An estimated 10,000 people will file into the O2 tonight for the opening of the darts Premier League. It’s said to be Britain’s biggest indoor sporting event. Clearly a game in rude health, then.
But darts is suffering at grassroots level, thanks to a gradual diminution in pubs with facilities. The health and safety implications of mixing drink and sharp objects are too risky for some licensees. Meanwhile, in the time it takes the board to revolve, another traditional boozer closes its doors to make way for redevelopment.
Step forward Justin Irwin, Bachelor of Darts. He’s compiled a directory of central London pubs still offering dartboards. Capital Arrows lists 100 places, grouped by area, that cater for pointy projectile enthusiasts. Each entry is annotated with tips on the board’s accessibility and the general mood of the pub. Better yet, it’s all mapped, raising the prospect of a dart-themed entry in our alternative pub crawl series.
Justin also includes lists of his top 5 darting pubs, more modern places to test your wrist action and pubs with league teams. To round things off, there’s also a list of places with the alternative ‘Fives’ board (pictured top) – a traditional East End variation that can still be played in 30 venues.