MFA Bowl North Shields

MFA Bowl North Shields, Newcastle upon Tyne: Address, Phone Number, MFA Bowl North Shields Reviews: 2/5

MFA Bowl North Shields
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11 reviews
Very good

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK2 contributions
Unhelpful staff member
Mar 2018 • Family
We arrived with out booking you would think this was a cardinal sin, we where told we could only book on line if we wanted the offer we where interested in. There where random buckets around the place from a leaking roof, no one managing the bar, I went back and asked if they had any change of £10 for the coffee machine, Pauline clapped her hands over her face, we told use the cash machine, no toilet roll need I go on...
Written April 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK215 contributions
Just don't bother
Feb 2018 • Family
To say that those who work there don't know their backside from their elbow is an understatement !!!!

Had a look online to which it said you couldn't book for the same day online. Ok - completely understandable!

So I sent an email asking if it was possible to reserve a lane ...

In the meantime as a couple of hours passed I called them up to be told No you can't book! Ok - but it's open right? To be told again 'You can't book!' Ok - why not? Is it closed? Only at this point did the YTS kid manage to get his explanation out that it WAS open but you don't book on Mondays and just arrive.

So we arrive - to an hour wait! In that hour we could play on only 'some' of the arcades that were working or arrange a drink and food from the less than appealing bar area!

Thanks for a non existent night!

Didn't bother with this place much before and definitely won't be bothering with it again till it changes Management!
Written February 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

David M
Manchester, UK10 contributions
Run down
Jan 2018 • Friends
There is some good news about this place in that it seems there is some work on going to replace the tv screens over the lanes. However there needs to be some further work as the equipment is unreliable, there are very few balls to select from (my wife needed a lighter ball but there were none to be found with the right sizes finger holes), the staff were not very helpful and certainly didn’t do anything other than the bare minimum. As other reviews state, the toilets leave a lot to be desired. We went on a Sunday afternoon and the place was very quiet which maybe says more than this review!
Written January 15, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

83 contributions
Average bowling, poor facilities
Aug 2017
As visitors to the area we visited to give the kids something to do on a rainy day. The bowling is pretty average/amateur which we didn't mind as we were just keeping the kids entertained. However, the facilities were poor. The bar was poorly stocked. The toilets were smelly and dark. Overall the place is in need of a good upgrade/clean. Staff were miserable.
Written August 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Vicki S
Winchester, UK2 contributions
Avoid Worst Bowling Experience Ever
Jul 2017 • Family
Worst bowling place I have ever been, dated, dirty, toilets are a health hazard (vomit and faeces which looked several days old on floor), broken glass and rubbish at entrance. Alleys didn't work properly, scoring didn't work and staff not over worried about the experience we had no apology or offer of anything to compensate. First time here and will never go back. AVOID AVOID AVOID needs knocked down.
Written July 28, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Durham, UK11 contributions
Worst Experience at a Bowling Centre...EVER...And that's Saying Something!
Dec 2016 • Friends
There are TWO pages for this centre on Trip Advisor:
Star Bowl & MFA Bowl North Shields.
They are the SAME centre, so I have added this review to both.

DATE - 31 December, 2016.

OK, basically what you have below is a version of my letter to one of the Directors of this quite dire company.


On October 23, 2016, I booked and paid for the New Year’s Eve Night Special event that comprised unlimited bowling between 19:00-00:30 for up to eight people, and received a 20% discount for booking early. That meant I paid £48.00 for the bowling.

On booking, I received a confirmation email stating my booked time was 20:00. This was evidently a mistake because their website and Facebook advertising clearly stated 19:00, therefore, I contacted the centre querying this and was told on October 28 they would expect me at 19:00. On December 30, I received a reminder email from the company designed to keep me informed of the event, but again the booked time stated 20:00. This clearly showed a lack of communication between staff because that time should have been changed as soon as was convenient after I queried it the first time. I should have realised at that point something was not right.

