London's best bowling alleys
With London branches in Bayswater, Brick Lane, Holborn and Westfield Stratford City, you’re never far from an All Star Lanes. The '50s Americana vibe is reminiscent of Bloomsbury Bowl, but look of All Star's venues is slightly more polished. Decide for yourself whether that's a good thing or not.
This newly revamped bowling alley has really run with the 'Hollywood' theme – an all-American diner offers burgers, hotdogs and milkshakes and the VIP lanes are decorated with the faces of film icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Harrison Ford. The bowling itself is set up using tablets and guests may wear their normal shoes to bowl in, though if you're partial to the sweaty red-and-blue slippers they do still have those available. If you're looking for post-bowling competitions make sure to hit the arcade which boasts four-player Mario Kart and plenty more.
This Finsbury Park institution offers so much more than bowling. As well as two floors of lanes you can play pool, spend hours on arcade games, sing karaoke, drink vodka slushies and dance to R 'n' B until inadvisably late. Prices are keen but if you're going at the weekend make sure to book ahead, and be prepared to pay an entrance fee from around 10pm.
North Greenwich may not be an obvious choice for a fun night out, but that could be about to change with the new opening of US import Brooklyn Bowl at the O2 Arena. Food-wise, the menu here is the same as in Brooklyn, serving up classic American fare including sloppy joes, oyster po’ boys, cajun catfish and fried chicken. Family Bowl sessions for all ages run on Saturdays and Sundays from midday until 7pm, with a kids' menu alongside the main one.
Venue says: “The final week of our summer day pop-up with Bump Rollerdisco! We've covered the rink with wood and can't wait to get our disco vibes on!”
The only place in London where you can chuck a strike and zip across an ice rink, Queens is aimed firmly at the families. As well as skating and bowling, there's also karaoke, hot food and a bar.
Okay, so it's not the most modern bowling alley in the city, and a visit necessitates a trip through what's surely one of the ugliest shopping centres on Earth. Still, by now this 26-lane establishment must surely be tatty enough to qualify as 'vintage', and if nothing else the prices are certainly right. Students who pitch up on a Monday or Tuesday can bowl for just £2.35 a game (or £5.95 for unlimited, all-day bowling), and there's generous mid-week deals for everyone else, too. Tackle the £3 quarter pounder at your peril.
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La Maison Maille
Amongst rows of impeccably kept shops in the grand old Piccadilly Arcade stands La Maison Maille, a chic boutique for foodies. Beyond the black and gold exterior lies row upon row of mustard pots, vinegar and the world's first mustard macaron. Since 1996 Maille has produced limited edition mustards. One that's particularly sought-after is their seasonal black truffle and chablis, which is sold in sandstone jars once a year – conveniently just before Christmas. Prices start from £5.50 per jar, £6.95 for vinegar, and £29 for that truffle chablis. You'll also find gift sets, accessories, dressings and few other items instore. Plus, you can have a handful of mustards pumped straight from the tap, like you're at a condiments pub.
Venue says: “The Maille Mustard Sommelier is there to offer you a taste.”