For those of you who regularly read my blog, you will know I love a good game of bingo! As I’ve previously mentioned, bingo has undergone a complete transformation for the younger generation, with outrageous comedy, hilarious stage games, and raucous entertainment. It is a completely different game from what it used to be. Let’s just say, if my Nanna was to tag along to one of London’s bingo nights, she’d be in for a hell of a shock!
Mecca was the pioneer for this quintessentially British pastime that gained popularity in the late 50’s, early 60’s, as a social event for post war Britain. Fast forward to 2019 and Mecca is once again at the forefront of the evolving much-loved game. I was invited to their press night with Love Pop Ups London for their newest event, ‘Players’, situated in Camden Town.
The venue and décor were very impressive and well thought out. This may be because Mecca has been a traditional bingo hall for decades, and so it felt very professional walking in. There are a mix of benches and smaller booths, for different sized groups, each with a large glowing ball situated in the middle, resembling that huge crystal Mystic Meg used to carry out during the BBC Lottery (anyone remember her from the 90s?).
There was a small stage at the back of the room, where a band was playing, and a large stage at the front for our host Brenda (what a great bingo stage name!) A huge screen was wrapped around the walls, displaying the numbers as they were called out. I thought this was a great idea, as not many venues have a visible number board, and therefore a lot of numbers get missed amongst the chaos!
FOOD & DRINK
The entrance and upstairs bar were also impeccably decorated and very in-theme with the evening. Guests made their way through a bingo ball string curtain into the bar area, where the walls were lined with bingo puns and quotes.
The cocktails had been ‘bingofied’, with tickets pegged to some of the glass rims, bingo balls floating in your classic Pornstar Martini, and the cocktail names all related to the game itself.
I also thought they had a good selection of food. We were provided with a huge platter of pub grub including calamari, fries, chicken wings, burgers (which deserve a blog post of their own as they were delicious), salad, and onion rings.
We played five games throughout the evening; three rounds of traditional ‘ticketed’ games, where we crossed numbers off with our dabber, and two short interactive games.
Brenda was our only host for the evening and she gave it her best shot to entertain the crowds, but for me, the entertainment as a whole fell a little flat. There were no stage games or musical intervals, which other bingo events have, and no performers, or other entertainment acts, apart from the band at the back of the hall who played during the intervals. Personally, I much prefer the craziness of Bogan Bingo and Dabbers. When I visited Bogan Bingo, the hosts were hilarious, there was comedy, crowd competitions, and everyone was up on their chairs singing and dancing. Dabbers had a lot of cabaret acts, “disco ball numbers”, and mass dance routines. There was just more going on. At Players, it seemed very timid, and a lot calmer, which some people may prefer, but I needed more.
At Players, winners for one or two lines received cash prizes, and those who won the full house, received £50 plus a star prize. The star prizes were great and included a camera drone and a kayak! Unfortunately, I didn’t win anything – the drone would have been amazing!
With so many great bingo events now popping up around the UK, it is difficult to stand out. For me, Players didn’t match up to the amazing nights I’ve had at Bogan Bingo and Dabbers, which are my favourite bingo nights in London. I think this is mainly down to the atmosphere and entertainment, which was not as ‘crazy’ or as funny as their competitors’. Despite that, there were elements that I loved, and with a little improvement, Players could be up there with the rest. It is still a fun night out to be enjoyed with friends, and there’s the opportunity to win some awesome prizes.
Players takes place every Thursday and Saturday, with tickets costing £12.
For more info and to book, see their website here.
I received an invite to this event in exchange for a review. Views are my own.