Bingo – A word which traditionally evoked the image of a gentle game played by groups of older ladies in their local bingo hall.
The classic British pastime, which once seemed to be in terminal decline, has been making its comeback recently with the younger generations, especially with the increasing availability of online bingo making the game more widely accessible and popular with the masses.
But what about the social aspect which used to be an important part of the bingo experience? Groups of friends getting together to dab their bingo pens in the hope of winning a few quid, rather than someone sat at home alone on their computer.
Well Bingo Academy, which launched in London this month, is dragging the game back to its bingo hall days, and bringing the younger generation with it.
Located at the Vaults in Waterloo, Bingo Academy is an underground bingo training facility where players are schooled in a slightly eccentric and fast-paced take on the traditional game. With a trio of hosts bouncing around the room gearing up the crowd, neon lighting and loud music celebrating each bingo call, it’s hard to believe this is the same game your nan used to play with a cup of tea in hand.
To help ease the pressure of intense bingo dabbing, the Vaults bingo hall is equipped with its own bar, as well as a stand from ‘Popdog’ serving up delicious hot dogs all night.
Prizes start with the more traditional money, but quickly evolve on to the likes of a giant bottle of vodka, a large teddy and even a money-gun (the one I secretly wanted the most!). All revealed by the super glamorous celebrity bingo caller Luki Luck from Rebel Bingo who stands on a raised platform looking down at her band of bingo trainees.
And if you’re already versed in the language of Bingo – Clickity Click Sixty Six – forget everything you already know! The new age bingo lingo is unlike anything you’ve heard before and is certainly not for those with a sensitive disposition (so probably best not to bring your grandma!). It’s rude, crude and highly entertaining.
BINGO ACADEMY AT THE VAULTS IS NOW CLOSED! BUT STAY TUNED FOR SIMILAR EVENTS…