If you haven’t heard of Bongo’s Bingo, where have you been? No longer just a hobby for the blue-rinse-brigade, Bongo’s combines the number-daubing game, with music, drinking and dancing on benches, plus a whole load of weird and wonderful prizes. I recently attended a Bongo’s Bingo event for the first time in Leeds the other week and it was… interesting!
It was held at the 02 Academy and even though we got there in plenty of time, we had to queue for a while before getting in. We had our bags searched, were given a wristband and a dabber and left to find a space on one of the huge bench tables. The first thing I will say, is that drinks were bloody extortionate! I’m talking Down South prices! One good thing was that you could get a packet of crisps for free if you bought a soft drink.
Not that the prices stopped this mainly-student audience from drinking. Holy crap were there some drunk beans. I was a little disheartened to see that there were so many students – I can see why it would be attractive to students (I would have absolutely loved this in my student days) but I wanted to see more non-students. Being in a room of wasted students makes me feel old and boring.
So the premise is essentially the same. Numbers are called, you mark them off on your book and prizes are won at one line, two lines and a full house. Full house prizes were cash, ranging from £40 to £500 which I was really impressed at. But really, the fun prizes came at the other levels. Some were a little lame, like a box of Coco Pops (where the winner was encouraged to ‘make it rain’), but others were amazing. My highlights were a cardboard cutout of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and a giant inflatable duck. Other prizes included a Henry Hoover and a mobility scooter, both of which left me wondering what on earth a drunk person is going to do with those, especially if they were going out afterwards, or getting a train home. Alcohol was also featured a lot as filler prizes.
None of us won a bloody thing!
But I‘m getting ahead of myself. One thing that Bongo’s is known for, is dancing to old school tunes on the benches of the tables. Sometimes, it did seem as though we were dancing on them because that’s what you’re supposed to do, rather than because we were overwhelmed by the need to get up on a bench and get down. The music was a whole load of fun though – all the 90’s and early noughties tunes that just never get old!
The host was great, (although I wasn’t 100% sure why the two guys wearing skirts were a thing?) He kept people in line, and focussed (well needed because very drunk people and numbers do not mix!) and created a fun atmosphere. If someone made a bad call, we were all encouraged to yell at them, (I’m not sure I would have loved being at the receiving end of that!) and there were various phrases and actions that happened on different numbers. These were fun the first few times but some were a little repetitive.
In conclusion – Bongo’s is a fun night out with pals, although I’m not 100% sure I understand why it always sells out. The prizes are a mixed bag, but mostly pretty awesome. The venue was expensive and the floor sticky, but the music was banging. I would probably go again, but if I don’t get to, I’m not too gutted.
What do you think? Have you been?