Bingo isn’t just for old people – Dabbers

Bingo has always been a big part of British culture and has been recently reignited for the younger generation as bingo is no longer a pensioner’s game!  Dabbers has recently been modernised for the younger generation bringing it into the 21st century from quirky bingo pop ups such as bingo brunches, bingo dinners, bingo parties, just about anything.  

I was invited down by Dabbers on a complimentary basis to experience and dab my way through the night within the UK’s first purpose built, contemporary bingo venue in Houndsditch, London.


Dabbers is the UK’s first and only purpose built, contemporary bingo hall to open up which is open 7 days a week. They bring bingo to Londoners with a very modern twist via comedians, cabaret and musicians giving bingo sessions that cutting edge.

Bingo goers will be able to play for some fun prizes, all whilst watching enjoying great entertainment, sipping on custom cocktails and eating delicious food whilst watching balls fling out from their custom built ball machine.

Each night they hold a different theme:

Monday is Social Bingo Club
Tuesday is High Stakes Bingo
Wednesday is Bawlers Bingo
Thursday is Pick’n’mix Bingo
Friday is Bingo Voyage (one lucky winner will win a holiday in this fast paced, high energy flagship night)
Saturday has Dabbers Brunch club and Bingo Bonanza / Jackpot Bingo / Disco Bingo
Sunday has Family Odd Balls Bingo

Plus they hold monthly special events from Vintage Bingo, Speed Dating Bingo, Fiesta Bingo and Dabbers Presents!

Bingo history

No one really knows when bingo actually began but it originated from lottery games which spread throughout Europe in the 16th century.

It is also believed that the game was originally played by the British Navy within a large garrison which was stationed in Malta from 1814 making it potentially possible that bingo came from the Maltese.

The game was based purely on chance dependant upon the drawing of random numbers. Bingo balls were traditionally drawn out of a bag or via a spinning tombola type cage.

Bingo also used to be named differently back in the 1800’s as the Army called it Housey-Housey and the Navy called it Tombola. There is though no record as to how either of these names came about. The game continued to be extremely popular in the forces up to and during the Second World War.

Later in the 1900’s it is said that an American toy salesman named Edwin S. Lowe commercially sold and produced bingo tickets. But why did he use the word bingo? It has been said that he was watching a game during a country fair in Georgia in 1929 which beans were used to cover the numbers instead of corn. Due to the excitement of winning a lady accidently shouted Bingo! instead of Beano!  Lowe liked the name and decided to use it for his product.

Bingo ball numbers started to get nicknames come the 1950s and 1960s when bingo had reached a peak of popularity, with many of the nicknames formed in these years still being used.  However, some bingo callers have updated them with a modern twist to appeal to the younger generation.

With the ever growing technology of today bingo is now played in all sorts of manners from online electronic bingo, mobile phones, electronic screens etc.  

However Dabbers has kept with tradition and balls are drawn from a very modernised tombola style ball producing machine.

Dabbing for Bingo

Heading to Dabbers with my blogger friend Steve and our plus 1’s we were in for a night of craziness as we attended Dabbers Thursday night of Pick’n’mix madness.

Upon entering the venue immediately, we could feel a real party vibe.  Checking on in we collected our pick’n’mix bags from the ticket booth and headed on down to play bingo.  The goodie bags consisted of sweets, four bingo cards and dabbers.

There are different seating sections within Dabbers from

Social Seating where you will be in the mix, at the centre of the action. These are long trestle tables with deluxe padded stools that are in the lower floor area around the stage. Also had a upper shelf on each table, why? so you don’t spill your drinks all over your bingo sheets or food. You will be able to rub bingo wings with fellow dabbers.

Banquette Seats which are padded seats which run around the edge of the social bingo area plus there are a few on the raised floor area. They’re great for a date or a smaller group of friends.

Baller Booths are two private booths, set at the back which are suitable for 5 and 12 people and comes with one or two free bottles of prosecco.

I and my party though we were given a special VIP round table which sat the four of us that had been put up specially for us bloggers on the night.  We had a great view of the stage and was very handy being near the bar.

Upon our round table we had a bottle of Prosecco waiting for us to pop it open. 

We were also presented with a mix of food from meatballs to chicken on skewers.

All the food tasted absolutely amazing not like the slop you usually get served in bingo halls.  

I particularly loved the saucy meatballs, they were massive and highly flavoursome and the macaroni cheese was a cheese lovers dream as was creamy, cheesy and very tasty.  In fact I think this has to be one of the best macaroni cheeses I have ever had in London.

