Featured image: Bongo’s Bingo
Arts and culture editor Beth Fulham lifts the lid on her night of bingo, booze and raving at Bongo’s Bingo Halloween Monday
I’ve had my fair share of student nights out in Manchester… From clubbing at Cargo, to retro arcade gaming at NQ64, but Bongo’s Bingo is truly something else. This night definitely has a reputation which precedes itself. Braced for chaos, it’s the only way to spend Halloween. Growing up, the 31st of October is all about sweets and Hocus Pocus however, tonight is all about spooky bingo, booze and raving.
Arriving at Manchester’s iconic Albert Hall dressed up as devils with glow-in-the-dark horns, we are left speechless at the sight of the main hall. With a bar either side of us, the space is full of benches (which later doubled up as mini dance stages). Eerie decorations surround us, with skeletons in our every direction.
Starting out normal enough, we are given the usual bingo set-up – a red felt pen and five games of bingo, along with a creepy beaded necklace. Arriving at our table on the bottom floor, free samples of Southern Comfort are flowing as a wide range of partygoers are dressed up as zombies, lifeguards, and devils, all round up. We sit between a gorgeous pair of drag queens and a group of middle-aged women – they leave halfway through, and I half-assume they thought they were getting a regular Bingo night at MECCA.
As the clock strikes 8pm, the host kicks off the first bingo game with a remixed ‘Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It.’ The song choice definitely gets the party started. Crowds of people are quick to jump up on the benches to dance, eager for the game to start. Keeping the host company are two men dressed as dead maids. Throughout the game, they strip – a personal highlight from the night.
After a quick run-through of the rules, the potential prizes are introduced hilariously by the two assistants. The prizes are just as crazy as the night; a “Chucky” doll, a cardboard cut-out of Micheal Jackson, and a Henry Hoover are all up for grabs, as well as cash prizes topping a grand!
At around 8:15pm, things are starting to get serious as we commence our first game of bingo, not lasting long as we get up to dance. Every number has a song to dance to, 33 played Irish tunes like ‘Fairytale of New York’ and as number five is called, we dive into Steps’ hit ‘5678’. In hindsight, it was very corny but so much fun.
The second game in, two people win a full house which can only mean one thing – a dance-off. Two winners leap on stage competing for a cash prize, and the girl absolutely smashes it. By the fourth game, we are dripping in sweat and so tired from all the dancing, but we keep getting up. It’s such a barrel of laughs and, with the amount of dancing you do, is almost a workout.
As the last game of Bingo wraps up, the DJ plays 12 minutes of straight “bangers”. Everyone comes down to the bottom floor, and we are all dancing to songs from High School Musical and the classic ‘Come On Eileen’.
We had such a hilarious night. Neither of us won any prizes, but the constant raves and four-pint jug of Woo Woo made it more than worthwhile. Bongo’s Bingo is not for the faint-hearted, but we are already eagerly awaiting our next visit.
Bongo’s Bingo January and February 2023 shows are on sale now including special 90s party on Friday 20th January, 2023. For tickets and more information visit www.bongosbingo.co.uk and follow @bongosbingo.