Bingo and Bourbon Night at The Woods in Portland, OR – A guide and review
(A winter in Portland: This is the first of a series of articles and musings about being back in the city after many years living in the mountains. Right now, I feel kind of like a hick, but hopefully writing about all these little adventures and experiences will at least be funny, and will be good motivation to keep getting out there to try new things.)
If you’ve been wanting to check out Bingo Night at The Woods for a while, here’s a quick reference to get you started:
It starts at 8:30 p.m. and you should get there early if you want a seat, because the room is packed as a rule. If you don’t care about claiming a nook however, you can show up whenever you want. Michael Young (of Brother’s Young… one of my favorite PDX projects) usually works the door and will give you a playing card for whatever game they are on.
Bring cash. Although the playing cards at the door are only a buck each, they will not take a credit/debit card for them, and will not give you cash at the bar. (What the hell.) Somehow I ended up buying a little ink stamper (pre-game jitters, obviously), but you can just poke the numbers on the card to mark it.
Most people there appeared to be in groups, but the few people that were flying solo didn’t seem awkward, and I witnessed a few folks introducing themselves, outside especially. I went there alone and met some very friendly people sitting outside the other bar as I was leaving.
Bingo Night definitely is one. The guys in suits and girls in pre-Depression era fashions were just one element of the theatrics of the evening. The music was an upbeat mix of vintage tunes from the 20s – 50s, which complimented the house party/old funeral home atmosphere perfectly. Brian Perez, the host for the evening, chose Bingo balls from an old school spinning cage and gave away a strange assortment of prizes ranging from faux-antique to kitsch. So the “scene” is not for everyone, but perfect for those enjoy a fanciful element of stagecraft for their night out on the town.
How To Play Bingo:
Well, it is not that hard but requires somewhat of an attention span. Brian will announce the winning pattern (a cross, a four square in the right-hand corner etc.) and might even post a visual reference above the stage. There are a lot of really long breaks every couple of games to get drinks, grab a smoke; meet your neighbor, etc. So the game itself is, like… not serious.
I’m psyched to see a unique night like this (and an equally interesting venue) build so much momentum. It probably speaks to people’s desire to have something fun to do that is still a connection to a large group and event, but is more playful and interactive than watching music.
But speaking of music, this place is an amazing place for it! I’ll be playing my CD Release Party here November 30, 2011 with Anna Fritz (of the Portland Cello Project) and Sam Cooper (of Horse Feathers.) Hope you can make it!