“ Ten pin bowling centres. „
On a weekend visiting my boyfriend in Norwich, we found ourselves with loads of free time on the Sunday before my train and not much to do. After having lunch at Wetherspoons, we decided to have a couple of games of bowling at Hollywood Bowl due to it just being across the way.
I had never been to a Hollywood Bowl before but as we got there and asked for a lane, I decided I was glad for this. For 2 games each at around 1pm, it cost nearly £20. The bowling alley I have been to in Nottingham costs around £15 for us both for 3 games on a Saturday night. Hollywood Bowl does have offers on for different days and times but unfortunately there was none for a Sunday afternoon for us. I don't know whether this is just me thinking it is expensive in comparison with Nottingham though or whether it is expensive to others as well though.
After getting ourselves a lane and our shoes (hire is included in the price) we headed over to start our games. Starting a game means having to put in your names/ initials on the computer but unfortunately, ours didn't want to let us. We had to call someone over to reset the lane so we could actually play for what we paid for. The staff were quick and efficient in doing this and it makes me wonder if they have this problem a lot. Even though each side of our lane was empty, the rack was filled with different coloured bowling balls so we had to get rid of most of them as none were what we wanted to use. Just behind the lanes though are racks of bowling balls so it wasn't far to take them but it was a bit annoying when no one else was playing in that area.
What I didn't realise about Hollywood Bowl is how much they have to offer apart from bowling. In the Norwich branch, there is also pool, a small arcade, a café, a bar, they play sports on big screens and much more. This particular Hollywood Bowl also has a Costa Coffee. Although we didn't use any of these extra things, I thought it was great that there was a lot to do. Some children might get bored of only bowling so it was good that there were arcades and air hockey etc to keep them entertained. I wouldn't like to take a guess at what these extras cost though.
Unless going at night, I'm generally not a fan of eating where I bowl but I did have a look online at their menu for food and it doesn't look too bad. There are plenty of offers on drinks and food. For £9.95 you could get either 4 burgers or 4 hot dogs with chips and a jug of soft drink which would be fantastic for a family and it would be easy to eat as well. You can also get a jug of coke for £3.99 which I would do if I was going with a few people. That would be cheaper and easier than buying individual drinks. If you don't want to eat from the café though, there are also vending machines even though the prices are insane. My boyfriend bought a Mars Bar and it cost 75p!
Although we didn't have too much interaction with the staff at this branch, apart from someone coming to sort out our computer, they were friendly enough. When booking our lane and getting our shoes, the staff did their job but didn't go out of the way to make us feel welcome and they weren't all that cheery either. I think if the staff was a bit more enthusiastic and happy it would make the experience here a lot more enjoyable. While I enjoyed my couple of games of bowling, I have been to better and nicer bowling alleys and would prefer not to go here again.
Monday 10am - Midnight
Tuesday 10am - Midnight
Wednesday 10am - Midnight
Thursday 10am - Midnight
Friday 10am - Midnight
Saturday 10am - Midnight
Sunday 10am - Midnight
Hollywood bowl at Bently Bridge. Near to Wolverhampton
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. The negative points about the place didn't totally ruin my night, I had heaps of fun with the people I was with It's just, I really REALLY hate being taken for a mug, even if it is only a few pounds or so.
I would go there again, however, I would be a little more prudent with my cash, and would just buy the 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.
Mention Hollywood Bowl to any serious bowler and you will most likely get a look of considerable disgust.
I am a serious league player, who competes in tournaments and I have also competed internationally. This has led me to expect certain standards when I go bowling. These include well maintained lanes and helpful staff and I can honestly say that this has never been the case for me at any Hollywood Bowl. I have always experienced poorly maintained lanes, leading to breakdowns and when I go to ask for help, the staff generally can't seem to be bothered. The few that do try to help seem to lack the basic knowledge you would expect, for example when you ask them to re-spot a pin, they give you blank looks.
