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The ABCs of First Date Bowling

Monday May 8, 2017

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So, let’s say you’ve been along to one of Original Dating’s incredible speed dating nights and you’ve met someone who wants to go on a date with you, ace!

Now for the hard part, you’ve got to plan the date.  

But what makes a good date? I’m a firm believer in my ABC formula; A for activity, B for booze and C for chat.

Why you ask? Firstly, an activity is essential, and unless you are a stand-up comic or just incredibly fun to be around, I find an activity based date to be the best way to allow the conversation to flow take the pressure off - this is the linchpin of my formula.

Secondly booze. Whilst optional, it helps to take the edge of those first date nerves, and when I say booze, I don’t mean tequila shots, hammered by 8, home by 9 with one shoe, let’s be clear! But a drink in your hand can certainly help things along, even if it’s a non-alcoholic cocktail.

Finally, chat. The whole idea of dating is getting to know the other person, and sitting silently in a cinema isn’t going to help you.

This sounds obvious and of course, cinema dates have their place but that’s further down the line. Certainly not in the initial stages. You’re looking for an environment where you can speak freely and engage with one another.

In this series of ‘ABC’ blogs, I’m going to look at the many different activities across London that fit my ABC formula for first dates.

So, what’s an activity you can do on a date in London that fits the ABC formula?

First up we have Bowling. And who doesn’t love Bowling!

There are many places in London to bowl. Bloomsbury Bowl and All Star Lanes are just two off the top of my head.

Let’s look at All Star Lanes more specifically, as I recently went there myself on a date. Do they have a bar? Yes. There is, of course, an activity and you can definitely speak freely.

There’s also a restaurant if you fancy some American style grub too.

Assuming it’s just the two of you on the date, there’s no option for advance bookings with so few people in the party unless you book a meal beforehand.

No drama, stick your names down on the waiting list and grab a drink from the bar. That’s exactly what we did and it gave us the perfect opportunity to catch up, and get reacquainted (and for me to remind her why she wanted to go on this date before she sees my competitive side!).

The bar at All Star Lanes has mood lighting and the drinks are reasonably priced. We also got a bowl of chips to tide us over when waiting for our game, which was about an hour and coincidentally long enough to share some hilarious/embarrassing stories.

When it’s your time for a game make sure you’ve got a new round of drinks and make your way to the front desk. Now is not the time to realise you’re wearing odd socks as you get your bowling shoes, and gents don’t lie about the old shoe size unless you want your bowling to suffer, those things are slippy enough without you wriggling around inside them.

There’s an opportunity to have a bit of fun with your names on the screen (let’s just say ours were hilariously unflattering).

So now the game begins, you’ve had a drink and a catch-up, now is the time to really enjoy yourself, you can always do what we did and put a wager on the game to spice things up. Something like who buys the next round or depending on how well it went so far, who picks the next date, or even something a bit more R-rated.

The game itself won’t last all that long, you can choose how many games when you first put your names down, but one game one was enough for us. And the night is still young so there’s always time for a nightcap.

With reasonably priced drinks and at £10 a game each in the central location of Holborn, All Star Lanes is guaranteed to make sure you don’t strike out on your next date.

Check out our upcoming speed dating events and parties and you'll be planning your own first date sooner than you think.  



Stuart is one of our regular hosts and over the years has become something of an expert in dating. Watch out for his regular posts full of dating tips and advice.



The beauty of Speed Dating London lies in its no-nonsense approach. You take an equal number of single girls and guys, put them in a room and give them a few minutes to chat with every other member of the opposite sex.

When you get there

Original speed dating events in London normally begin at 7.30pm. You will need to register with our hosts and to begin with they will issue you with a score sheet. This will help you to keep track of the singles that you would like to meet again and perhaps go on a date with. After a short period of mingling, your host for the evening who will run through detailed instructions and give you your starting position if you are a guy or table for the event if you are a girl.

Meet & Mingle

A London speed dating event is split into two halves, each lasting around an hour, there will be an interval at half time of about 15 minutes for speed dating London. You will have between 4 and 5 minutes with each person, after which you need to tick a box on your score sheet - "yes, I would like to meet this person again" or "no. Thanks but no thanks". Or "friend" if you'd like to get to know them platonically. Make sure that you do this after each date to keep track. Afterwards there is an opportunity for everyone to meet and mingle informally - this is often where the real action begins, so make sure you don't disappear too quickly!

Complete your score sheet

After the event you simply tick who you liked on the Original Dating website and the site works about your matches automatically. If the dates you have ticked as a "yes" have reciprocated you have a match. You will be able to view the first names and message them via our site online without revealing your email address until you are ready to. You'll be having proper first dates in no time.