Pinz Bowling: Rising Like A Phoenix From the Flames

The tremendous hardship of lockdowns imposed to manage a global pandemic has hit people from all walks of life and has squeezed the breath out of once vibrant hospitality and leisure venues. However, the grit and determination of business owners and leaders who love their staff, love their community and love their trade has seen many look the pandemic squarely in eyes and simply refuse to lay down. 

One such owner is Darren Margach, director of Pinz Bowling and Innoflate Parks. As with most of us, when the first lockdown hit Margach and his team were unsettled by the impact of being legally required to close their doors, but assumed the closures would only be in place for a few weeks and then all would return to normal. 14 months later and Pins Bowling have only been permitted to be open for less than four months during the whole period. 

Once it became clear that the impact of the pandemic was going to last longer than initially expected Margach made the decision early on that innovation and flexibility was the only way to navigate the uncertainty. The Pins team set about converting their disused overflow carpark into the colourful Lane 15 Beer Garden. Something akin to a garden you may have seen on Big Brother, the space was kitted out with 22 wooden benches, a decked VIP area with rattan furniture, eight private pods for family / bubble groups giving them capacity for 208 guests. With pods named after local pubs which have closed down over the years, their mix of nostalgia and positive, colourful vibes resonated well with their guests, all longing for a sense of local community. 

The garden was completed with a projector screen for major sporting events and three large 55” TVs. Even though Pins will be fully open by the time the Euro 2020 Championships come around in June, they are still planning on bringing in even larger TV screens on which to show the matches. 

With restrictions beginning to lift and the beer garden at full capacity most days and weekends it became clear that Pins were going to need to open up their indoor space. However, the enthusiastic development of a fresh outdoor space had left the indoor area looking tired. Undeterred, Margach set about refurbishing the internal bar areas and toilet facilities and screening was put in place to enable the bowling lanes to be opened up, albeit at half capacity. So, once again Pinz was filled with a busy bar and the familiar sounds of rolling bowling balls clattering against pins. Sadly, this was short lived. 

When plunged into yet another lockdown the refurb bug, which had already led to the upgrading of much of Pinz, led to a full-blown transformation project. The bar area was doubled in size to allow for additional seating. Adopting the current trend, the bar was created using scaffold poles and metal.  Neon writing signs, created by Lumens of London, illuminated the foliage clad walls and communicated the defiant messages of Til death do us party” and “no bad vibes”. 

The bowling area underwent a full face-lift through the use of neon paint graffiti art, which glows under the UV lighting, provided by Scottish Graffiti Murals. The works showcase local landmarks including the Elgin Cathedral and local beach.  Pinz also brought in a line of new ‘basketball’ styled bowling balls, just to add to the fun. 

The changes also include a new café area, which has been built into the reception area.  The café perfectly services the children’s play area allowing the venue to comfortably keep the family guests separated from those wanting to use the licensed bar facilities. 

With the bar area opening on the 17th May and the rest of the venue from 7th June, surely this Phoenix is really going to take flight. This beautiful venue, with a huge heart, is sure to bring a lot of joy and laughter to its guests throughout the summer months – so make sure you book your slot.  You can also check out a short drone-shot video of their refurb on their Facebook.

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