640 Harden St.
When: Every Wednesday, starting around 9:15 p.m.
How do you get young people excited about bingo? Put it in one of Five Points’ most popular bars with a charismatic owner behind the mic.
Bingo at Harden Street bar Pinch has become a Wednesday-night staple for college students and young adults. The bar, which recently celebrated its three-year anniversary, almost always fills up on bingo nights – There’s often a line snaking down the sidewalk by 9 p.m.
Owner Ryan Kay calls five rounds of bingo, rewarding winners with free swag and punishing those who call false bingo by challenging them to sing karaoke or lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Many bingo lovers accompany the game with Pinch’s signature $1 bottles of Natural Light or Wednesday-only 24-oz. “tall boy” cans of Busch beer, which Kay affectionately describes as tasting of “college and bad decisions.”
Tasting a little better is Pinch’s food menu, provided by Yellow Dog Barbecue. The food is inventive and unique, mixing Southern barbecue with bar food staples. On Wednesdays, the special is pizza. Yellow Dog Barbecue’s unique personal pizzas, costing $5 or less, are topped with ingredients like bacon macaroni and cheese, steak and classic barbecue. Everyday offerings include buffalo chicken nachos, barbecue sliders and a quesadilla stuffed with brisket and macaroni and cheese.
Without fail, Pinch will always be packed for bingo. Cheap beer will be drunk, barbecue will be eaten, and someone will always call false bingo. Kay’s jokester personality keeps the mood light and fun, as does a playlist packed with ’90s hits.
Head to Pinch early to make sure you get in the doors in time for bingo. There’s no set start time, but Kay typically picks up the microphone between 9:15 and 9:30 p.m. The bar often fills up before 9 p.m. Bargoers may want to head down when the rest of the Five Points bars are still getting ready for the night. Pinch opens for business at 7 p.m.
Amanda C. Coyne