Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The year the Bowling Alley became the Club Bene'

The bowling alley had been open for a few years. When the owner looked around and thought this would make a great Dinner theater . He would go to the Copa in New York City with his family to see the stars perform at the time. Sammy Davis, Bobby Darrin, he would take his children , they had wonderful pictures of the family at the Copa. Imagine being a youngster and being able to see this type of entertainment.
So the building began on the future Club Bene'. A room that would hold 900 seats . Dinner and Show. He started off with doing Dinner Theater which at the time was new. Then in the afternoons on Saturday and Sunday they would present Children's shows. They were great! Seeing live theater in Sayreville NJ. Children would have their birthday parties there, and the girl scouts would book their groups to go and enjoy the shows. It was great , if it was your birthday that day, you were called up on the stage and everyone would sing Happy Birthday to you. There was always several children up there, sometimes the same children on the weekend. No one cared , you were a star for that moment. On stage everyone looking at you, singing to you. Wow! How cool was that. The owner would even give out presents to the kids on stage. It was wonderful. When it was over , we would leave the theater filled with excitment. We could never imagine that in just a few years John Travolta would be on that same stage, in the chorus performing in West Side Story! Who knew what was yet to come to this club that was once a little bar on a corner. Some of the biggest stars ! Imagine in Sayreville , New Jersey.
As the years went on. This corner bar had a back room added on to it. It now could seat people to eat. I believe it was one of the first smorgasboards in the Sayreville area. For the younger generation it was all you could eat for one price. I'm talking real food ,Pasta of course being Italian, you had to have pasta, shrimp , and clams and king crab legs and one of the first places to serve frogs legs! The people filled the place. They couldn't get enough of the great food and dessert. I believe it was maybe $2.50 for all you could eat, just imagine that. Well anyway after a few years of just the food business , the owner had purchased more of land, and decided to build a bowling alley. The place at that time was called cozy joe's...... Pizza, food , beer and wine and a bowling alley.... the best pizza you could sink your teeth into. What fun times. Just imagine if you will being able to do all of that, under one roof. Great times! Great memories , is there anyone out there that remembers the bowling alley ? Everyone was there, it was the late 50's into the 60's when familes still did things together. Mom and dad, the kids and maybe even grand pa and grand ma.

Club Bene'

The Club Bene' would be celebrating it's 64 th year anniversary this year. It was one of the best clubs in new jersey. The building is still there, it is now silent. The sound of great music no longer heard . I would like to tell the story of the great Club Bene' and how it started in the year 1946 on april 1st, april fools day. It was a tiny two story building, simply a corner bar. A family man decided to buy it for his family at the time his wife and son. He had dreams , this was the start of that dream. The Forties were good and bad times, the war had just ended a few years ago. Men had just come back from the war. World War 2. Families were trying to get back to normal, many of these families were hoping to build a future for themselves and their family. They were the good old days. Imagine this , a man who saw this little bar being the future for his family. This was not a corporation, this was the generation where they learned as they went along. There were no books on how to accomplish what you saw happening down the road. Just your ideas. Imagine a little corner bar turn into an national know club, who would ever had thought that would happen , or if it was possible. The dreams. Selling beer and pizza. Working 16 hours a day , seven days a week. Just depending on your self and your three brothers and your father.