10 things to know about Bongo's Bingo

10 things to know about Bongo's Bingo
Bongo's Bingo

If you’re from a big city and enjoy a good night out, you’ve probably heard about Bongo’s Bingo. It’s bingo, but it’s a bit of a rave. Think beer hall style tables and benches, the kind of music you’d hear in Popworld and the type of prizes which are great to win until you realise you have to take them on a night out. Don’t get me wrong, you do play bingo and the game is taken seriously but you can expect to be up and down in your seat to dance on the benches when certain numbers are called. It’s fun, it’s generally alcohol-fuelled and overall, it’s a great night out.

Arriving early is a must
Bongo’s Bingo tends to be a sell-out even now there are multiple events per month due to the growing popularity. Benches fill up quickly, particularly near the front so if you’re in a group, getting there well in advance is worth it to make sure you’re all sat together. It tends to be doors open at 6pm, last entry at 7:30pm then the game starts at 8 and the last few times I’ve been, I’ve been there by 6:45pm.

Pick your bench wisely
Remember that you’re going to be dancing on the benches and you will more than likely have someone behind you. If you can see tables of people who are clearly steaming drunk before the game even starts, avoid like the plague unless you want to spend your entire night with them falling backwards into you. If you’re not great with crowds or drink people, pick a bench on the side of the room and sit with your back to the edge so that you don’t have anyone behind you.

The prizes vary
For each game of bingo, there are three prizes. The first prize for one line is a joke prize and this can range from a cardboard cutout of The Rock, to a double ended dildo, to a Henry Hoover. The second prize is a bottle of alcohol, like Apple Sourz, tequila or sambuca that you can then drink with your table, and the third prize is cash.

The music will hit you in the nostalgic feels
Honestly, it will be a night of throwbacks for all the 80s and 90s kids who grew up with B*Witched, Busted and Scooter. The music ranges from cheesy pop to super-chavvy early noughties dance music, but it’s all songs that if you’re over the age of 24, you’ll definitely know.

Drinks aren’t dirt cheap
I can only speak for the Leeds Bongo’s Bingo venue, but we’re talking £18 for a bottle of prosecco or £4 a can of beer – so not entirely unreasonable vs the price you’d pay in the city but they’re more than what you’d pay on a student night. There’s a minimum of a £5 card charge so if you’re planning on sticking to tins of Koppaberg or Red Stripe, bring cash, get in a round or be prepared to buy two at a time.

Dress comfy
It’s not the place for a super short skirt (as you might end up flashing to anyone sat down behind you), your tightest skinny jeans or heels. Most people tend to dress casually as it’s a fairly sticky and often sweaty night out.

You take a risk when you call bingo
For the first two prizes, (one line and two lines), the guys on stage will pick the first person who calls bingo as the winner of the round, regardless of how many people call it. For the cash prize, if more than one person calls bingo, there will be a dance off on stage. And if you call bingo but haven’t got it right? You’ll get booed by the entire room.

It’s not just for students
Given the nature of the night, you’d expect it to be filled with students (as y’know, students like a party), but if you head to Bongo’s Bingo on a weekend, you’re more likely to find it full of young professionals and more of an over 25 crowd. Having been midweek, it was definitely a younger scene as there are student nights to go to afterwards, but on a Friday or Saturday, it tends to be people heading out after work.

Take with you as little as possible
If you take a jacket, the chance are it will end up under a bench and in a pool of a spilt drink, likewise an expensive handbag. Usually I take a cheap Primark bag that is faux leather so it’s essentially wipe clean, and it zips all the way round so my belongings can’t fall out or get sticky.

It’s really, really fun
I mean, it’s a like one big party game with a shitload of booze thrown in. It’s all the music you love but don’t really listen to, you get to dance like a lunatic with zero judgment and it’s all over by 11pm. It’s a really weird night and hard to describe the atmosphere, it’s unlike anything else that’s currently on the ‘novelty night out’ market. The guys who run it are fantastic, and as an event, it runs like a dream – there’s no faffing and it never runs late.

I freaking love Bongo’s Bingo and despite having been three times in the last 12 months, I’m absolutely keen to go back. Have you ever been to Bongo’s Bingo? Let me know in the comments.

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