A property developer has created more than 30 new jobs after investing more than £700,000 in the North East’s first ever ‘boutique’ bowling alley.
Lane 7 is set to open next month on the site of the former ATS Euromaster motor garage on St James’ Boulevard, Newcastle, three years after developer Tim Wilks first began hunting for a suitable site to transform into a high-end bowling experience.
Work is almost complete on the two-floor warehouse style location, which has been fitted out with the UK’s only walnut wood finish on all of its eight bowling lanes as part of the six-figure investment.
The venue will also include pool tables, ping pong tables, a private karaoke booth and Wilks is also offering quality dining and the opportunity to book private booths for table service drinking.
Should Lane 7 prove popular, Wilks plans to open similar businesses in other cities.
Wilks, who last year won the Siberian Black Ice 400-mile challenge, said: “We’re hoping to open in the middle of October, and that’s all dependent on what happens on site in the next couple of weeks.
“I’ve visited lots of other boutique bowling sites and seeing how busy they are and how well run and exciting they are drove me to set up this venture.
“They are everywhere in the US and huge in Scandinavia, but aside from a few in London they aren’t many in the UK because there are few sites that have the size to handle the bowling lanes – that’s why bowling alleys in general are always on the outskirts of towns and cities.
“Newcastle, however, is very ready for something like this and there’s nothing like this in the region.
“Finding a city centre venue with the right amount of floor space to do what we wanted to do was very difficult, but I’m thrilled with the location and with the way the fit out is going.
“It’s really exciting to be at the stage now where we are looking for the people who will deliver the great level of service we’ll offer.
“I really hope the venue will become popular with a large cross section of the public across the North East.
“This isn’t just for those looking for an alternative night out, but it’ll also be the perfect venue for private parties and events and even a corporate crowd keen to entertain its clients with something a bit different from the norm.
“Unfortunately, we’ve been brainwashed for the last 20 years into thinking bowling is about plastic seats and plastic hot dogs in the dreary surroundings of a retail park.
“I want to bring the glamour back into bowling.”
The operation has already started the recruitment process and is searching for more than 30 new people to fill a variety of key roles including senior management positions, cocktail waiters and waitresses, a head chef and kitchen staff and table hosts and hostesses.