So, it’s your fella’s birthday and you have a rare Sunday afternoon sans kids – courtesy of Nana and Grandad – so where do you take him to celebrate? The bingo of course!
But not just any bingo – Bongo’s Bingo…!
A swift google scan revealed that the guys who have revolutionised the older generation’s favourite numbers game had brought out a new Sunday Brunch version of the hit night out which has taken Liverpool and the UK by storm – perfect!
Bongo’s Bingo has become something of a phenomenon and if you haven’t heard of it already – you must be living under a rock! Having started in Liverpool three years ago, it’s now sweeping the nation and overseas with its own brand of batshit bonkers.
Even so – my other half didn’t look quite as enthusiastic when I broke the news that was where I was taking him for his birthday treat – “bingo’s for grannies” he grumbled.
But I managed to cajole him with the promise of a few pints and soon we were walking into the ultra-cool hipster venue that is Camp and Furnace.
A little late, we shuffled in, collected our books and pens and entered the bingo arena and surveyed the scene – my fella’s jaw-dropping at the sight of hundreds of trendy youths dancing wildly on the tables.
It wasn’t quite what we were expecting – and a far cry from the bingo halls we’d ever frequented in the past – where you daren’t speak for fear of being stabbed in the eye with a dabber by a blue-rinsed pensioner who’d missed the last number and the big prize was a box of chocolate mis-shapes.
This was more like a full on 90s rave complete with thumping bass, strobe lights and dabbers being replaced by the frenzied waving of glow sticks – fuelled by complementary Prosecco.
That afternoon, Bongo’s was hosting a special festive brunch with artisanal legends Burger Joe providing a mouth-watering menu of Yuletide treats.
We took our place at the benches and sipped our free fizz. Fella looked a tad shell-shocked at first but after a few scoops, he started to embrace the madness and mayhem that is Bongo’s Bingo.
Before long, it was time to get our eyes down for the bingo. This is proper bingo with all the usual rules but with a twist – the calling of certain number triggers musical interludes – from 80s classics and pop cheese to hands-in-the-air anthems and hardcore rave.
So – for number four – it was “someone’s knocking at the door…”, 17 was “Dancing Queen” and you get the drift…
Our host for the afternoon, Rich Furnace, had the bingo lingo down to a fine art, accompanied by his bearded Absinthe Fairy dancers.
False calls are punished with humiliation and if more than one person gets a line or full house – they are dragged onto the stage for a dance-off.
Prizes range from the downright naff and ridiculous (cardboard cut-outs of Philip Scofield, a Henry Hoover or mobility scooter) to big cash prizes.
It really is an insane experience, but I defy anyone to go to Bongo’s and not come out with a big smile on their face. In fact, I’d go as far as to say they should prescribe it on the NHS!
We had such a good laugh – I can’t wait to go again. And there are lots of new shows announced for 2019 – so check out the website at www.bongosbingo.co.uk – but be quick as tickets literally sell out in minutes.