Many of us will remember Billy Corgan as the frontman of The Smashing Pumpkins, but Chicago natives know him as something else entirely: the proprietor of Madame ZuZu’s Teahouse.
More than just a teahouse, Madame ZuZu’s is also an art gallery. Corgan founded the teahouse in an effort to bring a more communal feel to the people of Chicago, and to this effect, last year, he implemented Monday BINGO NIGHT. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the experienced musician said, “I think stuff like this forces communality and I like that… I have so much experience… you realize the difference between real communal spirit and this kind of spirit.”
In the UK, where bingo has become so large that even Iceland Foods, a British supermarket chain, has entered the market with Iceland Bingo, the BBC has reported that it’s this communality that makes the game so appealing to its online patrons. “I get excitement and friendship,” says Nevison, who has been playing since she was 18. “You go into a bingo site and it’s like a little family, it’s so chatty,” she says, remarking that she’d love to meet the people she plays with, if only they weren’t from all over the country.
Madame ZuZu’s BINGO NIGHTS were hosted by various local celebrities, as well as Mr. Corgan himself, who even performed for the participants sometimes. And while the venture was short-lived, these BINGO NIGHTS led to a phenomenon that saw different cafes hosting their own bingo games. In Oakland, CA, actual cafe has gone so far as to create a bingo hopper out of a bicycle, with which they host bingo fundraiser nights. In Seattle, Coffee Shop Bingo, a game that has you entering a coffee shop and crossing out all the elements you encounter, has become quite popular too.
Bingo seems to be just another game that has become quite popular, especially in the crowd that enjoys visiting these coffee and tea shops. A game that’s simple enough to be played by newbies yet entertaining enough to last for hours, it’s certainly become a formidable addition to the menus of coffee shops across the world.