During the golden years of bingo in the UK throughout the 1980s and 1990s, a vast number of legendary bingo halls were established up and down the country. Some of these became iconic, and lovers of the random ball draw would travel far and wide to visit them. In the northeast, there were countless places to play the game, but none quite as iconic as Whitley Bay’s Spanish City.
The seafront building is now a location for swanky eateries and a champagne bar, but bingo players will remember it fondly as one of the country’s greatest spots for the game.
Online Bingo is the Main Way of Playing Nowadays
The reasons Spanish City and many other popular bingo haunts around the country are no longer hosting the game is because it has seen a shift towards being predominantly played in an online setting. Online bingo has many advantages over land-based, with the greater variety of options being a huge draw for players. They can now choose between themed bingo rooms, as well as enticing side games like slots and Slingo.
Online bingo games are also available to anyone, no matter where they are in the country. There’s no need to travel or wait too long for the games to start. Bingo halls declined in the late 2000s because of the smoking ban, but some are bouncing back now thanks to the game’s resurgence online. Many players are now discovering bingo online and then seeking live games in real-world settings.
Spanish City Opened as a Theatre in 1910
A lot of the modern bingo players who first found the pastime online will have wished they’d been able to play at Spanish City. The vast building overlooking the North Sea was inspired by continental architecture and opened in 1910. It has served many purposes over the years and has been used as a theatre, a concert venue, and a ballroom at different times.
Bingo began as a daily event in Spanish City in the 1990s until 2019. However, it only took up a small space within the sprawling building, and this led to plans to develop the whole site. It was then renovated and freshened up, but bingo hasn’t returned since. It now has a primary focus on dining.
What Other Incredible Bingo Halls Have Gone out of Action?
The Grade II listed Spanish City isn’t the only classic bingo hall that is no longer being used for the lottery-like game. There are a few other stunning pieces of architecture that have been repurposed.
For instance, another Grade II building, the Opera House in Tunbridge, Wales, ended its tenure as a bingo hall in 1995. It’s now owned by Wetherspoons. Another one is The Regent in Kent, which was one of the many casualties of the smoking ban in 2009. It will soon be renovated into a cinema.
In terms of amazing bingo buildings in the country, Whitley Bay’s Spanish City has to be considered one of the greatest. Anyone who had the chance to play the game there will remember it fondly.