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Hollywood bowl. Bently Bridge
Me, my Boyfriend and a couple of friends decided we wanted a fun night out, so we thought that bowling could be a good idea for a nice change as we hadn't been in a good while. My friend suggested we went to Hollywood Bowl instead of the one nearest to us, as it is a bit more modern and cleaner.
So, off we went in my car, and drove to Bently bridge, ready to do some bowling, this is my opinion of Hollywood Bowl, in Bently Bridge.
The bowling alley is located on a shopping complex, which is divided up into shops, and a sort of entertainment side. It was in the latter area, along with a pub style restaurat, Chiquitos, a Subway, a Cineworld, and a few other bars etc. When we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it looked, the shops were lit up, and the area looked alive and bustling with people.
The centre is placed right on a large carpark, where parking is free, which I think is great, although, it is a little out of the way, so to attract people, I feel that free parking is a must have. We went on a tuesday evening ( in the 6 week school holidays) and I must say, the car park was very busy, it was quite difficult to find a parking space nearby, but in the end we found one and it was only a short walk, not a big deal really. The parking isn't really the fault of Hollywood bowl at all, it just shows how popular the complex is.
*Prices and Value for Money*
Prices we were offered were £9.95 each for two games of bowling, or for £12.95 we could have two games, plus an alcoholic/non alcoholic drink and food. This was quite a good price in my opinion, as the place we usually go offers a similar price, but the alley itself isn't as nice, and the facilities there aren't as modern.
All 4 of us paid the £12.95 expecting some okay grub, however, I was very dissapointed. What we recieved
was an oval plate with some nachos on it, absolutely covered in 4 dips. Chilli con carne, Mayonaise (looked more Philidelphia like) a Salsa dip and this green substance, which I decided was Guacamole dip. Considering each of us had paid extra for food, I was to put it politely, quite annoyed that all they gave us was this pathetic excuse for food, the dips were vile, and every nacho was covered in one dip or another. We paid an extra £3 for the food and drink, so I wasn't expecting miracles, but was starting to feel like they just threw the word food in to make the deal sound better. We had basically paid the £3 for the drink we received. The value of the food was no where near good enough.
However, I put this aside, and decided to enjoy the night with my chums!
We recieved 4 vouchers for our drinks, to redeem at the bar, as I was driving, I gave my voucher to my friend, to buy an extra alcoholic drink, and brought a soft drink, as they were cheaper. Plus we got an extra alcoholic drink instead of paying for it.
There is the main bowling area, which has a modern juke box, where your song choices (£1- 3 songs £2- 7 songs) are played throughout the centre, an arcade style area, where you play racing games, coin games and the like, and a bar area. The bowling alley also serves food.
-Toilets- The decor is attractive, and colourful, as well as being relatively modern, however, only about 2 cubicles of approx 10 doors actually locked, which I thought was quite a let down. On top of this, alot of the cubicles had no toilet roll in them, one or two, had even had the toilet roll holders ripped out! Sadly for me.. I realised this once it was too late, and had to call to a friend.. oops! Some of the taps didn't work, so you ended up trying each and everyone just so you could wash your hands. There is a sign in the toilet stating that they are checked regularly throughout the day. I was there from 7.30 pm until about 10.30 pm and visited about 3 times, and each time, they were in the same state, with mess on the toilet seats, and toilet tissue thrown on the floor everywhere. Not impressed.
-Arcade area- Had a selection of different games, and was quite good, after bowling we had a quick go on the Dance games. Shoot 'em up games, and shoot the duck games were there too. I liked this part quite a lot, added a little bit of childhood fun to the night! They were all lit up, and all of the games worked.
-Bowling Area- There were roughly 20 lanes for bowling, each with it's own seating area and TV screen. You can choose to have bumpers in the lane up or down for each player. They are automatic and flip up and down as each player takes their turn. This was a good feature, as with some older alleys, you either have them up or down, and that's that, usually needed an attendant to pull them up with a hook. The designs around alley were modern and pleasing, with clean new looking floors, and many varying weights of balls to choose from to suit every person.
Unfortunately, our area wasn't clean either. About six children had been let loose on it before hand with their hot dogs including ketchip and mustard. They carried on playing around us for a while until their parents had finished eating. Considering they had finished playing a while ago, noone had been around to check over the bowling areas to make sure they were clean, there was condiments all over the chairs and we had to find a few napkins to clean it up. By this point, I was starting to wonder what the staff were getting paid to do here.
-Snooker and Bar- This is a seperate area away from the alley and arcade area. There are about 4 snooker tables, and comfy sofas, and a bar. This looks relatively new, and has a more dark, and evening bar look to it. It seems a bit more grown up than the rest of the bowling centre, and has quite a nice look to it. I didn't go in there myself, but I looked in as I went past, as it has an open front to it and is sectioned off.
They were friendly enough, especially when we arrived. The girl there was polite and cheery as well as the man that sorted out our bowling shoes. When we ordered more food, as the food we already brought was substandard, they did come and collect the plates eventually, however, the general up keep of the centre, in terms of toilets and wiping over the surfaces every now and again really did let them down. You can make something as nice as you want, but if it isn't kept clean, it defeats the object of spending thousands of pounds on giving it all these gadgets and what not.
At the end of our games, we got a print out of our score boards. It is safe to say, I pretty much ruled the night! The cleanliness of the place didn't really bother me too much, as I'm used to seeing toilets in a worse state than that, however, it is a bowling alley, and wasn't super busy during the time I was there, it only needed tidying up. Especially with kids running around, you want things to be nice and tidy and safe for them, you dont want them picking bits of dirty loo roll up off the floor!
Apart from that I'd say any child would be well away walking into this place, the bright colours, the modern sleek design, and the general bright and happy look of the place I cannot fault. The deals they do need to be a bit more honest though, do be careful, as they dont specify how much food you get for the £12.95 offer with the bowling.
I would go there again, however, I would be a little more prudent with my cash, and would just buy thr 2 games, and maybe buy some food separately, it seems to work out cheaper. I give it 3 stars overall. It looses one for cleanliness, and loses another one for the food.