All Star Lanes
Victoria House Southampton Row, London, London, WC1B 4DA
- Tel: 020 7025 2676
Puts the fun back in to bowling
02/03/2009 by sharon77
I recently took at party of 20 people here for a work's sports & social club event and I can say nothing but good things about this bowling venue. We took advantage of one of its many offers, this time it was Eat, Drink & Bowl for £30(including 1 cocktail, 2 courses and 1 game of bowling). Quietly nestled in a side street in Holborn, you'd be forgiven for walking passed the All Start Lanes without giving it a second glance. Once inside you're transported back in time thanks to it's 50s style decor, the fun music and matching 50s Ed's Diner style uniforms. It has a great bar tucked away at the rear, and a restaurant which offers more than the usual soggy burgers, limp fries and basket of scampi. The service I received was excellent. All the staff were very friendly and couldn't do more to help. If you're going in a large group I would definitely recommend you pre-book as their "walk in" lanes get very busy. If you don't/can't pre-book, you are able to put your group's name down for one of their four walk in lanes, but this has to be done in person from 5pm onwards on the day. The only downside to this is that as the walk in lanes are only available to play on from 7pm onwards, and you are expected to stay at the venue from when you put your name down, which could mean a lengthy wait. If you're with a smaller group however, you should find it much easier to literally just walk in and play. My only improvement would be to add more lanes, but if you're looking for a fun night, at one of London's self billed "luxury bowling" lanes, then this is the place to go!Report this
13/08/2008 by chrisp
I think it's fair to say that most people wouldn't automatically use the words "good food" and "bowling alley" in the same sentence. Memories of my teenage years spent at the Megabowl in Switch Island (Liverpool) are of soggy grey burgers and hugely oversalted rubbery chips washed down with buckets of weak Sprite - enough to temporarily sedate a hyperactive 14-year old perhaps but not exactly what you would call gourmet. But as with many things Americanised or American-influenced in this country, we are far, far behind in adapting to the latest trends and improvements. Consider for example that Hawksmoor is the first proper (reasonably affordable) US-style steakhouse I've been to, and it only opened in 2006. And while the not-exactly-Einsteinian concept that people might want some decent grub alongside their game of ten-pin bowls was picked up on long ago stateside, it has taken (as far as I can tell) until the opening of All Star Lanes in Bloomsbury for the people of London to appreciate the same. Tucked away down a neon-lit stairwell somewhere under Southampton Row, visitors to All-Star soon find themselves in a pleasantly decorated low-ceilinged space with a rather exclusive feel. The theme is 50s American so there are lots of pin-up cartoons on the walls and waitresses in funny wigs. The bar was a nice spacious area to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail although the standard of the drinks themselves varied very much on which barman you got - my first margherita was lovely and sharp with a frothy lime surface, the second oversweet and flat. As for the food itself, this was generally of a more consistent quality. Star of the show as far as I was concerned was a brilliant Bourbon and Mint Milkshake, although whether you consider this technically 'food' is up to you. But skin-on homefries were also excellent, as were the burgers (I was told) and the cheese quesadillas. After Hawksmoor I'm afraid many steaks suffer in comparison and the rump here was no exception, cooked to the required rare but with no crispy char and consisting of tasteless, watery meat. My biggest problem with All Star wasn't the food or the drinks however, but the service, which was brusque verging on downright rude at times. After waiting a very reasonable ten minutes for my milkshake I politely asked the waitress of its whereabouts - "It's just coming!", was the belligerent reply, "the chefs make it from scratch, you know". Well, I would rather hope they would, but it's only a milkshake, not a Baked Alaska. Perhaps they were milking the cows by hand. Later on, as the effects of rounds of house cocktails and alcoholic milkshakes had their effect, the noise levels increased dramatically and I wouldn't recommend the venue for a romantic dinner for two. Most of our fellow diners appeared to be corporate-account office parties - indeed an entire section was booked for Merrill Lynch whose overindulged revellers were later making enthusiastic use of the gents to regurgitate their evening meals. But as a lighthearted night out where nothing is taken too seriously and nothing is too bad to really be worth complaining about, there is a lot going for All Star Lanes.Report this
11/05/2008 by Nathan
I have always loved bowling but have not done it enough because most of the venues are like going to Wimpy. All star lanes absolutely combines having a lovely drink with bowling and id happily go to do either or both. On top of all that the food and the restaurant itself is top quality. And the private lane function is brilliant for corporate events.Report this
31/03/2007 by Sarah_W
This is a really cool place to go bowling, very different from your edge of town megabowl type of experience. The atmosphere is more that of a trendy bar, and in fact the bar set off to one side of the bowling area is exactly that, with low level lighting and lots of red leather. Cocktails are excellent but don't come cheap, and the same has to be said of the beer (Coors at £3.00 a bottle) and food (I've not eaten here but plan to one day soon). There are just 4 lanes (so book in advance or expect to wait) and everything is very clean, high tech and efficiently run by the friendly staff. You pay £8.50 per person for an hour's bowling - well this is central London and it is a glitzy setting, so I think it's worth it. This is popular as an after work hangout. The location in Southampton Row halfway between Holborn and Russell Square tube stations is hard to beat - especially for me as I work right upstairs in Victoria House :)Report this
30/10/2006 by robcarter
I like this place but it suffers from that common London ail; being too bloody expensive. Four lanes open to the public, two more in a private room, a bar and a restaurant. Hidden crypt-style under the Bloomsbury Hotel. £8.50 per person per game - yea I told you it was rude. Cheapest drink is beer at £15 per bucket of 5 Coors. Too small to really have any hope as a pick-up joint but you never know. Also seems to be used A LOT by businesses on a night out. From memory the private room is £300 PER HOUR! I just like bowling and this place has new shoes, floors you don't stick to, good music, waitress service, no McDonalds or gold-earringed children. I like it - as I said but not a place to go if you ain't bowling. Or late in the month. Massively high percentage of girls now I come to think of it, also a seemingly excellent place for a classy first date judging by the number of fresh-faced young men awkwardly entertaining nervous looking young women. HINT: When they give you a piece of paper and ask you to write your name on it, write the name you would like to be displayed to the whole room. My partner effiently entered everyone's full name - this looked totally uncool. Everyone else's had cool nicknames (Jenjen) or at the very most just first names (Barbara). Our board displayed the full names of all our team - cringe. PS. This may be a plus or a minus but last time I went Jamie Theakston was there...lock up your daughters.Report this
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