Myself and my group were looking forward to the night immensely because it was something different to do to bring in the New Year. One of the group had attended the same event a few years earlier, at the same centre, and told us how good it was. We were expecting great things.


So, December 31 arrived. Due to work, four of us got to the centre at around 19:45 and two others at 20:00, to what looked like an EMPTY building. The car park had six cars in it, including the two we had travelled in. On entering the centre, we were massively UNDERWHELMED. There was no atmosphere and it was a bit too quiet, aside from the noise of the old arcade machines, some of which weren’t working. The pool area was poor and along with the amusements looked nothing like what was shown on their website. I’m thankful we took no children with us as even they would have been disappointed.

We then made our way to the bar, but there was nobody serving. To our shock, the barman—a young man with tattoos—was playing a basketball game in the arcades. When he eventually decided to serve, we asked him what time the bar was open till (bearing in mind we already knew). He responded by telling us that the bar closed at 22:00 (on New Years Eve!), to which we immediately expressed our bewilderment and told him he was wrong as we know it closed at 01:00. We asked to see the manager, but we were ignored. Each time the barman served us, he was abrupt and rude.

During this time, I decided to introduce myself to the lady at reception (a woman with blond hair, glasses, around 40 years old possibly originally from Manchester), who told me our lane was ready and to proceed to lane 24 at our convenience. There were no lane numbers, so I had to ask when we were ready what lane it was. I must make special mention that this lady was fabulous; if it wasn’t for her, I believe, following our experience, their entire centre would not be able to operate without her presence.


We got to our lane, the one at the end as it turned out, and looked down to see that there were only four other groups in the entire centre. Five groups, all spaced out to make it look busier than what it was. It was shocking. After receiving no instructions in how to input names and begin, we worked it out ourselves, commenced bowling and almost immediately the lane started to falter. We weren’t impressed. And it seemed every time we called the staff over, apart from the lady who was doing everything, the other two—the barman and presumably the technician—didn’t want to help and were bickering over who was to rectify the problem. This happened numerous times with the worst instance occurring when the barman stormed from the reception area over a lane, hitting a bowling aid muttering that he was supposed to finish at 22:00 and wanted to go home, stomping down the lane to fix the problem. We could not believe the petulance and childlike behaviour we had witnessed from not just an adult, but from a member of staff.

When two further people in our group turned up later in the evening, I asked the technician how to add their names to the scoreboard, to which he responded by telling me they would have to pay. I told him I would not be paying and that he was mistaken because I had paid for a lane that was for up to eight people. I asked to see the manager, but he said he would go see the manager himself. Without coming over to speak with me, 10 minutes later the names “Him” and “Her” appeared on the scoreboard. No apology or explanation.


We initially took off our jackets at the beginning of our bowling as anyone would, but because it became apparent the air conditioning was broken and therefore was incredibly cold, we put our jackets back on. There was no signage to say this was the case. There was also no signage to say that parts of their furniture were BROKEN and HANGING OFF THE WALL which was incredibly dangerous.


Their website says, and I quote: “Calling all you lads, ladies, stags, hens, movers and shakers. Bored of the same old Saturday night in dodgy nightclubs with sticky floors…MFA Bowl has the answer!”.

The floors were as sticky, if not more so, than the dodgiest nightclub I’ve ever stepped foot in. The toilets, men’s and women’s, were an absolute disgrace. The women’s toilets had one cubicle taped closed, one locked from the inside and the others had no toilet paper at all until around 23:20. The men’s toilets were equally unclean, with only one cubicle open which was disgusting and had no toilet paper all night. When we complained, and asked to speak to the manager, we were told the manager was too busy. I have never seen such poor cleaning standards in a bowling centre. The toilets were that bad, if rats could have walked over the sticky floor and up the sticky stairs, even they wouldn’t have entered them. We had no choice but to enter them.