At 8pm it was time for Bingo!

So dabbers at the ready it was time to get this party started, sorry I mean bingo. 

Two male dancers came out called the Dabberinos who danced around the custom built bingo ball machine which looked a bit like the Crystal Maze dome. With plenty of thrusting and love been given to the machine with music blaring out from the speakers and a quick introduction from a female bingo caller called a Dabette explaining the rules of the game it was time for bingo.

Music turned down but not off the first number was called and yes I had it, so I dabbed it off with my very cute mini dabber, and then another and another, I frantically dabbed them off my competitively but alas the run of dabbing soon stopped, and then eventually there was a call of bingo from the distance so my dream of winning the first game of bingo was shattered.  However the night was young and so there was still a high possibility of winning a game.

The lucky winner of the first game could win one of the amazing retro style prizes from the prize table from a large blow up pizza, mini arcade machines, a PlayStation, etc but the prize that took my fancy was the lit up dinosaur light which I really wanted. 

The host on the night though chose which prize is given to the winner and so the host handed the first winner a blow up slice of pizza, not bad least it was not the dinosaur.

My dream of winning that dinosaur was still in reach.  Now it was on to two lines and so the competition was back on with all the familiar sayings such as two fat ladies, legs eleven and garden gate.

Click here for a list of popular bingo call phrases for all numbers 1-90. Before checking out the list though how many do you think you know?

Dabbers have made some of their own unique 21st century phrases which are listed below here:

5. Cancelled Uber driver
14. Insta Hipster Scene
22. Shit tattoo
47. Snazzy top, what ya Reckon?
48. Not another Brexit debate
55. Living my best life
56. Scrolling though ex’s pics
59. I don’t have to rhyme to be accepted
62. Night out with the crew
67. Brand new Botox facial expression
68. Why is my food served on a slate?
69. Netflix and Chill
71. U OK hun?
80. Tinder age limit
82. Total Man flu
87. New Instagram obsession
90. Drunk on Jager and Feisty

Number calling started again but before anyone else could shout out bingo one of Dabbers gimmicky Disco Balls popped out of the machine which meant everyone had to stand up on their feet, music was ramped up and everyone had to dance.  The disco balls definitely bring the whole place to life. After a good old dance and laugh it was then back on with dabbing. 

Eventually two people called bingo and I wondered how would they split a prize into two. Well there was an answer to this and it involved a mini game of sorts to determine the overall winner from trying to thrust a ball tied around ones waist into a baseball net, frantically twirking balls out of a box fixed on ones bum, bottle shaking etc. which was highly amusing to watch.  The winner of a mini game would be the overall winner to win a prize from the prize table and the one that looses would get a drinks token instead.    

During the third game of winning lines and a full house alas the dinosaur was won but even though disheartened I still was having a roaring good time.

In between the games there are intervals so you can grab a drink or two and have a good old natter with your friends.  During this time I and my party we enjoyed a glass of gin each. 

I had a Beefeater raspberry flavoured gin which was very refreshing with a hint of raspberry flavour hitting my taste buds. At 40% though and with it being a Thursday caution was required.

For the final game of the night it was slightly different to a normal game of bingo as did not involve numbers but music song titles instead so if them song on your card was called out you had to mark it off which was fun as this game certainly got people singing as well as dancing to the clip its of tunes. 

Steve ended up being one of the winners in the final game so he had to step up on stage with a group of other potential winners for a dance off. Alas he did not win but if he had he would of won a PlayStation but he was happy enough with his drink token.

I never got to call out those famous words BINGO but I had a great time dabbing, eating, drinking, laughing, dancing and singing at Dabbers.

Yabba Dabber Do

I highly loved this twist on bingo it certainly made the night entertaining from the entertainment through to the bingo game itself.  This is a must for any one who loves a little gambling, dancing, singing and a laugh.     

Warning this is not Nana’s bingo.


To book click here.

18-22 Houndsditch

Opening Times:

Monday 5pm-11pm
Tuesday 5pm-11pm
Wednesday 5pm-11pm
Thusday 5pm-1am
Friday 5pm-1am
Saturday 11:30am-1am
Sunday 11:30am-11pm

Thank you Dabbers for a yabba dabba of a good night. I was given this experience on a complimentary basis but all views are my own honest opinion.

Click below to read Steve’s and other members blogs who have been to Dabbers courtesy from them on a blogger related opportunity. All their are of their own honest opinion.

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