“Netflix and chill, number 69” announced the cheeky Bingo caller. “Order a Deliveroo, number 22” the comedian continued. We dutifully dabbed away at our bingo cards as the numbers were called, eager to secure that coveted full house to earn the top prize: a weekend away in Warwickshire.
We were into our third round of bingo hosted by millennial-focused ‘immersive bingo’ company Dabbers. This isn’t your regular sort of bingo joint: you won’t hear “two fat ladies” being called as it has given the call-outs a 21st-century spin. Hosted by quirky, crude and hilariously outlandish hosts who serve up constant lols, this is a bit like bingo on steroids: you’ll be forced up out of your seats to sing and could come away with a super weird prize – I came home with a chocolate fountain after securing two full rows!
Almost every night of the week, Dabbers – cleverly named after the little round ink pads used in the game – hosts different themed nights, and last week they announced a new Doggie Bingo night (where you can take your furry friend along!).
Even the bingo hall has been pimped: it’s dimmed down, with a mix of long tables and booths focused around a central stage with a giant ball spinner, and a DJ keeps the mood lively all night.
There’s an extensive menu of fast food and cocktails/drinks (you simply ‘dab’ what you want on the menu with your bingo dabber and they’ll take your order: clever!), and swift and efficient table service ensures you don’t have to move a muscle.
What was great to see was that there were groups in their mid forties and fifties as well as us millennial folk in the audience on the Friday night we visited, for ‘Bingo Voyage’ (where the winner of the third round of bingo comes away with a weekend break).
While it was a night of good forced fun – especially watching the buffoons on stage make us laugh – I can imagine it having been a whole lot more fun had I been more tanked up and surrounded by a big group of friends… so have a few bevvies beforehand, take your pals and make a night of it.
Dabbers joins a host of millennial-focused bingo entertainment companies such as Bogan Bingo (read my review here), hip hop bingo provider Blingo, Rebel Bingo and more in changing the face of this once “old people’s game”. Still, if you’re looking to win cold hard cash, you’re better off sticking to good ol’ Mecca Bingo.