Now a regular fixture at The Boiler Shop in Newcastle – Bongo’s Bingo is bingo, but with a twist. We’re talking dancing, singing and general feel-good party vibes. And prizes, of course!
Last Saturday, I headed along to the event with six of my friends in tow, ready to experience the promised fun and mayhem first-hand.
Our taxis were running a little late, which meant we got to The Boiler Shop behind Central Station almost an hour after the doors first opened. This wasn’t a good start, as the seats – long rows of tables with benches on either side – are allocated first come first served, so the staff asked some people to shuffle up so that we could squeeze on to the end of a table. Very cosy indeed.
Before we knew it, the lights dimmed and the party atmosphere got underway with two scantily clad guys in wigs and dresses taking to the stage alongside the bingo-caller-come-DJ. Straightaway, everybody was up on the benches, dancing away. For the Bongo’s Bingo newcomer, this can seem a bit chaotic but it’s best to just go with it and join in.
A few songs later, it was time take to our seats and flick open our booklet to the first game, pen at the ready.
For each game, there are three chances to win. You call ‘bingo’ for a horizontal line, then two lines and lastly, a full house. As for the prizes – there’s everything from a cardboard cutout of Ainsley Harriott (yep, this was an actual prize on the night and not the real Ainsley, much to my friend Jessica’s disappointment!) to bottles of alcohol and cash prizes.
It actually takes a fair bit of concentration to get into a rhythm and mark off the numbers quickly, especially if a friend makes a trip to the bar mid-game and you’re crossing off two books at the same time. If you don’t quite hear a number properly, it’s also displayed on the stage (something I only realised during the last game).
Of course, it’s not your regular game of bingo. Expect impromptu cheesy tunes throughout, usually linked to the number that’s been called (Beautiful South ‘Perfect 10’ being a prime example) and countless opportunities to get up on the benches and dance away like nobody is watching. Note to self – don’t wear high heels!
Going back to my friend Jessica…bless her, not only did she fall off the bench (no major injuries to report, thankfully) – she also made a false call, mistaking 70 for 17. Having an entire room full of people chanting at you is pretty mortifying, even after a few tipples!
Fast forward to a few games later when my other friend Rachael screeched ‘bingo’ – you could tell everybody was thinking, not that group of girls again. But, as you can see in the video below, she did actually scoop £150. (Prepare for plenty of loud screaming if you press play!)
If you call bingo at the same time as another player, be prepared to take to the stage for an actual dance off. This also happened on the night, with a guy and a lass making some rather entertaining shapes in a bid to be crowned the winner.
There’s also an interval. But this isn’t your average toilet-trip-and-visit-to-the-bar break. This is a mini rave, with the room awash with multi-coloured glow sticks, and dance hits from yesteryear blaring from the speakers, with classics such as N Trance and Darude ‘Sandstorm’. You’ll think you’re a teenager again at a school disco.
Switching up the party atmosphere – there’s a heartfelt singalong or two to slow down the pace, sure to appeal to the Westlife fans out there. And even once all the games are finished, the tunes keep on coming (Cotton Eye Joe, anyone?) so you really can make a night of it.
It’s no surprise that Bongo’s Bingo continually sells out every time a batch of tickets are released. It’s such a fun night out, especially for larger groups of guys and gals, and it makes a great alternative to a standard bar crawl around town. We’re already planning our return visit, but we’ll all definitely be wearing flat shoes next time!
Bongo’s Bingo will be back in Newcastle on 4, 10, 11, 15 and 23 November 2017. For more information, visit www.bongosbingo.co.uk.
*Newcastle Sparkles enjoyed entry into Bongo’s Bingo on a complimentary basis for review purposes