Reading plan to replace the music store with a bowling alley

Exciting plans have been revealed to turn a former music store into a bowling alley and family entertainment center in Reading.

Bowl Central is set to take over the former Dawsons musical instrument store at 65 Caversham Road, which closed last year, and convert it into a bowling alley and family entertainment complex.

Once the transformation is complete, the facility will not only have seven bowling alleys, but also three interactive dartboards, shuffleboard and a “redemption” play area for children.

Explaining the plans, Tracy Standish, the manager of Bowl Central, said, “I call it pins and awards. On the bowling side, it will be bowling, darts and shuffleboard, which will be mainly intended for adults, teenagers and corporate events.

“Next, the prize section will be more family and kid-oriented, where children can play games to collect tickets, which can then be redeemed for prizes.

“So there will be two distinct areas in one place, with a cocktail bar and a lounge anchoring it all.”

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Mr Standish added that the plan was to also sell food, with staff serving freshly made pizzas, paninis and salads.

Interactive darts involves having a dart board with sensors on it.

Each of the three tables will be equipped with cameras that capture people’s reactions as they play.

Mr Standish has ‘extensive experience’ in the bowling and entertainment industry and is looking forward to bringing Bow Central to Reading.

He said: “I started Bowlplex which has become a national company.

“Bowl Central is more boutique and focused on downtown locations, whereas Bowlplex was generally “out of town”.”

Mr. Standish ended up selling Bowlplex.

The first Bowl Central has opened in Bournemouth, with a second location set to open in Fareham, near Portsmouth.

Bowl Central in Reading will be the first with interactive darts and shuffleboard.

Before taking over the former Dawsons unit, Bowl Central’s owning company, KTO Ltd, submitted a license application for the bar that will be located inside.

He applied himself to selling alcohol on site from 10 a.m. to midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, to selling food until midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and until at 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

It also applied to pay for music from 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

READ MORE: Mini-golf operator agrees to replace part of House of Fraser at The Oracle

Until recently, reading lacked family and adult activities like bowling.

That was until Spinners opened in the Broad Street Mall at the end of June last year.

Spinners offers bowling, crazy golf and interactive darts.

There are also approved plans which were approved in March 2020 to convert the House of Fraser in The Oracle into a bowling alley and food court, but the department store remains in place with no set closing date.

Alice P. Darby