City Dweller and socialite, Rachel Flynn checks out the Mecca Bingo in Crossgates for a new experience and a night of surprises.

When living in the city, entertainment options are limitless and I’m always on the look out for alternative experiences. So when the opportunity arose to try out Mecca Bingo, down at Crossgates, I put a Wednesday evening aside to give it a go.

On the short taxi journey to Crossgates my bingo partner and I were totally in the dark as to what to expect. Neither of us had ever been to a proper bingo hall before and were eager to see what awaited.

The first thing that struck me was the size of the place, the building (which was an old supermarket back in the day) was ginormous with a thousand person capacity main hall and a separate slots room. On arrival our first task was to register which, with the help of the welcoming reception staff, was a very quick and easy process. With that done and membership cards in hand we were ready to get playing.

Initially choosing what games to play seemed a little confusing but after a quick lesson from the staff we were set up with our books, dabbers, and a tablet to play electronically if we wished (who’d had thought the classic game of bingo was so up with the times?!). I opted for the traditional dabber method whereas my partner was grateful for the tablet which automatically completed your games for you. A definite must if you tend to buckle under pressure!

Mecca-Bingo-DrinkAlthough we wanted our experience to be about playing bingo it was only right that we also took full advantage of all that Mecca had to offer by getting involved in the vast food and drink options. Typical for my partner and I to spot a cocktail menu – it was a Cosmo for me and a Mojito for him. Once in the flow of a game it is impossible to direct your attention anywhere else so the choice to have your food served during the intervals was a spot on service. To start we had the Ultimate Full House Platter which was perfect for our carnivore/vegetarian combo, the mozzarella dippers were undoubtedly our favourite. For mains my partner was more than satisfied with the home comforts of the Veggie Sausage and Mash, whereas I experimented with the ‘Chicken Your Way’ selection of chicken breast with rice, coleslaw and firecracker sauce. The standard, and variety, of the food and drink surpassed our expectations when compared to their price tag, with mains starting from just £3.99 you’re left with plenty of change to have a dabble on the slots.

With the intensity of the games, and bustling atmosphere, it was easy to see how so many people choose Bingo as their past time. The big game of the night was a link up with all the other Mecca Clubs across the country and with the chance of ‘winning forty four grand’ on the cards you could have heard a pin drop for the duration. Unfortunately for us, our luck wasn’t in at all that evening but it was for some. The lady on the table next to us happily walked away with just over four hundred quid in the bag!

What I found appealing about bingo was the freedom to play as you wished, it was your choice how many games you wanted to play and how much money you were prepared to spend.

For us, we were there for a bit of fun but for some it gets pretty serious. With the amount on offer to win it wasn’t hard to see why. Another pleasing factor of our trip was the evident sense of community – regulars were very friendly and only too willing to offer advice to us amateurs.

As mentioned earlier our visit to Mecca Bingo Crossgates was a first for both my partner and I, and to say we were surprised would be an understatement. Whether you’re looking for a new hobby or want a night out with a difference it’s unquestionably worth giving it a shot. It could also double up for a great celebration option, a birthday night out or an alternative girls night out?

As the saying goes ‘don’t knock it until you try it’ and it’s safe to say Mecca Bingo is definitely to be tried!

Here’s to a full house!

Rachel x