"R" Is for Rock

The word "bingo" usually conjures up visions of nursing homes and church gymnasiums. But when "B" stands for "bastard" and "I" is for "Iron Maiden," and there's a DJ on the premises spinning Pat Benatar hits, it can only mean one thing: Rock 'n Roll Bingo at the Lion's Lair.

The event, which is only a few months old, attracts a small yet loyal crowd to the Lair every Tuesday night. And no one stands on ceremony at this Colfax club: Players in search of free bingo and popcorn can come at 7 or shamble in at 11. "We'll play as long as everybody wants to play," says bingo mistress/bartender Sara Fisher. "Sometimes it'll be packed early, and some weeks we're packed late. But mostly it's just our regulars hanging out and having a good time."

On a recent night, she paces behind the well-worn bar, flipping over bingo cards and calling out numbers.

"It's amazing the respect she commands," says bingo fan Adam Lussier as Fisher officiates. "I'm anxiously awaiting her every word."

As might be expected given the setting, alcohol plays a role in the proceedings. Accordingly, special rules apply in Rock 'n Roll Bingo: For example, covering all four corners earns a player a free shot.

"There is not a lot of skill involved," Lussier concedes. "But it definitely gets harder the drunker you get." Still, the crowd appears to take the action seriously. "I've got nothing," moans James Levay, a disgruntled player who hasn't won a single game all night. Gretchen Fuss is more fortunate. She's already earned a pair of martini glasses and a cassette by the Who when she yells out, "I've got bingo again!"

"Come on down and take your choice of these fabulous prizes," DJ Rich Groskoef shouts. The prizes, which are donated weekly by other Colfax businesses, include gift certificates for tattoos or body piercings and music giveaways such as a Slayer lighter or a Cars Candy-O album.

After a full evening of fun and games, Groskoef bids farewell to a couple dozen competitors as they head into the late night air clutching their winnings. "Here, everyone is a winner," he says, "even if you're a loser."

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Julie Dunn
Contact: Julie Dunn