Since the 1960’s ten pin bowling has been the place to go for a night out of food, drinks and fun times.
Ten pin bowling was set apart from other leisure offerings by its technology and the offering of everything you need for a great night out – burgers, beer and bowling.
However, the last 15 years have seen a shift in the public’s dependence on bowling for their friendly rivalries and activity-based socials. Leisure operators sought to transform traditional games through cutting-edge technologies, allowing them to be accessible to the masses and offering viable alternatives to a night down the lanes. Furthermore, they realised that DINK millennials (Dual Income, No Kids) craved community and there was an appetite for spending more quality time with friends at the weekend.
If you’re going to spend your hard-earned cash on a night out you want it to be memorable. Quality food, cocktails and the chance to laugh the night away doing something unusual and fun. This transition opened the door to numerous innovations from boutique bowling and high end darts clubs to golfing themed cocktail bars and many more since then.
So, what is particularly special about darts, I hear you ask. The new tech-fuelled version of the game has opened it up to a whole new generation of players. The technology deals with all the boring aspects of the game: subtracting, chalk all over your clothes, disagreements over where the dart actually landed. But it’s not just that, casual darts offer interactive games that can played by many more than two people – unleashing wonderful opportunities for repeat visits for large groups of friends.
As well as specialist venues where stunning bars create the ultimate backdrop for a special night out where darts is the main event, casual darts can easily be incorporated into existing bars as well as new multi-activity venues.
The joy of casual darts is that its footprint is small. A venue only needs to allow 48 sq ft to be able to install a single lane of interactive darts making it ideal for pubs, bars and clubs.
Although both bowling and casual darts are able to cater for large groups of people and boutique alleys are able to offer the high-end cocktails and street-food style evening that is highly sought after, casual darts is making headway in other areas. Interactive darts, being games based, appeals to a wide audience and allows return visits to be unique. Despite the recent unveiling of the UKs first augmented reality bowling lanes at Gravity, Wandsworth, it’s going to be while before this extraordinary technology is on offer at your local bowling lanes.
Then there’s the footprint. With darts requiring a significantly smaller amount of space it makes it a viable option for a wide range of venues. We could also mention the initial financial outlay and the ongoing maintenance cost.
Although we don’t see darts clubs replacing bowling centres any time soon, we are seeing more pop up around the country, and we quite like it.