“Mummy, is this really a bowling place?” The Girl asked after we’d put our snazzy bowling shoes on at The Dog Bowl, in Manchester.
“Yes,” I said looking around at the bowling lanes and the brightly coloured balls with numbers on them. “It really is.”
“Are you sure, mummy?”
“Because it’s got dog bums in it!”
And it does, it really does!
I’ll admit, I sniggered too.
But it’s not just its awesome bowl dispensing machines that make this place. I’ve been to my fair share of large bowling type establishments. You know the ones, the places with the sticky carpets, the deafening crashes of balls hitting skittles in the 20 or so lanes, nasty fast food and the drinks served in plastic glasses because you obviously can’t be trusted with the real thing.
And that’s if you manage to get to the bowling part of the building at all what with the flashing, beeping machines on the way in calling to the children to dispense all of mummy’s money into them.
Dog Bowl was the exact opposite of that bowling nightmare.
For a start it was clean. Really clean and didn’t smell. And your feet didn’t stick to the floor which is always a plus.
And the shoes were actually kinda snazzy.
It’s open really late – you can bowl until 2am according to our waitress. Children are allowed in until 5pm. The price is about on par with other bowling alleys with a family of 2 adults, 2 children costing £22 off peak.
There are only 5 lanes in an intimate, narrow building that’s part bar, part restaurant and part bowling alley. It was all very put together and trendy looking.
The bowling was ace. It had all the things you’d expect of a new bowling alley – electronic bumpers that come up for the people that need them and a stand thingy (yes, that is its technical name) for the kids to aim better.
They even had waiter service for drinks to the table at your lane. And the drinks came in actual glass rather than plastic.
We had a ball.
After bowling was lunch. And what a refreshing change from the usual god-awful food you get at these places. The menu was very American with things like Fajitas, burgers, sandwiches and food from the grill. The prices were more than I’d normally pay for a meal out to be honest – between £8 and £15 for burger and chips is a bit steep for us.
The kids menu was cute and had some lovely choices on it and you got starter, main, desert and soft drink for for £6.50 which isn’t bad at all.
It smelled delicious and when the food came we weren’t disappointed.
The only disappointing thing about the menu was the deserts. The kids got a lovely choice of desert or either churos, ice cream or brownies. For the adults there was only Sundaes and Milkshakes. I would have loved a brownie or some churos.
All in all, a lovely afternoon out and we’d definitely go back.
Dog Bowling is very easy to find in Manchester, just a short 5-10 min walk from Castlefield/Deansgate tram stop down Whitworth Street (past the railway arches where the comedy club is).