It's one of my favourite venues in Manchester; the hallowed All Star Lanes. I knew I already loved them when it was just a twinkle in Great Northern's eye, and they didn't disappoint me. Their 50s styling, friendly staff, American diner menu, constantly changing specials, and frankly outstanding cocktails really rock my socks.
It's probably one of my most frequently visited venues for all the reasons listed above, but they are also bang on the money when it comes to throwing a party! We booked the private lanes for my friend Lucie's 30th (have a nosy here), and went back over the Bank Holiday to sample the new Boozy Bowling.
How do you like this; two hours of unlimited bowling, booze and American bites for £35? Yeah, we thought it sounded pretty darn good. So off we trot, ready to don some amazingly unflattering shoes.
So this is how it works. On arrival you give your names, which are then popped onto the boards on the private lanes whilst you sort your hoofs out. We had our own little seating area, and two lanes meant that between four of us, we were pretty much constantly bowling with no waiting around. This in itself feels like a real treat! Granted, it also caused some interesting bowling induced bum cheek and tricep injuries the day after...
Pretzel bread with smokey cheese sauce and fries: That cheese sauce is like crack. I'm pretty peckish as I'm writing this, so this picture is utter torture. Probably bad timing. This bread is really soft but has that distinctive pretzel taste, and goes perfectly with the cheese. We thought that this looked like a lot of chips, which is funny, because we managed to snaffle the lot!
Southern fried chicken skewers with barbecue sauce and mac 'n' smoked cheese croquettes: Those beautiful words... 'Southern fried'. These dipped in barbecue sauce were just heavenly, and the probable cause of the snail who equally sauced me!
Mini corn dogs and deep fried rice balls: So much golden food... The thing is though, you're bowling hell for leather, so surely you are still in a calorie deficit at this stage! I lapped up those sticky rice balls dipped in the cheese from earlier.
Sliders - marinara meatballs with tomato sauce and pulled pork and 'slaw: We were getting really full by this stage. Just before these arrived, we had just had another round of pretzel bread, so our carb reserves we pretty well stocked. If these had come a little earlier, we would have been a little more successful at polishing the lot. Fret not though, for they were promptly boxed upon our server seeing how disappointed we were in ourselves.
Having been some of the first to try Boozy Bowling, the venue were also really keen to get our feedback on how this could be improved in the future, which I really liked.
Here's what my pals had to say about our afternoon of fun...
- We had the best time! The private lanes really add to the group activity, and meant that we weren't fighting to be heard over other people.
- Wasn't sure what to expect but very pleasantly surprised!
- We didn't expect the private lanes, and were absolutely thrilled when we arrived. Such a great idea.
- It was amazing! Loved the private alley, felt very indulgent.
- Our glasses were never less than half full, the staff were attentive without being overpowering, and the food came just at the right intervals.
- The private lane section was ace. The staff were amazing and so attentive (glasses never empty and all friendly and fun to speak to)
- Loved every minute, the staff were fabulous and didn't make us feel at all ashamed of our gluttonous behaviour