It’s darts, Jim, but not as we know it

London may have been home to the first ever competitive darts match, but it has fallen a long way behind in the soft-tip, machine version of the game – until today.

DARTSLIVE, purveyors of all things plastic and shiny in the darting world, has opened its first British venue in the very centre of the city, giving UK fans what is believed to be their first taste of soft tip darts.

In turning the upstairs of The Slug and Lettuce in Leicester Square into a four-lane soft-tip darts venue, the company has managed to create something that fans of the tungsten game can only dream of. Traditionalists may baulk and having to pay to chuck a few arrows, but this venture isn’t aimed at the London darting scene (even if half of London’s darters turned up at the launch tonight).

Machine darts has long been popular in continental Europe and the States. In Japan and other parts of Asia, soft tip darts are double five a penny. Shiny, clean, safe, and full of women, these boards that change colour and do the scoring for you are all the rage.

Leicester Square, with not a Londoner in sight, is the perfect place for a DARTSLIVE trial. And, with bristle boards continuing to disappear at an alarming rate in the centre of the capital, should tourists, women, and the bottled-lager-brigade of Brits having their night up West fall in love with the shiny side of our sport, it’s even money as to which version of the game will be more prevalent in zone 1 in 2023.

The good news, for those of us who struggle with steel tip arrows, is that the trebles on a soft tip board are bigger. That’s just one reason why I will be embracing this brave new darting world.

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