Hidden London – Strike!


Bloomsbury is famous for the Bloomsbury Group, bookshops, its leafy squares and the house of Charles Dickens, among other things, but for many of us in the area, it’s also the London home of American fifties rock and roll.

This is because there are two bowling alleys within a five minute walk of each other, both underneath older buildings, and both boast authentic fifties US food, decor, music and bowling. Actually, there’s a third larger alley a short bus ride away, too.

How did it happen that this most English of London boroughs become home to fans of the Big Lebowski? Well, London has had a long-standing love affair with 20th century Americana, from the Hard Rock Cafe to the King’s Road Ribshack. There was a boxcar diner in King’s Cross called Sally’s, and another in Covent Garden, and the Ed’s Easy Diners replicate a fifties burger ambience.

However, dining US-style in London is strictly limited to these nostalgia-fests. American cuisine is almost the only world cuisine not represented in the capital. Why this should be so is a complete mystery to me.

4 comments on “Hidden London – Strike!”

  1. Jon R says:

    Do the Americans *have* cuisine? There’s Tex-Mex places in London, and of course there’s unlimited burger and pizza places – what other food is American? “The Diner” restaurants (in Carnaby St, Camden, and Islington) are good 50’s-diner-style places by the way, with rather more range than Ed’s burger-or-hotdog selection.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    North American cuisine is regional, but much of it is derived from either European or Asian sources. We have introduced only a few things: pumpkin, okra, corn (maize), turkeys and maple and birch sap. Only the areas which have been longest inhabited by immigrants, the Atlantic northeast and the lower Mississippi have developed dishes and cuisines of their own because they were cut off much of the time. There is also Mexico and Central America, which has a variety of styles. On the other hand, some of our cities have some pretty great adapted cuisines which would never be recognized in their countries of origin.
    I will now hide behind anything available while all the people who really know about these things throw rotten food at me.

  3. Matthew Bycroft says:

    I’ve found Bloomsbury Lanes, but can you let me know the other bowling alley 5 mins away please?

    Many thanks


  4. admin says:

    Kingpin is on the North side of the square, on the right.

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