When I was invited to attend the launch event of Dabbers Social Bingo, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect; my previous bingo experiences have either been in a run down Gala bingo hall with a glass of flat coke, a plate of soggy chips and a deeply unenthusiastic host sighing their way through the numbers or a dodgy hut at the local fair my Grandma used to take me to, where I was surrounded by about 20 grannies out for blood and a cloud of cigarette smoke thick enough to choke you.
(100% not knocking either of these options, I love bingo and actually won a George Foreman grill pan from the aforementioned dodgy hut in October. Result!)
Tucked down a quiet side street in the heart of east London, only five minutes walk from Liverpool Street Station, Dabbers sells itself as the UK’s first contemporary venue purposefully designed to celebrate the beloved game of bingo. They’re reigniting the game for the 21st century with music, comedians, glorious prizes, show stopping performers and plenty of hidden tricks.
Sounds pretty amazing right? Well oh my goodness did they deliver!
When you first walk in, it seems like a regular bar, giving no hint at all of whats hiding downstairs; a massive space full of colour, gigantic hair, fabulous costumes and a custom-built ball machine that really is spectacular. Rather than your typical Bingo caller there was a comedian and 3 hosts milling around the room interacting with everyone, adding a sense of fun and the ridiculous (in the best possible way) to the evening.
It might have just been us, but we struggled to find the bar originally, as both City Mapper and Google maps sent us to the street behind, meaning we turned up around 15 minutes late and it was already jam-packed! But Ashley had arrived on time and very kindly saved us a table right at the front of the stage so we had a perfect view all evening. Our table was really teeny tiny, it only really had room for one person to comfortably play, and so I had to rest the book on my lap during the actual games, but the main area is filled with great long benches making it perfect if you like to spread out a bit more, for large groups or just if you fancy mingling and meeting new people.
We were lucky enough to be treated to unlimited drinks and canapés all evening and we both opted for a ‘pink punch’ cocktail to start which contained pink Beefeeater gin, lemonade and cranberry juice but as far as I can tell it’s not available on the current cocktail menu, which is a shame because it was delicious. Trust me, we had many, just to be sure.
There was also a constant parade of food flowing throughout the evening where you could pick and choose what to try. Dishes included mac and cheese balls, mini burgers and Angus beef steak balls with marinara sauce. All of which were amazing! After being offered, and turning down, four meat dishes, Leah explained that she’s vegetarian, to which the waitress aplogised profusley and rushed back with a plate of Roast Pumpkin and Falafel Balls and some mixed green vegetables. They couldn’t hve been more accomodating and Leah said her meal was great.
We played 2 full rounds of bingo, but were there for around three and a half hours (and would have happily stayed longer had it not been a school night) and between all of the mini games, competitions and, my personal favourite; disco balls, the time really did fly by. The prizes on offer were definitely more gimmicky than your standard game of bingo usually has up for grabs, but to be honest, it really didn’t matter one bit! We were all just as competitive trying to win a candle holder made out of a candle as we would have been for any cash prize!
I can’t recommend Dabbers highly enough if you’re looking for a fun evening full of dancing, games and innuendo. Even if you’re not a bingo pro, there’s plenty to do with quick fire rounds, mini games and endless dancing, its impossible not to have a great time and I promise you’ll leave with a huge smile on your face, even if, like us, you don’t win!
It’s open from 5pm each weeknight and all day at the weekend, with a different theme and host for each show and prizes ranging from the novelty ones on offer to us, (who doesn’t need a felt Jesus money bank in their life?) all the way up to cash or a holiday! There’s also bottomless brunch on a Saturday, which is 2 hours of unlimited prosecco and, in case you’re wondering, exactly what I’m hitting next!
For more information or to book tickets head over to their website here.
Definitely let me know what you think if you try it out!
Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to review this event. All views are my own!