This was an invited opportunity, however as always, all views are my own.
I have played bingo before as my Mum is really into it after playing many years ago and taking a liking to it. I think she’s still yet to hit the jackpot yet though!
I went along with my mate Mo, who also came along to Levi Roots’ restaurant in Stratford (which closed down this week) and we’d arrived a bit early so went for a quick drink in a pub nearby. He was on antibiotics so there was a slight issue with the boozy bingo night in that the task of trying all the cocktails on the menu fell to me.
Doors open from 7pm on Thursday and Saturday nights with the fun beginning shortly afterwards.
They do serve a number of cocktails as well as a few food options to keep you going through the night as well as before the bingo gets going.
On the night that we went it was just burgers, fries and potato salad on the menu in place of coleslaw. Personally, I think improvements could be made to the variety of food on offer and some menu items that they said were offered before, definitely need to be brought back. I’m all for short, easy to follow menus, but the food we ordered definitely needed more flavour as the potato salad was something I could have rustled up to a better standard myself for a fraction of the price they were charging here.
The slightly over-salted chips were also a bit of a let-down and although the staff were friendly, we initially received no napkins, five forks for the two of us, and only got our (much needed) sauces after asking for them and then waiting a while. They could also do with a few snacks or light bites on offer as the night is a few hours long. Something like some peanuts or sweets would be helpful to keep you going.
Back to the positives, the cocktails were amazing and suitably alcoholic, particularly on a day when I was flagging a bit after leaving work. Mo being on antibiotics meant he could only sample the Ginger Ale as well as their non-alcoholic spin on a Pina Colada, both of which got his seal of approval.
We went on a Thursday that was possibly a quiet night being before payday, but it was quite intimate and also really easy to get the hang of the games from the guy hosting and calling out the numbers. He was a fun, young guy who was really engaging and funny. He was joined by a bloke called Desmond who pushed the buttons and checked the winning bingo slips with gameshow-style suspense. They were also joined by a live band who quickly matched tunes to the number rhymes called out and kept a nice vibe going.
For a line of numbers across the board you won £20, for two lines it was £30 and for getting all the numbers in one box, “a full house”, you won £50 cash as well as one of the spot prizes.
There was a group of ten ladies who had over half of the people in the venue playing so it was no surprise that quite a few of the winnings and prizes were picked up by them. (Including the elusive kayak that both Mo and I were after).
As well as the kayak, there was (my second choice) a mountain bike, an under-counter fridge freezer, a drone, a “hoverboard” Segway thing and a robotic vacuum cleaner.
Techno bingo between each round was also great fun at just £1 per board. The numbers were sang to us over a backing tune, but again, we just missed out with our table only coming close in the round where we didn’t pay to play! Music played by the DJ in between the rounds was really good too.
Mo was lucky on the night picking up £30 of winnings for two lines in his book in the final game! His walk to the stage to find out if his lines had been confirmed was also the calmest I’ve ever seen a person about to win money.
After the end of bingo there was also about 30 minutes to an hour left of the night where they had music playing and people could carry on the fun for a little while longer. I can imagine with a larger crowd and no work the next day, it would be a different experience, but I really enjoyed the night!
Players Bingo runs on Thursday and Saturday nights every week (for those aged 18+), taking over about half of the Mecca Bingo hall in Camden. Tickets start from £12 with discounts for groups of four, eight or 20.
I can’t wait to go along again, and my Mum, the real bingo addict, will be delighted when I tell her we might even join her at a “proper” bingo night – perhaps this time to win some big time cash prizes!
~ J ~