How is Dog Bowl different from any other bar/restaurant in Manchester? Is the food served in shiny metal dishes? Will the waiters rub your belly and call you a good boy? Will they throw a ball and expect you to chase it? The answer is no, no and no. And you’ll get funny looks if you ask, says Elliot Garlick…
In case you didn’t know, Dog Bowl isn’t just a bar/restaurant. Half of the floor space is given over to a bowling alley. So before you even think about eating and/or drinking, why not have a go at bowling? Nobody cares if you’re good (like my friends) or absolutely appalling (like me). It’s a great way to get everyone laughing, chatting and generally having a good time.
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If you’re a student like me, it isn’t that cheap, ranging from £6 (off peak) to £8 per person. But Dog Bowl are also offering ‘Dog Tags’ just for students which guarantee half price off bowling and 25% off any food bill. Just walk up to the reception, give them your name and email, alongside a valid student ID card, and suddenly you’re getting food cheaper than everybody else in the room. Take that, non-students #studentlife.
When your wrists hurt and your stomachs are empty, you and your friends – if you have any – can sit down and eat one of the tastiest burgers in Manchester, served with a selection of fries. And if you’re bored of burgers, Dog Bowl offers a selection of Tex-Mex food like tacos, chillis and fried chicken by the shedload. The food is absolutely delicious and they do not skimp on portion sizes, people. You won’t need to eat for the rest of the day.
And the price seems pretty reasonable as well; £7.50 for a burger. But if you’re a student, when a basic hamburger with fries (no extra sides or fillings) costs the same as half a week’s food shopping, you probably won’t be eating there more than two or three times a year max.
The drinks are similarly positioned. While the draught beers are cheap, about £3.50-£4.00 a litre for most, the cheapest cocktail on the menu will set you back £7.50. Bad news? I’m not a beer drinker so two drinks during a meal will cost me at least £15. Ouch.
But despite its prices and outwardly hip, studenty appearance, Dog Bowl isn’t just for hipsters and teenagers. During my visit, the Dog Bowl wasn’t feeding man-buns and faux-ironic moustaches. At least half the people there were under the age of twelve. Because it turns out that kids frickin’ love bowling and they get to bowl for free on Mondays.
So if you’re there during half term, there’s a risk of it feeling more like Frankie and Benny’s than somewhere to drink with friends. But the bar staff assured me that most of the families leave around eight, transforming the Dog Bowl from a family friendly eatery to more of a Black Dog Ballroom type bar in the space of an hour (it’s also worth mentioning that Dog Bowl’s take on a Zombie, the staple drink of the Liars Club, is amazing).
But everybody should get themselves down to Dog Bowl at least once this year for great food and a fun time. You won’t regret it. But if you’re a student, I say this. For the love of God, try not to get too drunk or you won’t be able to afford your accommodation.
Dog Bowl is New York style ten pin bowling with a Black Dog Ballroom twist at the end.
Contact & book
Whitworth St W, Manchester M1 5WW
0161 228 2888
Follow them on Twitter: @BlackDogBowl