Bingo is a traditional British game that has its roots as far back as the 1500s. You may have a grandmother who loves to go out and bingo. Because of its widespread popularity post-World War II, many people consider it as an “old people’s game” and for many locals, the bingo hall isn’t the first choice when they’re planning a night out in London.
However, bingo has succeeded in capturing the heart of the masses once again. This time around, the source is surprising: millennials. Thanks to young adults, bingo has been revolutionised and is no longer your grandma’s bingo. Instead, as we move into the digital era with all the online bingo it has to offer, the bingo scene has also transformed into a highly-versatile, entertaining, and raucous affair, complete with 21st century music, show-stopping performances, hilarious games, magnificent prizes, and even a buffet.
Bingo is back with a bang in London.
Dabber Social Bingo in East London
One famous bingo hall is Dabbers Social Bingo in East London that not just offers the “vintage bingo” — the traditional version of the game — but also 12 different more modern interpretations of the game, including “bingo voyage” where players have a chance to win a holiday, and “high-stakes bingo,” where players have a chance for winning large cash prizes.
In addition, you can also participate in a mash up of several other activities like LGBT cabaret shows, UBV nights, and Speed Dating. To top it all off, players are served salted edamame and espresso martinis instead of the usual popcorn and beer, as well as all-you-can-eat bottomless brunch buffets.
The loud and boisterous experience is made all the more possible, thanks to the use of digital apps. Players can now use electronic tablets in lieu of their paper tickets and the app keeps track of all the numbers as they are called. This way, players have the freedom to roam about, chat with others, and hop over to the buffet table, without fear of missing a number.
UKG Bingo Nights At “Duo London”
Duo London is a popular bar in Camden, which hosts the wildly popular UKG Bingo Nights on Friday. The event celebrates everything associated with UK Garage Music in the most raucous and bizarre ways possible. Attendees are diverse and are encouraged to come dressed in a variety of clothes from bling skirts to Moschino shirts to honour the times when UK Garage Music was at its peak.
The event involves several bingo rounds, exciting challenges, and thrilling games all through the night. Moreover, a DJ also spins out the best of the best music from the glory days of UK Garage Music. Of course, attendees will also get the opportunity to win great prizes and a King or Queen of UKG Bingo will be announced before the night is out.
Musical Bingo Presents Mardi Gras in Shoreditch
The Musical Bingo Presents Mardi Gras in Shoreditch is one of the wildest bingo events in London. The attendees come dressed up in crazy costumes and their best masks and the event managers host their very own parade, as a tribute to New Orleans.
The event includes several dance offs, music, circus themed decor, confetti showers, stage challenges, mystery boxes, and prizes, along with a hilarious host. Attendees can request private booths for themselves and their friends or rub elbows with other fellow dabbers while in the thick of things.
Brixton Jamm’s Drag Bingo
Brixton Jamm’s Day Drag Bingo nights are held regularly and are a great opportunity for friends and lovers to take part in the bingo scene.
The party features London’s most talented drag queens and hosts highly competitive bingo games that will keep you jumping off your seat. Your host makes humorous bingo calls, while the DJ spins the most popular disco, pop, and love songs. You will see dance-offs the likes of which you have never seen before, amazing prizes that will knock your socks off, and of course, exhilarating drag performances.
Bongo’s Bingo in Clapham
Bongo Bingo is hosted in Clapham on Fridays and is a hybrid of the classic traditional bingo, complete with pitchers of cocktails and beers, along with frenzied attendees dancing to the tune of the 90s pop classics while ticking off numbers on their cards, pulsating strobe lights, and several different kinds of entertainment on stage.
Bongo’s Bingo is arguably the most famous bingo event and has also been hosted in Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool and many other clubs scattered all over the country. It has the honour of hosting some of the most popular celebrities as special guests, including Knight Rider star David Hasselhoff and popular pop band S Club 7.
Prizes at the party can range from anything from Coco Pops to Porsches.
In fact, Bongo’s Bingo is one of the most popular bingo nights which college students drive to in herds. The event’s MC Johnny “Bongo” Lacey, who first became famous due to his bizarre quiz shows, joined forces with Josh Burke so that they could bring back bingo to the masses, particularly the younger generation.
The idea behind Bongo’s Bingo was that the younger generation was getting tired of the monotonous night club scenes that revolved mainly around dancing. So, modern bingo nights are perfect for people looking for varied avenues of entertainment. In 30 seconds, you can go from dancing to sitting down with your bingo books in dead silence.
Another big reason behind Bongo’s Bingo success was that the event does not penny-pinch when it comes to prizes, as the founders agreed from the get-go that they would give away a majority of what they earn back to the people. The prizes can vary from mobility scooters to hot tub to anything under the sun.
That’s because Millennials don’t just want to go clubbing anymore. They are looking for experiences that surprise them and fill them with wonder — which is exactly what they get at bongos bingos.
The bingo phenomenon has now spread to universities as well and has been held at the Liverpool Guild of Students at the University of Liverpool, where all students are invited. The programme features outrageous live shows, dance-offs, stand-up comedy, loud music, and novelty prices.
The Evolution of the Bingo Venue
Bingo halls were once a place where old ladies gathered and waited for their number to be called. Bingo halls were always shrouded in silence as no one dared to open their mouth for fear of being chastised.
However, the bingo scene in present-day London couldn’t be more different than that. The bingo hall now only occupies half the space of the entire venue. The other half is dedicated to lively performances, loud music, and often a dance floor, as companies try to turn the once-competitive affair into a fun-filled night out.
Although many bingo halls have closed down in recent years, stats show that this traditional game is still loved by Londoners. It seems that online bingo has now taken the place of many bingo halls and is driving more demand not just among the younger generation but among senior citizens as well. There is now a game for everyone and bingo is alive and kicking!