Dart leagues in London are split into those played by teams, and those for individuals.
Although the numbers of teams involved seems to have dropped in recent years, individual leagues are thriving. Competitive darts was created as a team game, however, and each league remains unique, with their own formats, regulations and traditions. If nothing else, the night should always end with somebody presenting you with a plate of glutinous food.
Team leagues are typically split into Winter (September to May) and Summer. The standard is hugely variable, and it can be difficult to join a team or a league other than at the beginning of the season. Individual leagues cater for every standard, and allow players to throw a lot more darts.
The Central London darts league (Thursdays) currently has teams playing out of venues in SE1, SW1, WC1, E1 and EC1, so it pretty much does what is says on the tin, covering much of central London.
The Clerkenwell and District Winter darts league (Mondays) runs in the winter in and around Clerkenwell, obviously. It’s fairly new and seems to be on the up.
The Smithfield darts league takes place in and around the City, mainly in EC postcodes.
The Trafalgar dart league (Wednesdays) took its name from Trafalgar Square, as all the teams used to be based nearby. These days things have moved East a little.
If you work for a bank or in insurance, the City Banks and Financial Institutions darts league or London Insurance Office league (LIODA) may be of interest.
The Civil Service darts league doesn’t seem to have a website, but it does exist, and is more commonly known as the Tuesday early league.
From May to September, you could try the City & Holborn summer darts league.
Finally, the Association of Provincial Football Supporters’ Clubs in London has a particularly sociable darts league, and must be the only sporting competition in which Scunthorpe v Rotherham is a top flight fixture.
There are two main individual leagues in central London. One is run under the auspices of the City of London Darts Association (COLDA) and is focussed around Clerkenwell and the City. The other – the IDL – runs concurrently at multiple venues, including Victoria and Southwark. Both are a great way of playing regular serious darts against opponents of similar standard.
There doesn’t seem to be anywhere in central London to buy good quality darts and accessories. Cheap boards and ‘toy’ darts can be found in some of the large department stores, but if you want to throw a range of arrows or buy a few sets, you can’t. Outside of the centre, Gerry’s of Wimbledon closed in February 2016, so I no longer have anywhere to buy my darts in a shop. Head in hands; head online.