When I go to practise, I understand that I am not going to get a quiet centre and that they need to make money and that obviously the general public will be there. Most members of the general public are respectful of the fact that you are on a lane next to them and will stay on their own lane and not cross to yours. However, some are not and on occasion I have asked staff to speak to people on the lane next to me and ask them not to come onto mine. After all, I have also paid for my lane and time. At Hollywood, the staff don't seem to understand my problem and think I should deal with it. They don't understand that it's a matter of H&S - if I am mid-approach swinging a 15lb ball, I can't stop if a child steps in front of me. Scary stuff.
That has all been said with my serious head on. I can see why Hollywood Bowl is popular as a leisure establishment as they do special offers, have a good bar, have a snackbar and plenty of arcade machines, in addition to the bowling. I feel that they should stick with what they do well - a fun, family day out and not try to appeal to the more serious player.
Tenpin Bowling for most is a leisure pursuit once or twice a year perhaps.
Somewhere to take the kids and keep them entertained for a little while. I understand that Hollywood Bowl has been around for about 15 years.
In my opinion cosmetically and technically Hollywood Bowling Centres are far more advanced/modern than say AMF or TENPIN. They look
great. They have lots of facilities - cafe, bar, arcade and most centres in the country have 22 - 24 lanes. Bowling balls are colour coded in weights.
I use my own bowling ball which is 11.5lbs and smells of bubblegum (no really it does!).
For young children or for anyone who may struggle to bowl using the three finger holes in a bowling ball. Hollywood Bowl have a piece of equipment you can place your bowling ball on at the top and then push/roll it off. I tell you if you want strikes it's pretty reliable!
Location can be a bit of an issue especially if you don't drive. Like my partner and I. We have to catch two buses to get to the Bowling Centre. Most Hollywood Bowls are located on out of town trading estate. I think this is a shame in some respects as you're potentially losing customers.
I'm a regular tenpin bowler at the minimum once a fortnight. Why? Because I play for a tenpin bowling league. My local tenpin bowling centre is 'Hollywood Bowl' hence my review. So before you get to the bowling centre the first thing you need to do is arrange it.
You may prefer to pop in to your local Hollywood Bowl and see if a lane is free. If like me you can't take this chance because you're playing a league game then you can either phone up and book or use the online booking facility.
Unfortunately Hollywood Bowl's technical team are yet to grasp the fact. Sometimes people will want to book more than one lane and they'll
want to be next to each other!
However unlike TENPIN, Hollywood Bowl do take your card details but will not take your money before you have even made it to the Bowling Centre.
I was pretty disappointed when on a one occasion we booked to play at TENPIN in Devon and the robbing so and so's took my money weeks before our game! Because I was the team member who booked the lane it all came out of my account instantly. It probably was in the small writing before you put me in my place...
Hollywood Bowl take you card details in case you do not turn up and that's only if you book online. You don't actually pay for your games until you get to the Centre. A much better idea in my opinion.
££ PRICES ££
ADULT (per game)
Off peak: £2.75
JUNIOR (Under 16's)
Off peak: £1.95
Over 55 Off Peak: £1.80
Student Off Peak: £1.95
FAMILY TICKET (1 Game)
Off Peak: £8.00
FAMILY TICKET (2 Games)
Off Peak: £12.00
Unless there are offers on Tenpin Bowling at Hollywood Bowl can be quite expensive.
When you're looking at Hollywood Bowl offers make sure you read the small print.
For example on the front page of their website at the moment there's an advert for KIDS EAT, DRINK AND BOWL February Half Term £3.95
This offer is on between the 15th & 19th February and before 6pm. The drink included in this offer is a Fruit Shoot they kindly add any flavour!
There are four meal choices available:
Chicken Nuggets with chips
Kids' Burger with chips
Fish Fingers with chips
Pasta with garlic bread
A really good offer Hollywood Bowl have been doing for a while is 6 games for £6 per person. This offer is available
10am - 3pm Monday to Friday
3rd game for only £1 Sundays to Thursday after 6pm
The Bar: Drink prices are pretty average compared to any pub in the centre of a town. The selection of alcoholic drinks is okay. They sell my WKDblue so I'm happy anyway!
