The first rule of Flight Club is: You don’t talk about Flight Club. The second rule of Flight Club is: You don’t talk about Flight Club. Or maybe it was Fight Club. It’s easy to confuse the two. Either way, I’m gonna break the rules and talk about Flight Club.
I was invited to the press launch of Flight Club Birmingham, meaning my game, food and drinks were all complimentary. There was no obligation to review the evening, but I had a great time and thought you deserved to know!
Flight Club is making darts sexy. It’s no longer about middle-aged men in ill-fitting shirts, beer bellies bulging over too-tight trousers. It’s about up-to-the-minute technology, cocktail slushies and a great small plate selection. The dart board is no longer hidden in a corner of a grotty pub, with stained carpets and tables propped up with beermats. The dartboard is front and centre, loud and proud. This is “Social Darts”.
Interesting reading: Are hipster bars ruining darts?
Mr Fletche and I were invited for a sneaky peek into Flight Club’s newest location, on Temple Street in Birmingham, 24 hours before it’s official 19th July opening. It’s already busy when we arrive – we love a VIP event here in Brum – but we’re immediately shown upstairs to our oche and to meet our new best friends. At least for the next two hours, where we cheer, motivate and coach each other. Until it comes to playing Killer of course.
It’s a beautiful interior. Gentleman’s club (not that type) mixed with fairground. The shelves are adorned with the kind of prize ornaments only achieved after winning 500 tokens in an amusement arcade. Exposed lightbulbs swoop down towards the dartboard and carousel horses keep a watchful eye on proceedings. I’m so absorbed in the atmosphere that I hardly take any photos at all. I’m a terrible blogger.
The state-of-the-art scoring system is annoyingly accurate. There’s no cheating allowed here. Nope, it know where your arrow is going to land almost as soon as you’ve launched it. For research purposes, I tried cheating. It’s impossible. There’s also multiple throw-lines – for the darts virgins, for the vertically-challenged and for the short-sighted. I am all three. And every throw and reaction is filmed and played back so you can pretend you’re taking part in the Worlds Darts Championship. Except the audience won’t be a bunch of men dressed as bananas with “Hello Mom” signs. Or maybe it will. I don’t know your friends.
There are no chalkboards, and players no longer need a degree in counting backwards. And each team gets their own oche, so there’s no chance of getting a random dart in your eye. Unless your teammate is really bad. There are five games to try, from the more traditional Demolition to a surprisingly competitive Snakes & Ladders. Shanghai is similar to Round-The-Clock, Quackshot requires a steady hand and the aforementioned Killer gives you the opportunity to turn your opponents into angels floating into heaven.
Darts is fun. You heard it hear first. And as the late great Jim Bowen once said: ““Stay out of the black and into the red, nothing in this game for two in a bed” And who knows what that means.
Visit Flight Club Birmingham for more info and how to book. It’s open 7 days a week, and an oche is £30 per hour at peak times (£15 off peak). An oche holds up to 12 players – which works out at a bargain (does maths in head) £2.50 per person. You can only book in groups of 6 and over at peak times (after 4pm Mon-Fri and all day Saturday).