Bingo in Glasgow
Why Glasgow is the Home of British Bingo - and Where to Play Bingo Online with Free Wifi!
“The best thing about Glasgow is that if there’s a nuclear attack, it’ll look exactly the same afterwards,” says Glasgow native Billy Connolly, while fellow Glaswegian Frankie Boyle says Glasgow’s a place, “where people think Hepatitis B is a vitamin.” As comedians, they are of course joking, but these punchlines highlight Glasgow’s reputation for being a bit grim. In my opinion, Glasgow has been unfairly maligned, and in fact, it is the unsung hero of the British Isles. It’s a place you’ll rarely see in a list of “Top 10 City Breaks” - and yet it has brought us all some of life’s greatest pleasures.
Chicken Tikka Masala – the UK’s favourite dish – was apparently invented in Glasgow, when the owner of the Shish Mahal curry house adapted a dish to suit a Scottish customer’s palate. It tickled the taste buds of a lot of other people too, and went on to become Britain’s much loved national dish. Because really, what else would you want to eat after 35 pints in the pub on a Saturday?
Deep fried Mars Bars might have originated in Aberdeenshire, but it was Roman’s Pizzeria in Glasgow that invented the Deep Fried Mars Bar Pizza, aka the “Mars-gherita”. The calzone style pizza consisted of Mars Bar chunks, chocolate ice-cream, caramel sauce, and grated almonds, wrapped up in pizza dough before being deep fried in batter. Despite stacking up to a day’s worth of calories, I think we can all agree that a tight waistband is a small price to pay for tasting such previously unimagined bliss.
The TV series Taggart, set in Glasgow and filmed there too, gave the UK the cult catchphrase: “There’s been a murder!” The long-running police series ended around two decades ago, but even now, I doubt if there’s anyone alive who hasn’t tried to emulate DCI Taggart’s classic line, and in just the last year, Scottish Doctor Who actor David Tennant has revealed his dream of playing Taggart in a big-screen comeback.
The award-winning Trainspotting, which is one of Scotland’s most famous films, was set in Edinburgh, but it was predominantly filmed in good old Glasgow. And Glasgow City Chambers apparently has more marble than the Vatican – yep, the actual Vatican, as in the Pope’s world-famous phenomenally fancy gaff in Rome.
And then that brings me to bingo, because Glasgow is the heart of British bingo. Scotland’s largest city is home to Britain’s biggest bingo club, and there are more bingo clubs here than anywhere else in the UK. It’s been said that bingo is a sort of “secular religion” in Glasgow, and playing bingo is the number one pastime - aside from supporting Celtic or Rangers!
But going to bingo clubs isn’t the only way to play… If you want to stay snuggled up at home, online bingo is the answer, and its popularity is catching up with the traditional way of playing, because Glasgow is now the fourth hottest spot in the UK for playing bingo online.
So why would you want to play bingo at home? Well, it’s not a spelling error when I say that Glasgow is the raining champion of the UK. The fact is, Glasgow gets more days of rain a year than anywhere else in Britain. It totals up to around 170 days a year, which means it rains almost 50% of the time. Of course, the rain’s great for greenery, but no one likes soggy socks, so the prospect of staying in on the sofa, warm and dry, is unsurprisingly appealing.
If you’ve settled into an armchair with a glass of wine, five minutes before Strictly Come Dancing or Still Game is due to start, you can squeeze in a quick game of bingo on your phone. If you’re in the kitchen with a cup of tea, and you’ve got ten minutes before the chicken’s ready to come out of the oven, you can open up your bingo app and win yourself some spending money.
If you’ve got 15 minutes before the kids come home from school, you’ve got a shot at winning the jackpot… But while it’s lovely playing bingo in bed under the duvet, or lying in a bubble bath with a glass of Prosecco, sometimes you fancy a change of scenery. Sometimes you want to play online bingo when you’re out and about – but you don’t want to use up your data. So here are six places in Glasgow with free wifi, where you can play bingo – and maybe win big – without having to top up your phone….
PLAY BINGO ON THE BUS
You’ll find free wifi on some of the buses – and if you’ve got lucky with the wifi, you might just be lucky on the bingo. So sit back and open the app... If you like the driver, make a note of their name – you might want to hire them as your chauffeur if you win enough on the bingo to buy a limo!
CRACK THE CODE AT CRANACHAN CAFÉ
Drop the kids off at school, then head to Cranachan’s in Glasgow City Centre’s Princes Square, to treat yourself to a bacon roll from the breakfast menu. Keep your eyes on the prize, and if you find yourself on a lucky streak that you don’t want to break, stay where you are, and keep your strength up with chunky chips or skinny fries. If you win a nice little sum, come back to treat yourself to afternoon tea!
LET YOUR NUMBERS COME IN AT PAESANO PIZZA
Paesano’s claims to be the first pizzeria to bring authentic, Napoletana pizza to Glasgow – and they might just be onto something, because apparently TripAdvisor’s crowned them the third best pizzeria in the UK. Paesano’s has two locations, but for free wifi, head to the one in Miller Street, and play bingo while you’re waiting for your order!
COUNT YOUR WINNINGS AT BABBITY BOWSTER
Head to Blackfriars Street for Babbity Bowster, a bar and restaurant with live music. It’s built on the site of an old monastery, so open the bingo app between musicians’ sets, and hope the monks are on your side! If your bingo win is so big that you’re celebrating into the wee hours, book one of the bedrooms upstairs and spend the night, before making your way home in the morning!
MAKE YOURSELF A MILLIONAIRE (OR CLOSE?) AT THE MITCHELL LIBRARY
Let the peaceful surroundings of the library allow you to fully focus on playing bingo. Here you can enjoy the game with no distractions – just remember to put your phone on silent! If you’re feeling peckish, or you want to spend your winnings, head to the café where you can celebrate in less hushed tones!
HIT THE JACKPOT AT CITIZEN M
Canteen M at the Citizen M hotel is a 24/7 pit stop for fresh, flaky pastries, belly-busting Scottish feasts, beer on tap, Champagne on ice, and expertly mixed cocktails. It’s open 24 hours a day, so if you’ve had a late one, and need to refuel, stop by for nachos, meatballs, biryani or a lamb curry, and see what your luck’s like on the bingo while you relax after a long day…
Samantha Rea can be found tweeting here.