We’ve been asking ourselves what the next sport to hijack the London bar scene would be, and it seems we’ve got our answer. Hold on to your hats! It’s curling. Were you expecting something a little sexier? Yeah, us too. But curling is brilliant for team building and here’s why a trip to London’s oldest ice rink, Queens is well worth it
To us, curling is the obscure sport only Canada and Norway (famous for their clown trousers outfits) are any good at and it’s played by the Homer Simpsons of the world. In many ways, you can say it’s the winter sports’ equivalent of darts.
But that’s exactly why it lends itself so ideally to a bar environment, and with Queens (the iconic west London ice rink that first opened in 1930) launching the capital’s first curling bar and diner, the Sin Bin, we simply had to try it out. The venue has also teamed up with Meatliquor, so with the promise of tasty burgers as well, we were sold.
The Sin Bin stretches the entire lenght of the rink
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We had a few signature cocktails and bar snacks before we hit the ice. Our favourite tipple was by far the ‘Yorkshire T’ made with tea-infused Bombay Sapphire gin, pink grapefruit juice and fresh lemon juice, topped with soda water. From the snack section, we recommend getting the onion rings (gigantic), deep-fried mac & cheese logs (need we say more?), and the hash browns (served with blue cheese sauce). The bar and diner stretches the entire length of the ice and has a sort of aprez-ski chalet/American dive bar feel to it – it suits the sport perfectly.
Our group of eight (which is the maximum number of people per lane) was divided into two teams (if you’re larger groups, you can always occupy more lanes). The experience lasted 40 minutes, which might seem like a lot, but in reality, it flew by. Why? Well, it’s bloody good fun!
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The concept is pretty straightforward: strategically place the curling stone within the tee (the circles that determine the points) to gain the highest score. This involves getting down on your knees to push the stone while your team players do the sooping (sweeping), using the brooms.
The execution is anything but straightforward, though. Collectively, we managed to scrape together a lousy 10 points across 10 rounds (the potential score is nine points per round!). But we had all the fun while trying – and watching your MD sweeping the ice enthusiastically is worth the visit alone.
The Queens ice rink is the oldest one in London
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Now, this is on ice and it is a sport, so remember to dress properly – we recommend something comfortable underneath your winter clothing. Wear gloves and leave the stilettos at home – you get grip soles to put on your shoes to stop you from sliding all over the place. For some added fun, why not get matching outfits or accessories to unite the team properly? We reckon a set of matching woolly hats with some personal branding would go down well.
After 40 minutes of ferocious sooping, we had worked up and appetite again, so we headed to the Meatliquour diner for burgers and some more drinks. We tried the ‘Dead Hippie’, made with not one but two, mustard-fried beef patties with dead hippie sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and minced white onions – a solid winner. The ‘Tower Block’ chicken burger was a close second, with its fried chicken fillets, cheese, hash brown, jalapenos, slaw and Russian dressing. The selection of beers isn’t too bad either.
The Sin Bin is a cross between an aprez-ski chalet and an American dive bar
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This is not the only options for groups, though. You can opt for the Feast menu priced at £17.50pp (which includes a selection of starters, mains and desserts), or go for the buffet at £12pp. Annoyingly, the buffet is only available for bowlers, but if you feel like extending your group outing with knocking some tenpins, it’s a great opportunity. Both bowling and curling are priced at £9.95pp.
It is, of course, also open to exclusive hire with a capacity of 100 guests. There is a minimum spend (but it varies) and different types of food and drinks packages are also on offer.
So get ready to curl, people – may we suggest mopping the floor vigorously as practice?
£9.95pp | Enquire here | 17 Queensway, W2 4QP