Gone are the days of heading into an musty-smelling community hall for a round of bingo.
Your gran played it, your auntie played it, and suddenly you’re playing it, too. Much like flared jeans and dad trainers, bingo has come back in fashion but it’s certainly stepped up a notch. (Header image: @blackpoolandy)
Tooting’s bingo hall might actually be so beautiful that it distracts you from the game itself. This incredible building, designed to look just like a Russian Orthodox church, is filled with Art Deco-inspired interiors, huge, imposing ceilings and… lots of coloured marker pens.
Fun fact: It’s also Sadiq Khan’s favourite building in London.
This bingo hall’s life started back in 1931, when it opened as the Granada theatre and cinema. The first-ever screening was the American comedy film Monte Carlo, and the building was a popular choice for locals for 10 years until it became a music venue. Since then, it’s undergone renovation after renovation while playing host to the likes of The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and the Rolling Stones.
And if you’re wondering why the outside of the building is quite typical but the inside is so…extra, keep in mind that the architect wanted cinema-goers of the time to consider Granada a “religious experience”. We have Mr Theodore Komisarjevsky to thank for the grand, gothic interiors and inability to walk around without getting a bit overwhelmed.
In a desperate attempt to stop the building being demolished in the 1970s, Tooting Council applied for listed status. Now, it’s the only Grade I listed building in Tooting and the only former-cinema of its type to carry the title.
Its former patrons might not have spent their visits shouting “All the sevens; seventy seven!” but that doesn’t mean you can’t. The beautiful interiors and delicate paintings on the walls makes this venue not only an “asset of community value” but also one of the fanciest London locations where you can walk out £50 richer just by screaming a few numbers.
All that’s left is to round up your pals, grab a pew, and ‘pray’ that you’ll leave with some winnings.
Location: 50 Mitcham Rd, London SW17 9NA. Nearest station is Tooting Broadway.
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 10:30am – 2am. Friday & Saturday 10am – 3am. Sunday 11:30am – 3am. Afternoon sessions start at 12:25pm and the main event is played from 1pm. See website for exact dates.
Entry: Tickets start at £7. Optional extras range from £1-£3 each.
More information: on their website.