“ Address: The Pavilion / Esplanade / Ryde / Isle of Wight / PO33 2EL „
For those who live or who are familiar to the Island will know LA Bowl well, for those that don't, here is a brief summary. The Island is still quite backward in many respects, we still don not have a decent 'venue' for live music and up until recently we did not have a bowling alley. In fact many now will say that LA Bowl doesn't really cut the mustard.
Situated on the seafront at Ryde is the Pavillion, an ageing dance hall that has been 'tastefully' remodelled into a bowling alley. That was several years ago now and the place is a bit rough around the edges.
As you walk into the Pavillion you are greeted with a selection of loud video games with an air hockey table. You know the sort - where all the chavs hang out. There is also a medium sized bar with an adjoining 'restaurant' that serves burgers and chips. The actual bowling is situated at the back of the pavilion.
One thing you are unlikely to forget is the quality of the decor. I don't think it has changed since opening in the early 90's. Theres ripped carpets, flaky paintwork and chipped balls (ooo er!). Only the shoes have been updated, as even up until recently the shoes looked like they just hopped off the set of 'Oliver Twist'.
The toilets are also a state and are crying out for work, but then they are used a lot by passing chavs who use the front foyer of the pavilion as a place to 'hang loose'.
That said, I do use the bowling alley at least every six months and it is cool place to go. As a teacher, I sometimes see the kids from school there a lot who love to shout 'MR BROWN!' at the tops of their voices, but it shows that people like going there. It obviously makes money as it always seems to be quite busy.
I've also been quite a few times with work, and the management puts on a buffet dinner and two games of bowling for everyone, and that usually works out at around a tenner, which I think is good value. Although, if you are on holiday and are used tor local megaplex cinema with bowling and bars, the LA Bowl may seem quite quaint.
The bowling experience is similar to other bowling alleys on the 'mainland', your usual alley with a collection of assorted weighted balls. The lanes are well kept, and if you want, or are disabled, then you can use the barriers or ball stabilisers.
If you really want, you can make a night of it as there is the 'Balcony', the town's local night spot. I'm sure The Balcony needs another review of its own, just to say it's the cause of a number of amusing incidents over the years - especially with tomflint and 'jjjj' being regular users.
On the whole, LA Bowl is good fun and a decent venue, its just a shame they haven't tarted it up recently, as its looking quite drab. I think someone needs to buy the place and strip it out totally and replace the ageing decor with some more modern furniture an amenities, as it looks a little bit like the inside of the The Brittas Empre.
LA Bowl, Ryde, Isle of Wight...
LA Bowl is the one and only place where you can play bowling on full sized bowling lanes. There are other places on the island where bowling is available but the lanes are smaller and I guess it would not be classes as proper bowling.
LA Bowl is situated on the esplanade along Ryde seafront. It is clearly visible from the road and easy to find with directions given on many sign posts. There is a large car park out the back of the complex with plenty of space even in the summer, even if the parking in charged.
LA Bowl itself seems rather shabby and run down inside the building there is a small arcade area with games machines and a few slot machines. There is a small bar which has plenty of sticky tables and in the summer there is seating outside. The café inside the complex is small and fairly greasy and only handy if you need a portion of chips when playing bowling.
There are around 22 lanes which you can bowl on and it is advisable to book before going as these do tend to get rather booked up. There are horrible sweaty shoes to hire and these must be worn when using the lanes unless you have your own correct bowling shoes.
The bowling alley is open all year round from 10am till late at night. It is all on a ground floor and easily accessible for wheelchair users as there are no stairs. The prices do vary depending on what night you play or indeed if you are paying per game or per lane per hour. I think the usual cost of one game for one person is around £5 which I think is a fairly reasonable price.
The LA Bowl complex also has a nightclub upstairs which is called "The Balcony". This is opening weekend nights and is again another rather sticky place to visit with cheap entry and cheap drinks it draws in many of the islands less desirable characters but I can confess to ending up there most of the time when I hit Ryde on a night out. They play different kinds of music depending on what evening it is and they have their own website so that you can keep up to date on events that are happening.
All in all I think that it is fair to say that although the whole LA Bowl complex is rather old looking and fairly run down it is certainly needed for entertainment here on the island. Offering a place to drink, eat, bowl and party all under one roof is not a bad combination and I would assume for it to still be going that it must make a nice bit of money each year.
I think a rating of 4 stars is apt for this complex and a slight recommendation to visit if you are in the area (especially in winter). It has a lot to offer and although could do with a re-vamp it is fitting with island life (all of which could do with a re-vamp).
I hope this has been of some help to you. Thanks for taking the time to read. xxx
I didn't suggest L.A Bowl (my guess it was 'adambrown43'), but seeing as it's only around 100 yards from my house, I thought I had better review it!
Located on Ryde Esplanade in the Isle of Wight, L.A Bowl is housed in the old pavilion building - a grand construction dating back to 1926. It was apparently made from the same mould as the Pavilion on the Isle of Bute, which was built two years earlier. In 1991 there was a controversial plan to knock the building down, and although the interior was removed, L.A Bowl stepped in to convert it to an entertainment facility. The back of the premises are literally a few yards away from the sea wall, and as such, the location offers decent views across The Solent.
Inside, the large open plan ground floor features twenty-two bowling lanes, a licensed bar which serves food, various arcade games, and a pool table. The bar serves reasonably priced drinks, and at most times is fairly quiet - that said, the premises do show live sporting events, and when an England football match is broadcast, the venue is completely packed and the atmosphere can be quite aggressive. The food is cheap and cheerful - baked potatoes and sandwiches etc -it's not a bad quality, but nothing special.
The general look of the interior decor is pleasant enough - although it doesn't seem to have changed at all from the day it opened. The bowling lanes themselves are in a good condition and staff are usually at hand in order to sort out any technical bowling problems which may occur.
Above L.A Bowl is 'The Balcony' nightclub, a place I used to visit regularly, but haven't been in there for a year or so. To be honest it seems to be a place which attracts Ryde's chav population, who flock to the building like it's a huge chav magnet (a 'chagnet'...).
L.A Bowl is the only place to go ten pin bowling in Ryde, and as such, keen bowlers don't have much of a choice if they fancy a game. The venue is a fairly pleasant place to be, and as long as you go at a quiet time, you can have a decent time there.
Come out with the gang, relax with a few drinks and through a strike or two!