WEBSITE - www.hollywoodbowl.co.uk
The Hollywood Bowl website is bright pink and very vibrant. Looks like it's aimed at young families.
On the website you have the following subsections:
find a bowl
how to book
cafe and bar
offers and news
email newsletter (worth signing up for latest deals)
jobs with us
I hope most of the links above are self explanatory and if you want to find out anymore you can follow the link I provided. I really wanted to give an overview of Hollywood Bowl rather than the website its self.
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It's actually a very expensive hobby. It doesn't help working full time and living miles from the centre! It's really one of those things. Depending on who you are. Where you live. Your finances. They all can have an impact on
a visit to a Hollywood Bowl Centre.
In my personal opinion it's great. Despite the money and timing. We (partner and I) have a great time socially with friends and have made it to the finals in competitions so have played nationally too. You have to remember also that this is coming from someone who owns their own bowling ball and shoes (those two factors can be enough to put some people off!).
Sometimes the machines play up and it can be very frustrating and depending who's on duty depends on the outcome. I can't tar all Hollywood Bowls with the same brush some staff at our local centre are fantastic others are damm right rude and really need to brush up on their customer service skills.
For example on one occasion I was told the reason the machine broke done was because the ball I was using was to heavy for me! Well in fact it wasn't and he didn't have a clue but his manner towards me was not pleasant and if it wasn't for being in a league I wouldn't return to the Centre!
A positive example would be people knowing us by name and offering us discounts because we are regulars. Also it's nice when the staff come to your lane and ask if you'd like another drink rather than waiting at the bar to be served. Which believe me can be a very long wait. There isn't always someone working at the bar and it's not until someone notices your stood there looking fed up that they rush over to help!
When we play our league games we like to be able to concentrate and sometimes that can be impossible. I love kids but when their not yours and when they decide to walk into your lane just as your lining up for your go. It
really starts to test your patience.
I quite often get quite protective over my bowling ball too. Because it doesn't look like the house balls people always look like they are about to pick it up and use it. So when and if you decide to go bowling try and pick quiet times. If you like me work full time Monday to Friday. Then good luck because they are the quiet times!
Yet to try Hollywood Bowl? why not give it a go and see what you can bowl!
My dad has been promising to take my 10 year old sister bowling for about 6 months now but he's not got round to it. A couple of weeks ago I was supposed to take her to see JLS, Sugababes and loads of other acts at the cock up BRMB Christmas lights switch on in town, you might have heard about it because there was a mad crush as all the little tweenagers kicked off in excitement at seeing the "multi-talented" JLS. My sister was mega disappointed so my dad offered to take us all bowling instead.
We've got a Hollywood Bowl up the road in Rubery, Birmingham so turned up there at about 2 in the afternoon. Because we only wanted one game they were able to squeeze us into a lane but it's deffo advisable to book if you're visiting at the weekend as we were lucky to get a game and was nearly turned away because it was so busy.
The prices are brill compared to a bowling alley I went to with my mate in Star City last year, we spend nearly £100 between us just having a couple of games and drinks in the bar! Mega expensive, I wish I could remember the name so I could tell you to avoid them! lol
We got a family ticket for £13.00 at Hollywood Bowl and that wasn't bad value I don't think because it was for the 4 of us, we should have paid individual prices really but I realised I used to go to school with the girl who worked there so she put me through as a child! lol When we got to the lane some of the buttons on the console weren't working so we had to go to the place where you pick up the sexy bowling shoes for them to input our details.
This wasn't a problem and it saved us trying to suss the console out! lol There were loads of bowling balls that were of all different sizes and weights available, plus at the back of the bowling hall there is a load of shelves that holds even more balls for you to choose from. My fave is the orange ball because I can hold that one comfortable but there are also loads of the massive heavy green balls there that my dad prefers to use.
After we'd finished bowling we went for a bite to eat in the cafe. It's very clean and tidy, the choice of food isn't massive but it's just right for this sort of place with burgers and fries available in all different options as well as nachos and stuff like that. I didn't take a lot of notice of the price but I know that for us all to have a small meal it wasn't as dear as I thought it was going to be, there are quite a lot of special offers and they will save you a good bit of money if there's quite a lot of you there.
