Tem pin bowling has been Monkey’s choice for a birthday party treat for the last few years. Every time we go, we say we must go more often. We aren’t very good at keeping that promise! Time to change that with a family trip to Hollywood Bowl Oxford.
Previously known at Bowlplex, the Hollywood Bowl in Oxford has recently undergone a half a million pound refurb and opened again last month. Situation on the Ozone Leisure Park opposite the Kassam Stadium, it’s easy to find and offers a large free, car park too. There are 24 bowling lanes, an American style diner and bar, and arcade style games too. One very excited Monkey was looking forward to a game of bowling and some lunch.
When you enter the Hollywood Bowl you are greeted by loud music to get you into the party atmosphere. I was worried about how Monkey would cope with this as he struggles in noisy environments. But he coped with it better than we did. Daddy P and I both thought the volume was just too loud. The staff were very helpful but I really struggled to hear the instructions they were giving to us.
The good new for Monkey, he could wear his white soled shoes. Phew! We’d had a meltdown at our local bowling alley when it was suggested he needed to wear their shoes. I’d come in sandals armed with socks so knew I’d be wearing bowling shoes. Daddy P was very impressed that Hollywood Bowl could accommodate his size 14 feet, and he and I quickly laced up at our lane. We were ready for battle, or should I say, a friendly game of bowling. The staff set everything up for you, game board, side barriers etc, and took our drinks order.
Monkey still prefers to use a frame when bowling, I think he’s totally sussed that this gives him a good advantage! There were loads of them around and he was soon knocking the pins over with relish.
Monkey loved every single minute of the bowling. He especially loved thrashing both of us. We were trounced well and truly! It was the first time we’d bowled with just the three of us, and we said, in future we’d book two games. Let’s face it Daddy P and I clearly need the practice.
We asked for a copy of our score sheet for the ultimate humiliation. We could have ordered food to eat whilst we bowled, in hindsight that might have been a better option. But we’d spotted the Pink Cadillac in the American Diner and it was calling us.
After a game of bowling, Monkey was starving.
The menu offers a variety of options – burgers, hotdogs, salads and the like. Monkey opted for the Junior Slider Burgers with cheese on the side (2 mini burgers served in mini buns with crunchy veg sticks and fries) and Daddy P and I opted for the Beverly Hills Burger (topped with mushroom, peppers, crispy onion and BBQ sauce). I was advised at the time of ordering that there would be a wait time of 30 minutes. A little longer than I’d expected given that the venue wasn’t overly busy, but luckily I’d got a snack for Monkey to keep the hunger at bay.
I sent Daddy P and Monkey off with a few pounds to explore the arcade games to keep him entertained whilst we waited. There are a number of games available, and they had fun deciding what to try. A real treat for Monkey as I normally steer clear of this sort of thing entirely. They played a couple of games and received tickets at the end. These could be exchanged for points and points equal prizes. Monkey earned a pack of Haribos so he was quite happy.
Our food finally arrived and by this time we were all ravenous and looking forward to some tasty food. Sadly that’s not what we got. All of the burgers were dry and totally tasteless. There was no sauce in the Beverly Hills Burgers at all, and no sight of the crisp lettuce the menu mentions comes with all the burger options. The food didn’t look appetizing and it really wasn’t. It’s not often I leave somewhere wishing I’d had salad. It was such a shame, we didn’t bother ordering puddings.
A family trip to Hollywood Bowl Oxford was certainly a game of two halves. We all loved the bowling experience (music aside), it was slick, fun and the toilets were right by the lanes should a pit stop be required. We would definitely return for a rematch. The food, we wouldn’t bother with again, well certainly not the burgers anyway. I know Mummyshire visited recently and they opted for Hotdogs so maybe we should have followed their lead.
Monkey’s already asked when we can go bowling again, I guess I’ll be beaten again soon then!
Are you a family that enjoys bowling, any tips you can pass on to help my score??
disclosure: we were given a free game of bowling and lunch in exchange for an honest review.