When it came down to food, we asked for confirmation when we arrived at the centre what time food was served till. This was confirmed to us to be 22:00. So, you can imagine our dismay when we went to the diner at 21:15 to be told that there was no food on as all the machines had been switched off at 21:00. The barman, who I believe was responsible for the food, dismissed our complaints, wouldn’t get the manager and would not agree to turn the ovens back on. He told us the food had been turned off deliberately so that they could all get away early and celebrate the New Year. As you might understand, we were not happy. The lady then came over and apologised to us, but it was not her decision to switch off the ovens. In the end, this lady made us four lots of fries and two lots of nachos, which we had to pay for because that’s all she could do. She then made two burgers and provided them free of charge, I presume as some form of apology, but we didn’t want burgers. What we wanted wasn’t even offered nor available, and we have the photographic evidence to prove this.

On their website, they say, and again I quote: “The lights go down and we crank up the music across the Centre”.

Really, well, we missed something there because the bowling was supposed to be under “cosmic lights” till 00:30, but not one minute after midnight the technician put the lights on. We should have also received “..a glass of fiz” to celebrate the New Year, but we never received this. And then at exactly 00:30 he turned off all the lanes without a single word to any of us. The music that was playing throughout the night was from Radio 1 and it kept cutting out and wasn’t loud at all. We believe this was a deliberate tactic employed by the technician and barman because by 23:00-23:15 only my group of the original five groups remained in the centre. At around the same time, three family members including one child relating to I assume the technician arrived and started bowling for free. Before we celebrated the New Year as best as possible in the given circumstances, these people left their lane and stood next to the reception area, chatting with the technician. Whilst standing there, they proceeded to stare intently at us in full view with such menace on their faces, including the technician, that it made us feel uncomfortable.


You may be wondering why we didn’t walk out of the venue and go somewhere else? Well I am sure all you good folk reading this can understand it was because we had already paid for the night. And when I asked for a full refund I was told I wouldn’t receive one unless I wrote to the manager (this was the manager, remember, who was apparently in the building at the time and wouldn’t see me). We couldn’t go anywhere else because of how late it was in the day, coupled with the complexities in organising a different venue, as well as the expense involved in getting to a said venue.


Because there was evidently only three members of staff—there was no manager in sight and I don’t believe there ever was a manager in the building—we asked all three of them how the company could advertise a New Year’s Eve event with set times for food, drink and bowling and get it so incredibly wrong. They had no answer. We asked them why they didn’t just cancel the entire night and refund the few groups that turned up instead of running a substandard and quite frankly pathetic evening. Again, the staff had no answer and let us leave the venue without a goodbye or apology.


I am dumbfounded as to how, other than the lady staff member, this company can employ people who can treat and speak to good people and good customers like us with such disdain and aggressiveness. I was particularly disgusted at the way the barman spoke to one of our group who is in the Royal Air Force – if it wasn’t for people like him, we wouldn’t have the jobs we have because we would be living in a defunct society. The staff evidently did not want to be there, took it out on us and generally spoilt our night. They made the entire MFA Bowl operation look more like a Mickey Mouse outfit than the professional company it portrays itself to be.


As a league bowler at another centre, I have never been to a worse establishment in the 21 years I have been a bowler. The lanes themselves were so bad that I do not believe they had ever seen a drop of oil in their lifetime; this seemed pretty evident in how the staff walked quickly and easily down the middle of the lane which any league bowler will know is impossible to do if the lanes are cared for properly.


I ended up requesting a full refund for the evening and a formal apology from the North Shields management team.

What I received back was a joke. They received my letter in January, 2017 (and CALLED me from a withheld number to say so), and sent a "written" reply a month later. On receipt of this reply, I emailed the sender--Sonja Fensome--on the email address provided:

They offered ME two free games of bowling and 10% discount on food and drink - I am sure all of you will agree this was absolutely derisory. I did not accept it and reiterated my request for a full refund at minimum.


