The sheer number of students I’ve encountered this past year that have questioned why Sheffield’s city centre doesn’t have a bowling alley is astounding. It’s an activity that is ideal for a variety of different group excursions: from work do’s to kids’ parties, first dates and family outgoings, whether it be you’re a complete novice or view yourself as quite the expert, bowling is something that encourages anyone and everyone to just have a right good laugh.
Lane7 is a chain of bowling alleys that offers something very different to the Hollywood Bowl we’ve all visited as a kid, and Sheffield’s own opened on the 14th of December. Upon arrival, the whiff of fresh paint lingered in the air as we were warmly greeted by a member of the Front of House. Excitement kicked in as we were told we were amongst the first group of people to play in the new big-kids’ playground. We soon noticed the refreshing sound of genuinely good music, for we feared we’d be listening to one of the NOW CD’s on loop all evening. Yet instead, an array of different genres blared from speakers: From Cypress Hill to Stevie Wonder and the addition of DJ Koze’s Disco Edit of Operator, taking us all entirely by surprise.
Nostalgia hit from the get-go as retro arcade games and dance machines filled the venue’s space from all angles. Basketball fanatics were seen competing against their mates to see how many they could shoot, and others were making cheesy memories in the photo-booth. A cordoned off area offered established pool players the chance to show off their skills – something that our apprentice-levelled group failed to do as none of us played with any elegance whatsoever!
Onto the game of bowling itself, the rustic, vintage aesthetic really does set it apart from any other bowling alley seen before. With there being only a handful of lanes, it’s the perfect place for large groups to come along and feel like they have the place to themselves. Not only does your own screen give you live updates of scoring, it also tells you how fast you bowl in km/h, adding yet another element of competition to the game to see who can bowl with the most force!
Something different that Lane7 offers is the addition of electronic dart boards, offering games with five levels of difficulty. The curved off area with comfy booths and tables invites groups to have some time to get away from the hectic nature of the venue, and enjoy yet another game of something that isn’t often played by many.
The options available for food and drink were diverse to say the least and ensures all eaters felt accommodated for. With drinks, the standard bottled and draught beers were on offer with house wines available too. Something which I hadn’t seen prior to Lane7 were alcoholic milkshakes and slushies on the menu, giving those who fancy trying something unique the option to do so. Cocktails were available and at £7 a piece – they’re worth every penny.
Lane7’s kitchen, Fat Hippo, provides customers with anything from light snacks to full-on burgers, as well as giving those who crave something sweet after a meal the option of a dessert menu. The cost for food varies from £3 chips to £12 mains, allowing you to fIll your tum however you like for a reasonable price.
Lane7 is a place that is well worth the visit and one which took me by complete surprise. The staff were the most attentive I’ve seen for an entertainment establishment, as they genuinely wanted to know how things were and what could be improved upon – which was nothing at all! For those who fancy something a bit different to going to the pub or a night out, Lane7 is the place to be and can be found on Matilda Street, Unit 5, which is situated just off The Moor.
As it is such a new place, it is recommended to book ahead especially with it opening in such a family-orientated time of year. It is well worth the visit.