I’ve managed to visit about half of the pubs listed in Capital Arrows in 2023 so far, and the good news is that for once there seems to have been little change in the overall number of central London boozers with dart boards. In fact, we only seem to have lost the Griffin Belle in Vauxhall, and gained, somewhat surprisingly, the White Horse, the first and only pub ever in this guide that is in Mayfair.
Outside of the pubs themselves, there are three major developments in London’s darting world.
Firstly, teams darts leagues are dying fast. Even Nolans is reporting challenges with, for example, just 7 venues left in the Thursday Battersea league.
Secondly, darts played by individuals is growing. I’ve met so many people recently who (re-)took up darts during one of the lockdowns, and are now playing regularly – the fabulous City of London Darts Associaton has more than 200 players in its summer 2023 season.
And thirdly, self-scoring darts is booming.
The concept of self-scoring darts launched by Flight Club in 2015 with its blue darts has now been surpassed by a range of boards including augmented reality options. Some of them are truly amazing – certainly the Prodigy self-scoring board now at Spots and Stripes left me more confused than the first time the travel news interupted my mum’s car radio in the mid-1990s. The colour-changing segments at Gravity Wandsworth and similar venues are beyond description – darts on acid is my best attempt.
In this guide I now include self-scoring venues where you can take your own darts, which I believe to be Old Tea Warehouse, some Sports Bar and Grills, and Rileys Victoria (which has more than one type of board. Flight Club is out, Oche is yet to be visited (as it fills me with horror). Other venues dotted around which may be of interest include All Star Lanes Brick Lane, Neverland Fulham, Gravity Wandsworth, Strike Wandsworth, Boom Battle Bar Aldgate and Oxford Street (and other venues), the Alexandra in Clapham, and the Rookwood Village Leytonstone. Beware, however, many of the self-scoring options are not perfect, with thicker wires and occasional errors. It’s darts Jim, but not as we know it.