I asked them if they actually read my complaint letter in full? If they recognised and acknowledged the utter contempt and complete lack of professionalism their staff and centre displayed? I explained I didn't think they did because they received my letter and took a month to reply with what looked like a standard complaints response letter evidently printed out on the postage date. They couldn’t even be bothered to hand sign the letter which should tell you a lot. It’s absolutely pathetic.

Any fit and proper professional company who received a complaint like the one I sent them would have investigated the matter, replied in a detailed manner and refunded the payment with a full apology from the company and the centre and persons involved. But what did they do? They sent me a generic reply saying “…sorry that you have experienced dissatisfaction…”, offering two free games and 10% discount. Dissatisfaction? The company, the staff and the centre ruined our night.

Did they think I was born yesterday? If I was I would have had no choice but to let them get away with the sheer incompetency shown, however, as I wasn’t I said I would carry on until I receive a satisfactory outcome.


Unfortunately for them, I operate my own businesses in the retail sector and just happen to run an advertising company, so I understand consumer law and advertising codes.

They know, or at least should do, that under consumer law people have a right of refund if a company clearly misleads a customer. So I explained not to pass off their terms and conditions as a reason not to process my refund when they knew I was legally entitled to one under these circumstances.

After two emails, I received nothing back from them. So today, I called my credit card company and explained the entire situation to them, providing the relevant details to bring this matter to an end.

Do yourself a favour and STAY AWAY FROM THIS PLACE.

Go to AMF Bowling Centres or Lane 7 instead - it might be more expensive, but you'll enjoy it more and come away happier, unlike this place in which you'll leave feeling like Day of the Dead was just around the corner.
Written March 2, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK16 contributions
Short changed on time and equipment failure.
Jan 2017 • Family
Went here today as a family for one hour costing aproximatly 25 pounds for what was meant to be a full hour play.
We were told 10 minutes before the hour was up that our time was finished and the equiptment kept breaking down so we probubly were kept waiting another 15 minutes, so in effect got 35 minutes play wen it should have been 60.
I realise i should have complained but staff seemed harrased and less than helpful and i did not want to create a fuss on our family outing.
We will not return as if u are paying for time you expect it.
Written January 14, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Whitley, UK50 contributions
Not for the serious bowler
Jun 2016 • Solo
I have been here a couple of times and both times I have been told that unlimited bowling is for a minimum of 4 people, despite the fact it says nothing about this on the website. The assistant said she would let me bowl this time.
I could only bowl two frames before giving up due to the state of the approaches. They look liked they hadn't been cleaned in a while with chewing gum and other pieces of litter stuck to them. I had a Brunswick shoe slider on my sliding foot, but still could not slide.
Won't be going back gain, even though it's the nearest bowl to where I live.
All this in a week where a national newspaper has reported that Bowling is the fastest growing segment of the leisure industry, what a shame.
Written June 18, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Morpeth, UK4,915 contributions
First time bowling experience
Jun 2015 • Family
As a family group of 6 we bowled here today courtesy of a discount voucher. We greatly enjoyed our first ever game and will certainly bowl again. The 2 staff on duty were pleasant and helpful but completely run off their feet. Dealing with the checking in area, bar, restaurant and sorting out holdups with the machines, returning balls etc. There needs to be more staff on duty, 2 people is just not acceptable, as customers were always waiting at one or two of the locations. The staff themselves maintained a smile throughout, but the customer experience would be greatly enhanced if only more staff were there to serve.
Written June 12, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Michelle M
4 contributions
Great bowling but needs an update!
Jan 2015 • Friends
Attended New Years day and wasn't sure if it was open as no signs to suggest opening times over festive period so had to ring. Opened at 12 noon anyway. Good bowling but no heat and had blower heaters scattered around didn't really help. Food was a bit naff! I suspect microwaved or deep fried! All in all I think it needs updated and some things in need of repair. Probably be back but not my first choice
Written January 2, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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