Not so much a sneak but an invite to a preview to All Star Lanes. We were greeted by two lovely young ladies dressed appropriately vintage for the occasion – the occasion being an exclusive glimpse before the official opening.
“All Star Lanes is a bar, restaurant with the bonus of a bowling alley.”
The first impression was Mad Men. The 50/60’s series about chic offices and advertising. It doesn’t scream vintage, though. It’s a subtle delivery in order to sway away from anything too gimmicky. It’s not a pop-up; it’s not a small time thing; All Star Lanes has been carefully crafted and it’s here to stay. And we’re sure you’ll be glad to hear it.
All Star Lanes is nicely divided into areas. Each area has the potential to be individual establishments in their own right. For example the bar is decent enough to be ventured alone, the restaurant with 80 covers and then there’s the bowling lanes, of course. Combining the three for the night makes for a captivating experience with no need to move on.
It’s not a sweaty megabowl complex or a location for pubic teenagers on their first date. In fact, they do not allow under 18s in after 6pm. All Star Lanes is a bar, restaurant with the bonus of a bowling alley.
Naturally we ‘obliged’ an exclusive tour of the cocktail bar first. Bet you’d have never guessed! It ‘is’ the first area you step into on entrance. The bar that hosts over 130 different whiskies is a large island that we feel promotes a good atmosphere and efficient service. They pride themselves on serving classic American cocktails including Juleps, Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, along with an impressive range of American beers.
It has a real presidential feel about it with the leathers, woods and lamps. Clever, timeless décor that subtly implies the feeling it’s an authentic Americana that’s been around a while. A concept that Manchester hosts and does very well.
We took a particular interest in to the whiskies. They currently house 130 of the finest and rarest American Whiskies, with 20-30 more coming in over the next few weeks. They have a private whisky tasting room with some low tables and seats, cornered off from the main bar with an eventual red curtain that screams sumptuous private club decadence. It’s adorned with a glass cabinet of rare liquor and an official Jack Daniels barrel – they seem to be best mates with Jack. Gentleman Jack – goes with the whole gentleman den thing they’re trying to install. The area is available to book for groups of up to 20 who can enjoy waitress service and a seasonal canapé menu.
Our friend Alex, that has switched from Grill On NY Street to be the bar manager here, took us on an enthusiastic, historic journey through the bourbon. It was like stepping into a whisky time-machine. We could have spent the whole day with Alex and whiskey.
Ever heard of a whiskey named Hannisville Rye? Well, neither did we until it came to our attention it is £100 a shot. It’s an extremely rare Rye born in 1863 during the American civil war. Against all odds, it managed to survive 29 US presidents, 2 world wars, the prohibition era and countless alcomolics. When it’s gone it will be gone forever. Purchase a measure of this stuff and have your name engraved in the Whiskey hall of fame and receive an All Star Lanes Whiskey tumbler for keepsake. Become part of its legacy!
The seal is still in tact on that one and Alex has first dibs on the first measure. So, we selected a few, more affordable drops. Four Flowers and Bulleit Bourbon, a formidable scent, citrusy and smoky. Ginger had to slap himself and remember it is 4pm.
With every area of All Star Lanes having cocktail waitresses, it’s a recipe for good times and disaster for us.
The restaurant bit has some tasty options. A cracking menu complimented by a chargrill selection presented from their Josper Grill. An authentic meticulous menu devised by Steve Collins, who headed up Terence Conran restaurants in London. Popcorn Squid & Aioli, Denver Pocket, Truffled Mac & Cheese and you can never go wrong with a hamburger (no horse meat jokes, thanks). We thought those selections and pretty much everything on the brunch menu, sound delish.
For an added bonus, *25p from every hamburger sold is donated to our charity of choice; Forever Manchester.
At last, the bowling! 10 lanes in total. There’s a center area of six lanes, which are lanes 3 – 8, decorated by pin up girl art. There’s no console to input your names, they do that bit for you at the shoe station.
They have two private areas either side of the center 6 lanes. One more private than the other, aptly named ‘The Private Room’. The room is modeled on one of Elvis Presley’s rooms in his house. He accordingly has a ‘man room’ called the ‘Jungle Room’. Exclusive bar, seasonal canapé menu, leopard skin carpet and special Puma bowling shoes to use. Perfect for an I Love Manchester party we thought… Then again, why not just get 500 of our favourite people and exclusively hire the whole All Star Lanes venue.
The other private-ish area is called the West Wing. A mini den modeled on the President Trueman bowling alley in the actual White House that still exists today. It has a big American fridge to stock a supply of beer and a retro bowl ball return, you can see the ball returning back to you.
You need to book in advance for 1 game and with a maximum of 7 players per lane. They estimate that a game takes 10 minutes per person; therefore a game for 6-7 people will take about an hour to play. They can accommodate groups of up to 28 people in the main hall.
All Star Lanes opens to the public from March 2nd (Sat!) and is taking bookings now.
All Star Lanes, Great Northern, 235 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN
0161 871 3600
Mon & Tue 4pm – 1am
Wed & Thu 4pm – 1am
Fri 12pm – 3am
Sat 11am – 3am
Sun 11am – 2am