One thing you guys may not know about me (No, not the dressing in womens clothes thing), is that I used to be a pretty decent tenpin bowler when I was younger. OK, decent might be stretching it a bit, but I won some junior tropies and medals.
Stay with me on this review as it’s a bit of a ‘tale of two reviews’ kinda thing… All will be explained.
Back in late 2015, Hollywood Bowl in Leeds had a very cool, very flashy and very expensive revamp and I was invited to take the family to check it out. The invite said… “Work has completed on a £500,000 refurbishment of Hollywood Bowl. The redesigned Centre reveals a ‘new generation’ Hollywood Bowl, complete with 32 fully computerised lanes, new plush leather seating, a fabulous new ‘Hollywood Diner’ and bar, and dazzling new décor celebrating all things Americana.” Sounds cool, right? Sadly I couldn’t make it as we were on holiday on the day of the re-opening so sadly declined. Obviously the PR had heard of my bowling prowess (probably not) and insisted that if I could make it another date they would gladly have us another time. A date and time was arranged and here’s where my first review kicks in and it wasn’t good at all.
We arrived at our designated time however nobody knew we were coming and when I explained that I had been advised I would recieve a complimentary game for me and my family I was met with blank looks.
We were eventually set up on a lane only for the lane to break down after 2 frames (These things happen). This was resolved and we started our game again….until frame 6 when again the lane switched itself off.
Instead of it staying off like before, the screen came back to life with 6 empty slots (There was only 4 of us) and then I realised that there was a family waiting to get onto our lane! We were only half way through our game and another family had been allocated our lane, not good! After waiting far too long for the manager to appear we made the decision to abandon our game to avoid this poor family waiting longer than they already had.
It was fine, we’d had our game and the kids were getting restless and it was at this point I realised the food we had ordered hadn’t arrived yet, not very good at all.
I eventually tracked the manager down (I’m guessing we weren’t the only one with issues) and explained what had happened. He was understanably apologetic and arranged for our food to be served in the diner area. The food was cold, late and by this time we just wanted to get out of there.
The manager did offer us another game in the VIP section (Which I assumed we would have been in anyway as that was part of the relaunch) but due to time and the kids being restless we politley declined in exchange for a voucher for a game sometime in the future.
I didn’t write a review at the time as quite frankly I’m a crappy blogger and leading upto Christmas, I didn’t get chance then it dissapeared into the ether where most of my posts end up going! But, I did contact the PR and advised her of all of the above and explained that I would be publishing the above info. She, like the manager, offered her apologies and asked if we would give them another chance.
I’m not a monster and of course I love a good game of bowling, so I got in contact recently and asked if the offer was still available. Here’s where my second review kicks in.
Again, we arrived at our specified time but this time, they had been pre-warned and had a VIP lane ready for us.
We got ourselves situated, the wife put our names into the computer and we were off.
No glitches. No computer failures. No people trying to get onto our lane. Just nothing, but bowling.
We had a blast. The kids loved every second of it.
We were given two games which if I’m honest is a little too much for a four and a three year old. But they soldiered on.
We ordered food and although this again took far too long, it arrived at our lane and we managed to enjoy while we played.
All in all, the second visit was exactly what I had hoped the first visit would have been. Good family fun.
Universal bowling balls: Back in my day you had to find the right weight ball with the right sized finger holes. Now they have 1 ball with mutiple hand sizes! Genius! (Possibly just for VIP)
No clown shoes: Everytime I have been bowling in the past you have to exchange your own shoes as a security deposit for a pair of bowling shoes (Obviously they get a lot of theiving clowns). No more, if you’re wearing decent footwear you can bowl in those!
VIP: You did feel a little bit special having a private lane. It comes with somewhere to store your belongings so it didn’t take up room on the very comfy sofas. VIP lanes come in twos, so I imagine booking both lanes as part of a group would make for an amazing party.
Food selection: The menu is pretty vast and it took us a while to choose what to eat. (It wasn’t all good with the food). I will however suggest you try a milkshake. They are worth every penny!!
The quality of food. On both occassions the food dissapointed me. (Must add here that the wife ordered an Halloumi burger that she thoroughly enjoyed, but the rest wasn’t great0. The food was tepid in temperature, it took far too long to arrive and it reminded me of those microwavable burgers you can buy from a petrol station that had been cooked and left to go stale and cold.All in all we eventually enjoyed the hollywood experience at Hollywood Bowl and it was clear that whatever issues they had on the first visit were simply teething issues with a new system.
So, when the weather turns gloomy again, we may well hit the lanes again at Hollywood Bowl.
Just for the record… not that I’m gloating but here were the scores…
Good job the wife isn’t competetive!…oh wait, she is. 🙂