My bestie James Rodgers turned 23 the other day, I work next to him, live down the road from him and go on nights out with him so I really couldn't escape the birthday excitement. Since he's a boy and unorganised he set me the task to organise his day for him including his birthday party.
After a lovely lunch at Carluccio's with maybe a little too much wine for a work lunch, we got ready for the big birthday night which turned out to be one of the best parties we've ever been to.
I booked us 3 lanes at the All Star Lanes in Bayswater, you can book ahead with a guess of how many people you think may come and they're pretty flexible nearer the time as long as you don't go up in number so if you're unsure over order!
You can get there anytime before your booked lanes and sit in the bar area with a few cocktails which come in jam jars, very kitsch. Better yet they had a jam jar menu of £4 cocktails, we may have all sampled the menu a few times over!
Every Friday night they do a special where you can win a bucket of beer if you hit a red pin at the front of your pins. You call over a waitress who watches to see if you can do it, everyone chants your name and for me the pressure got to me every time!
They also have a DJ all night who mixes some classics including a good bit of Motown, with some chart and dance music, right up my street.
I know my name isn't traditional but it's not THAT hard to spell!
I completely lost at the bowling and lost attention span after realising I had no chance. However as we glanced over to the diner area, whispers began to spread around our group that everyone could see a rather recognisable face. After deliberating for a while we all decided who it was, none other than our Ginger Queen (as named himself in his bowling chart) that is Prince Harry. Yep, Prince Harry. Suddenly the party got even better.
Very blurry but we were trying to be slightly subtle!
What's more is as we all began to finish our games and cleared our lanes it soon became apparent that the booking on our lanes after mine was Harry's. We might have been a bit cheeky and slowed down the game on our lane so they started on the lane next to us. Therefore I can officially say that Prince Harry bowled on the lane next to us along with Sam Branson and Natalie Imbruglia, not a bad claim to fame I must say.
After all of this excitement we were escorted to the seating in the diner I had booked which just happened to be where Harry and his posse had previously been, they'd booked the same party as me but the other way round, I'm officially the best party planner!!
Anyway enough about Harry, back to All Star Lanes and the food!! We all sat down on the long booths and picked over what we should order, the food is classic diner food and all well priced for a London haunt. I went for the classic burger (come on you know me by now what else would I have?!) and it was delicious. I covered it with their burger sauce and I sat quietly enjoying it with James looking over at me intermittently to whisper 'best birthday ever!' in my ear. It's safe to say I didn't do too badly at organising his birthday.
(These two photos stolen from the lovely Mark Lowe)
I seriously could not recommend All Star Lanes more for a birthday especially if there's a group of you. It's so much fun and something different to just dinner or going out to a nightclub. I don't think they can promise Harry will be there everytime but they have an impressive shelf of celebrity signed bowling pins. I'd say Friday is best to go for the Bayswater location and comparing the Bayswater and Holborn locations I think I prefer the former, it's a lot bigger, more relaxed and much less busy. I tried to book Holborn first the Monday before our night and they were fully booked 7-2am they only have 3 lanes so big groups go to Bayswater. The staff is also lovely, oh and you get a free cocktail for the birthday boy/girl and even a card, unfortunately over the phone James came out as Jane but you can't win them all! Get all of the Bayswater info here.