother Chris, 38, grew up in the restaurant and liquor business, he said. Their father owned restaurants and liquor stores, and Fahey has been a partner in a total of five bars and restaurants, Fahey said, while his brother has been involved with three.
The Faheys grew up in Glen Rock in Bergen County, but spent summers at their grandmother’s house in Avon-by-the-Sea, he said.
At the beginning of this year, Fasano and Gifford — both significant property owners in the city — bought Asbury Lanes from the Ayles family, who had owned and operated the business since 1962. The Ayles family started Asbury Lanes.
In 2004, owner Ralph Ayles turned over management to Meldon Stultz, who transformed Asbury Lanes into a live music venue featuring rockabilly and garage-rock bands. A stage was built in the middle of the bowling alley for the musicians, with patrons bowling on either side of the performers. The original cocktail lounge and snack bar continue to serve food and alcoholic beverages.
Four years ago, Jenn Hampton — an owner of Parlor Gallery on Cookman Avenue in the downtown business district — took over management and bookings, along with Laney Switzer. Since Fasano and Gifford bought Asbury Lanes, Hampton and Switzer continued to handle the bookings under their company Little Death Collective, Hampton said.
“I’m hoping the transition will be easy,” said Hampton, who has met with the Fahey brothers and expressed willingness to work with them.
Asbury Lanes is in the waterfront redevelopment zone. Waterfront redeveloper Asbury Partners has listed Asbury Lanes as one of the seven properties still subject to taking by eminent domain for redevelopment.