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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

First Dinner Out & Smart Darts

What a year it's been!? I have had moments when March felt like yesterday, and moments when March felt like 2 years ago. It's been different to say the very least.


This blog post contains my own views and not that of anyone else. I express my thoughts on parts of our return to life after/ during covid; you are welcome to think differently. Additionally, while I was gifted my visit/ experience at Guildhall Village, there has been no previewing or editing of my post. These are my own thoughts and experiences.


Through out this year I have kept pretty remote, following the guidance and often choosing to remain on the side of caution. I think a noticeable amount of our national messaging has been about being vague or ensuring loopholes, it's left most of us to work out for ourselves what we can and what we should do. And sometimes, those are not the same things.

I didn't run out for half price meals as part of the #EatOutToHelpOut scheme because I (personally) wasn't convinced/ didn't feel it was the right thing at that time. Since then I have seen more and more of our lives slowly return to 'in person', working practices adapt to ensure worker and customer safety, along with the recognition this isn't a jump back to March, but rather a gradual journey; which will take different amounts of time for different people. A subject (different journeys) I recently had with Linn on my podcast, check out Ep198 for that discussion.

I mention all of this because this wasn't just another visit to a cool spot in Portsmouth. It was my first meal 'out' since February or March. I have already had a couple of coffee (well juice, coffee is yucky) meet ups at lunch, work meetings with a sandwich and two evening drinks with a couple friends; so I have been 'outside', but sparingly.

When Guildhall Village invited me along to try the new games and see the new setup it sounded like a great opportunity to take the next step and eat out.

I checked the website for their covid safety and guidance information. Everything looked good and provided me with confidence of the precautions at the venue.

Next up I downloaded the app so I could book our table and a slot for the games. On the day I also used the app to order our drinks and food. I have to say, I love being able to order from the table. It cuts out time waiting at a bar to order and if you are with a group, it can avoid all those awkward who's paying what discussions when the bill comes; by just ordering your own drinks and food.

At the venue everything seemed very well cleaned and presented. The staff were helpful in getting us set up on the smart darts and explaining the options. While we just played a basic highest score wins game, there were a lot of different game options.

We were informed we couldn't eat in the darts area, which was actually really nice as it meant we went to sit down when we ate (away from the darts). This may not be a big thing to some people, but for me this was a reassuring thing to have in place in terms of hygiene and cleanliness.

Our food was great. It did become a little messy, though that was likely the way we consumed our food hahaha. My only disappointment was not having space for dessert, because that ice cream cookie sandwich... o, my goodness! Next time!

Upstairs was super quite, with most people taking part in the quiz downstairs. So there was a nice atmosphere of people being around, but also having plenty of space.

While the smart darts very much seem to be the focus, and are definitely something I'd return for; there's also a few other game opportunities with: chess, table football, table tennis and shuffle board.

Again for me, the game choices were good because everything can be washed/ wiped down, keeping it covid safe. We did take our own hand wash and used it before and after touching new items, like the pucks and darts. But there were a few soap dispensers around the venue, so you don't have to take your own. Unless like me your still noting everything you touch.

We also wore our masks when moving around the venue and on the couple of occasions when interacting with other people. Staff also all wore masks and there were a few covid related messages around the venue (hands, face, space type messages).

We really enjoyed our visit to Guildhall Village and will definitely be going back. I really want to make use of that smart darts again. Im already thinking of all the friends I could lose too.

Thanks to the Guildhall Village Team for inviting me along and for inviting a couple of other Pompey Bloggers recently too. You can read about Cara's experience here.

If, like me, you are starting to go out again and working out what's safe and comfortable for you to do. I would happily recommend visiting Guildhall Village, their food (damm I want that ice cream cookie sandwich), and the games currently on offer.

The functionally of the app also means, if you don't want to move around the venue too much, you can do everything from your seat.

I am looking forward to gradually re/visiting some of the awesome spots in Pompey and our surrounding towns/ cities again soon. I am also super excited for our upcoming hotel stay, which is a delayed engagement trip from earlier this year.

In other news my podcast is about to reach 200 episodes, so there will likely be a blog post about that coming at some point soonish.


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