Since Jo'burg is severly lacking in the beach and mountain department, we place a huge emphasis on indoor entertainment, namely restaurants. But when it's hovering on the 24th of the month and you've spent all your money on the fancy places, it's time to re-evaluate your top 10 eateries.
This is when the Zoo Lake Bowls Club is perfect. Perfect for those end of the month 'if I open the fridge door often enough, eventually something will appear.' days.
The Bowls Club is cheap, always packed and comes with a live 'band'. When I say band, I mean a rather overweight man in crocs and poly shorts, who may or may not be on parole, and his daughter on the mic. While I am not known as the songbird of my generation, neither is she, but they do bang out some super-cheesy numbers while you feast on your massive burger which won't cost you more than 20 bucks.
I once enquired as to why the Bowls Club was so cheap. It is clear they don't invest much in the upkeep of the place but there is something charming about their 70's style décor and changing room that looks like it was used in the opening scene of 1976 horror movie Carrie.
I was told the rather sweet urban legend of the Bowls Club: apparently years ago when R2 notes were still in operation, there was an elderly gentleman, an avid bowls player, who spent each evening relaxing with a beer and his favourite pizza. He liked to sit and watch the young people and the sense of fun they brought with them. When he passed away, legend hast it that he was in fact a very wealthy man and left all his money to the Bowls Cub on the condition they kept the prices to an all-time low.
While this story is sweet, I didn't believe it for a second and I did some investigation. Turns out they buy in bulk, don't have to pay rent and are so popular they have no need to push the prices up into the stratosphere. The place also has a magic to it that you may go there for an early lunch but you will never leave before 7pm. Strange how most places have that magical effect on me.
Long story short, it's one of the few restaurants in Jo'burg where you can get an great meal for under a R100 while listening to a live band. And if you have enough of the low priced drinks, rumour has it you can see the old Bowls Club man eating his pizza at that bar. If that's not entertainment, I don't know what is.
The Zoo Lake Bowls Club was reviewed by Baglett. Read her tea-snortlingly funny blog here.