Explore: Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes

For my 23rd birthday, I went with a group of girlfriends to Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes hidden underneath the Tavistock Hotel in the heart of central London. It’s a 1950s style venue that contains not only bowling lanes, but private karaoke booths and an authentic diner selling literally the biggest pizzas ever seen.

The entrance to the lanes

The atmosphere of the whole place is cleverly confined to its themed era, and the lanes are simple (no bumpers for those of us who couldn’t throw the ball in a straight line!), and the screens showing our scores reminded me of bowling lanes from when I was a child.

The scoreboard – I didn’t retain my lead for long!

The lanes boast the only above lane ball return outside of the US, which was a pretty nifty piece of kit, even if it looked like the ball was going to catapult into my knees every time it came back!

The view down the lane

Of course we had to don the ever glam bowling shoes as well. I had to take this picture of my friends wearing them as it amused me that the ones with tiny feet had to have velcro fastenings instead of laces!

Laces for regular size feet; velcro for tiny feet!

I am shockingly bad at bowling (it was the lure of ‘retro’ that persuaded me BBL would be a good place to celebrate my birthday!) so it was a small miracle I didn’t break anything and that I managed to actually hit some pins! The place was packed full of people, and it seems to attract a huge range of people. There were loads of hen parties, birthday parties and groups of people of all sizes out enjoying an alternative Saturday night. And not everyone was bowling, it seems the lanes are a gem for reasonably priced drinks and a relaxed but energetic atmosphere. Oh, and the burgers. Rated 2nd best in London they are delicious but so huge I could barely move afterwards!

So. Much. Food.

What other places in London would you recommend that are a little out of the ordinary?