Well, we’ve got ourselves a central bowling alley. And not before time many would say. East Street Lanes is the creation of the Steamin’ Billy group, who have already branched out from pubs into leisure venues with Caddyshackers mini golf. This is located underneath the new bowling alley, but there is no through route and the two have separate entrances.
At the press launch yesterday we were invited for a drink and a bowl. There is a spacious bar area, leading through to an amusement arcade. The whole is decorated with the now predictable wall of plastic plants and stark edison lightbulbs. At least they didn’t put swing chairs in I suppose. However, it is slightly industrial and also bursting with neon. It has the feeling of an adult venue, but children are welcome to bowl before 7pm
The team glided boards of freshly baked pizzas around the event. When I managed to catch a slice, it was fine – thin crispy base and burn-the-mouth toppings. They will also be offering burgers and sharing platters, but as with any entertainment venue like this, you can enjoy better food for the same price elsewhere.
The bar has a wide range of drinks as you’d expect from the pub group. The cocktail menu is full of sickly sweet drinks that weren’t to my taste at all. However I found the beer and wine range to be diverse, well chosen and relatively reasonably priced. I opted for a keg beer – the Brooklyn Naranjito which was flavoursome and refreshing.
Over at the lanes, the lighting is dark with the piercing glow of the pins shining out in the gloom. A single table lamp illuminates the comfy seating at the base of each lane in the alley. We found it slightly cramped with four of us here, so you might struggle with groups any larger than this unless you’re happy to stand.
The bowling’s great. It’s bowling, it’s fun. There are balls and pins on strings and you can even get drinks served to you at the lane. If you’re wearing flat shoes or trainers, you can bowl in them. Bowling shoes are available to rent if you need them. At £9 per game, per person, it’s not wildly out of line with other bowling prices. On weekdays 2 games are discounted to £11.95 which feels relatively reasonable. Predictably I was terrible at it, but still thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thanks to East Street Lanes for inviting us along to try out the new venue. It gets two thumbs up from me for just doing proper bowling. The Big Lebowski references are everywhere and also meet with my approval, although having a cocktail that isn’t a White Russian called The Big Lebowski feels like an opportunity missed.