Bowling in London? We’ve found the most luxurious ten-pin bowling alleys that won’t drive you spare.
‘If horse racing be the sport of kings, then surely bowling is… a very good sport as well.’ We couldn’t agree with Homer Simpson more – here are some super-cool ten-pin bowling alleys in London for your next group day out.
1) The Croc, Soho
Deep beneath the streets of Soho, the luxurious Ham Yard Hotel has it’s own private, four-lane bowling alley, with some gorgeous retro design work. You can book in a lane or hire the whole thing, so you and your friends can play with your balls in perfect privacy. By far the most expensive option at £20 per person. More info here.
2) All Star Lanes, Holborn
The All Star Lanes group’s most centrally-located bowling alley, it’s home to a four-lane hall, plus a hireable private room (pictured) with two lanes of its own. The kitchen serves up classic American diner dishes – think mac’n’cheese, buttermilk fried chicken, and seriously substantial cheeseburgers – while the bar offers some mean G&Ts. £9.95 peak times. More info here.
3) Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, Holborn
This eight-lane bowling alley is a favourite with night-owls – it’s open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays – and also hosts retro-inflected club nights, like the Sixties soul-fest All Shook Up. The diner provides massive sharing pizzas among other dishes; there’s also the private five-lane Kingpin Suite to hire, or karaoke rooms you can book. £45 per lane per hour (for up to six players, which would be £7.50 each.) More info here.
4) All Star Lanes, Brick Lane
Another All Star Lanes venue in the heart of east London, this one’s home to a six-lane main hall, a hireable ‘Penthouse’ bowling alley with three private lanes, and ample drinking and dining space for some apres-bowl. £9.95 peak times. More info here.
5) Queens, Queensway
Also home to an ice rink (which offers ice karting races!) and a vintage arcade, this 12-lane titan offers ‘competition quality’ bowling in a handsome neon-lit space. Food and drink is provided by the much-loved burger scientists from MeatLiquor. £9.95 peak times. More info here.
6) Rowans, Finsbury Park
This old-school venue might not win quite so many style points, but with 24 lanes, late opening hours (until 2.30am Fri/Sat), pool tables and karaoke, this turns into a bit of a party on a Friday night. £6 peak times. More info here.
7) All Star Lanes, Westfield Stratford City
ASL’s biggest bowling alley, this one in the enormous east London shopping mall offers 12 lanes to choose from, and the usual menu. As usual, £9.95 peak times.
8) All Star Lanes, Westfield Shepherds Bush
The last stop on our tour of luxury bowling London is this all-new set of ten-pin lanes. Another production from the All Star crew, this eight-lane alley is inspired by the art deco aesthetics of 1950’s Miami. There really has been no expense… spared.
Other bowling alleys to visit
For some old-fashioned pin-smashing – without the leather sofas and mixologists – there are plenty of other options. In south London you can find Palace Superbowl in Elephant & Castle, MFA Bowl in Lewisham and Hollywood Bowl in Surrey Quays; there’s also a Hollywood Bowl at the O2 in North Greenwich and in Finsbury Park. West Londoners can head to Tenpin Acton.
(Recently closed: Brooklyn Bowl at the O2 is now closed. All Star Lanes in Bayswater also closes permanently from April 2018.)