Not really one for the Gala crowd, I assume
Definitely not. Forget groups of grannies sat around in silence, staring at playing cards and frantically dabbing off numbers with remarkable speed, this is bingo with a difference…
According to creators Social Entertainment Ventures (SEV), Hijingo – as it is called – is ‘more than just a bingo game’, it’s a multi-sensory experience combining music, lights and sound. It’s the brainchild of Adam Breeden, who previously co-founded popular competitive socialising concepts Puttshack and Bounce. Working with James Gordon, who helped create the bizarrely macho bingo/club night concept Rebel Bingo, Breeden has taken the traditional game and combined it with 'high-spec production and theatrical visuals' courtesy of design studio The Experience Machine (TEM), who previously worked with Beyoncé for her performance at the Tidal X concert in New York, and more recently with rapper Skepta on his Dystopia987 Rave of the Future event.
So it’s bingo, but trendier…
Basically, yes. The Hijingo team describe it as ‘bingo with a pulse’, which seems rather churlish given that the original game is often associated with the elderly. The interior designs for the 200-cover Shoreditch venue feature plenty of neon mood lighting, and look a bit like a bingo hall re-imagined for the movie Blade Runner. Each Hijingo session consists of two games lasting approximately 30 minutes each, with a 20-minute interval in between, and costs £19.00 to play. Details on how the game actually works remain thin on the ground, but would appear to still involve a bingo caller standing at the front. Whether they’ll be shouting out ‘down on your knees’ every time the number 43 comes up, though, remains to be seen.
Will there be food available?
Indeed, similarly to other competitive socialising concepts, Hijingo will feature a menu of snacks, bites and small plates (with a Far East theme, in this case), and also have multiple bar areas serving a selection of cocktails, wines and beers.
Are competitive socialising concepts a relatively new thing?
Not really. SEV was launched by Breeden back in 2010, but it is notable that many of the brands that have emerged from this space have started to put significant growth plans into place in the last couple of years.
Yes. Take mini golf concept Puttshack, which currently operates two locations in the London and has previously said it aims to open a venue every 12 weeks in 2020 (it currently has a spot at the Intu Watford shopping centre, and a US site in Atlanta on the cards). Or the US-style brand Roxy Ball Room, which has just opened its ninth UK location in Birmingham. Last year saw a slew of new brands join the fray too, including Rebound by BV Restaurant Group; crazy gold and cocktail concept Birdies; and contemporary shuffleboard update Electric Shuffle.