“ Address: Glyndwr Rd / Cwmbran / NP44 1QS / United Kingdom / Tel: +44 1633 867744 „
Bowlplex is a chain of family run, ten pin bowling alleys. It was first established in 1984 and currently has 18 centres across the UK, 14 situated in England, 2 in Scotland and 2 in Wales.
The centre I'm going to review is Bowlplex Cwmbran. It has only recently opened providing the youth of the local area with something more to do... and the adults too.
The centre is located just off Cwmbran town centre, it's easy to find and has plenty of free parking nearby.
I visited the centre for the second time on a Saturday night. Though it's open Monday - Friday 10am until late; and Saturday - Sunday 9.30am until late. (Late being around 12.30am)
The prices range from £3.70 and £2.70 a game off peak for adults and juniors respectively to £5 and £4.35 a game during peak time. However there are lots of offers including "Munch and Bowl" and £10 per person unlimited bowling after 10pm. The latter is the deal we opted for as we arrived at 9pm. For more pricing and to book online visit http://www.bowlplex.co.uk/
As well as the 20 lane bowling alley, the centre has a late licensed bar with plenty of seating, a large screen for sporting event coverage, American style pool tables, an arcade, vending machines, fruit machines and the Bar & Grill where you can eat.
If you would like to guarantee yourself a lane you can either ring up at least 24hours in advance or can book online and check availability on the website. We rang up a few hours before and although the staff member advised us we couldn't book at such short notice, he did tell us that the lanes were quite empty and there would be quite a few free if we were to just turn up.
Me and my boyfriend were meeting my friend and her boyfriend for a few games of bowling and had decided to meet at 9pm. After discussing with a staff member however, we opted for the 10pm bowling option so decided to relax and chat in the bar for an hour. My first concern was the fact I wasn't ID'd at the bar when I bought us a round... although I'm 20 I certainly don't look it and usually get ID'd for lottery tickets(!!!) and considering how I was dressed down in a Mickey Mouse Tee and trainers I thought I looked younger than usual. Though after 9am under 18s aren't allowed in unless accompanied by an adult so perhaps she thought I'd already been questioned about my age.
After buying our drinks we were quite shocked at the cost of 2 WKDs, £6.20! ...though we later did notice an offer of 4 bottles for £10, so we could've saved a few pennies. Another good deal was a four pint pitcher of lager for the price of three pints, only £8.10!
The seating was quite varied; there were big cushy sofas and coffee tables, tub chairs and small round tables, and high tables with stools. More than enough space to accommodate. We were slightly irritated by a bunch of rowdy girls sat near by but the alley doubles as a bar on the weekends due to it's late opening, under 18s rule and loud current music.
The process is simple enough, go to the counter and pay, tell the assistant your shoe size and swap your shoes for the clown like bowling shoes. We were placed in lane 8 and quite happy that although the place was quite full, the lanes either side of us were empty so we had our own space. Setting up the board and entering names was easy and soon enough we were away. After a few games, we realised my boyfriend was pretty good and the rest of us weren't so we had an assistant programme our lane to put the bumpers up when it was our turn and for them to go down when it was his turn. Crafty ey!
After about 4 games though, me and my friend got a little bored, we were suffering backache and nursing broken nails so decided to leave the competitive boys to it and go off on our own.
I think this only runs during the week as it was on the first time I went which was a Friday. It wasn't on when we went on a Saturday. Perfection is basically a game which each occupied bowling lane is involved in. The first time we played we won and didn't even realise we had played until "Lane 7 wins" was flashing on a large screen at the end of the lanes. The aim of the game is to be the first lane to have a perfect round; this includes getting a strike, double strike, split and spare. The computerised screen automatically ticks off each lane as they score. Prizes include lollipops, teddies and inflatable guitars. It's a fun concept and made us very competitive!!
In my opinion it's quite expensive. As you enter the arcade there is a change machine in which you put your coins and in return receive tokens for use within. £1 will give you two tokens and every game/machine asked for two tokens... even the prize grabbers which are usually 20p-30p elsewhere. We (stupidly) stuck 4 tokens into the dance machine, oh dear what a mistake! Just short from ending a crumpled heap on the floor, we managed to fail the game after just 1 level, knackering ourselves out and wasting 4 tokens. I also made the silly mistake of changing £1 into 2 tokens for a quiz machine only to realise it accepted coins, duh!
Despite the expense, it is a lot of fun and there's something for everyone. Dance mat for the girls, racing/shooting games for the boys, prize grabbers for the young'uns and quiz machines and fruit machines for the adults.
I was very impressed with Bowlplex, you don't even have to bowl to enjoy yourself, there's plenty there for everyone. I had a fantastic time on both occasions and will visit again soon. It's fun for people of all ages and the perfect place to host a bowling party. It's very well presented with plenty of staff about who are on hand to help and with security guards at the entrance to keep the rowdy folk in order. It also has a lift down (the centre is down a flight of stairs) which allows for disabled access. There are lots of offers and fun to be had here. I would definitely recommend it to absolutely anybody!