I love date night by the dim of candlelight, it's a tried and tested 'love me' method, but that doesn't mean I don't want to whip the ass of my boyfriend over balls and bowling instead. Newly refurbished as of late in 2016, Queen's used to be a venue none too dissimilar to that the likes of the beloved Rowans with its love of battered entertainment, trimmed drinks prices and dated air. With a lick of paint, new areas and neons for the nit-picky, has the new development of Queen's scared away punters or given them a dose of fresh fun?
The Venue & Entertainment
As we walked down to the basement that is Queens, it's clear the venue's making is of angles, bright colours, neon lights and seperated yet inclusive spaces. First up was the bowling alley; a dark and deluxe space, there's plenty of lanes, bar service, balconette seating and balls to go around, all set alongside the backdrop of pop culture characters at lane's end. You only need to walk a few paces to then find yourself in the mustard hues of the American style diner, where we perched for dinner in a State-styled yellow booth, directly opposite the main bar itself yet still separated by industrial nods and ply.
The bar itself is nothing unlike what you might find in a basement in Dalston thanks to its beaming neons, low ceilings and pattering of geometric furniture and chesterfields. I would however recommend more furniture to fill the space, as the bar was slightly warped by the wide-walk between tables. Closing our night was a trip upon the ice skating rink. While Queens have a little more refurb work to do in the way of getting this area up to scratch, the large space, hanging planters and bright white lights of the venue's sign still made for a fun and open space to try ill-favoured attempts at gymnastics on frozen water.
The Food and Drink
Jimmy's Diner is the name for the restaurant at Queen's, and diner it was. A menu of hunking carbs and Americana bites makes up the majority with plenty of veggie, pescatarian and meat-eater options to go around. We started with two veggie greats in the shape of 'The Queen's Mini Mac' (£5) and 'Portobello Road Garlic Mushrooms' (£5.80). I'm normally quite the pasta gannet as my thighs pay testament to, but Jimmy's nailed their portion size perfectly, proposing a mini-mac in both a cutesy retro tin bowl, but with plenty of crisp on top to share over the dip-friendly garlic mushrooms.
It's often hard to find vegetarian burgers in London that don't cater to tomato fiends or mushroom nuts, but Jimmy's provided a 'build-your-own' option that really gave us the chance to finally play with our food. Both opting for the 'Mr Bean' burger (£9), we each decided on our own cheese style (a mix of blue and cheddar) and sauces alongside a portion of skinny chips. With its buffed bun, heated patty and lightly salted side, Jimmy's paired an affordable option with a genuinely nice bite. While our main was shared alongside a bottle of £30 prosecco, it was the Mojito and Espresso Martini that made their mark. My boyfriend and I like our cocktails sugary and smart, with both cocktails delivering on both levels. My only issue with the drinks side of the venue is their lacking of alternative pit-stops. This meant that all facets of the venue were served by one bar alone, making the wait and the strain more obvious that we might have liked.
While my only qualm with Queens: Skate-Dine-Bowl is a meek jab at their bar service, it's clear that they've reimbursed their hybrid hot-spot with not only crimped and contemporary interiors, but a fun contrast of thriving entertainment. Perfect for those bewildering date nights and great for friends, Queens may still have the love of local punters on its side, but it's also got ours.