There's a bar in this Hollywood Bowl, none of us had an alcoholic drink but it looks like there is a lot of choice in there. I don't know what the prices are like but I reckon it'll be the usual overpriced drinks that you get in these sort of places. They do a lane service where you can order food and drinks to be brought to your bowling lane, that's a wicked idea and saves you interrupting your game to go to the bar or get a snack.
The arcade is brill in Hollywood Bowl, I got my name in the top 5 for Guitar Hero for playing Poison by Alice Cooper and my sister played on the dance mats. The prices were reasonable and most things were £1.00 a game, that's loads better than the one I was telling you about in Star City because they wanted £2.00 - £3.00 per game in there.
This Hollywood Bowl is very clean and there wasn't any youths in there making trouble like happened in Star City. The girl on the till said they want to concentrate on families there so they turn away big groups of youths and if anyone turns up drunk they don't let them in either. I think that's good because these sort of places can get a bit over the top sometimes but the atmosphere was dead nice in here and kids could run round without having to worry about them too much.
If you want to look for specific offers or prices then you can go to www.hollywoodbowl.co.uk and check it all out.
In August I had the pleasure(?) of going bowling with the wife and 4 of her work colleagues... all of whom are civil servants. After several visits to the intended venue, dozens of health and safety assessments and a mountain of paperwork, we eventually set out to Hollywood Bowl in the Centertainment complex in Sheffield...
It was over 2 months ago that we last went now (thanks must go to dooyoo for (finally) adding my request) and the drinks were flowing so my memory might be a little hazy in places...
We went bowling on a Friday night and met at the alley at around 8pm, having booked a lane for 9pm. The Hollywood Bowl in Sheffield (like many others, I'd presume?) has its own large bar area that serves your usual array of alcoholic and soft drinks. They had Budweiser and Becks Vier on tap, as well as Strongbow and a couple of others that I can't remember now.
A pint and a coke was somewhere around £4.50, which isn't too much of a rip-off for a place like this. They also had some offers on bottled beers, 4 for £10 I think it was, but I've never really understood why you'd choose a 330ml bottle when you can have a 568ml pint for roughly the same price.
After an hour of chatting (mostly about the civil service - what is it with civil servants only being able to talk about work... we have 5 of them in our family and they never shut up about it! Grr! It's boring!!)... sorry about that... after an hour of chatting we went to the front desk and booked onto our lane and changed into our bowling shoes.
We were on lane 19(ish) and the building probably has room for about 25-30 lanes, so it's a pretty big place. As I was the only person there who wasn't a civil servant, I took the initiative and entered all of our names on the computer (none of the others had had the necessary training, or gained the correct health and safety certificate to use the computer). It was then time to bowl.
I'm sure everyone's been bowling before, so I'll not explain the ins and outs of the game for you, but I will tell you that Hollywood Bowl is quite funkily lit-up after dark - they have fluorescent lighting which makes your clothes shine and really adds to the experience. It's probably not appreciated by proper bowlers, but it's great for people who are just looking for a bit of fun!
Each lane has bumpers that you can raise (good for the women) and a very handy button that you can press to call a waitress over to get you some drinks from the bar! In fact, almost as soon as we'd started bowling, one of the said waitresses approached us and told us about a special offer they had on... a pint and a burger... for 75p! No that wasn't a typo, and no it's not the result of hazy memory... a pint and a burger for 75 English pence! How can you go wrong with that? The burger was lovely and the pint washed it down pretty nicely too.
On the negative side, I nearly went a over t twice in the gents thanks to the combination of a rather large puddle of water and my incredibly funky bowling shoes. I think that's the only negative of the night though.
It cost us £17 per couple for 2 games of bowling. As I've already said, the drinks weren't too expensive and the burger and beer offer was fantastic. We spent a couple of quid in the arcade afterwards, where they have shooting games, dancing games, driving games and air hockey, but I think I'm just a bit too mature to be playing these.
All-in-all a good night was had. And I won the bowling, in case you wanted to know.