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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The bingos of La Crosse

Bingo players at Eagle’s Nest. Photo taken by Easton Moberg.

In an era of rapidly evolving entertainment options and abundant digital distractions, an age-old pastime continues to captivate La Crosse students: bingo.

Every Tuesday, Howie’s, a sports bar in La Crosse, hosts three to four rounds of bingo at 8 p.m. Participation in Howie’s bingo is free, and each player is permitted two boards per round. Notable features of Howie’s bingo include the O 69 call, which awards a free bar choice shot to all participants. Another feature is the B1 call, where the first patron to shout “I love Howie’s!” receives a free drink token. Tuesday night drink specials feature $3 original Trulys and $5 pints of Angry Orchard and Samuel Adams. Prizes range from coolers and hats to t-shirts and other alcohol-related items.

On Wednesdays, The Crow, a local La Crosse restaurant, offers three rounds of ‘Wingo’ beginning at 8 p.m. In addition to bingo, patrons can indulge in $6 boneless and traditional wing baskets and buy-one-get-one free select bottled beers and seltzers. Drink deals include $4 double rails, $2 choice shots, and two-for-one Trulys, Fizzys, Millers and Leinenkugel’s. Manager Matt Kolman elaborated on ‘Wingo,’ noting that when O 69 is called, bartenders’ choice shots are distributed to all patrons. Prizes for winning ‘Wingo’ at The Crow encompass five-foot speakers, basketball hoops, inflatable rafts, and large coolers, with the occasional unique item like a Zombie Dust statue. The three rounds at The Crow include regular bingo, followed by four corners, and concluding with blackout.

Thursdays bring five rounds of bingo at Eagles Nest, a sports bar and grill near University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Campus, starting at 8 p.m., along with late-night drink specials. Each round varies, with some requiring players to complete four corners and other rounds focusing on traditional bingo. The final round always culminates in a blackout. If a blackout is achieved within the first 50 calls, the winner receives a $100 prize. Special call-outs include B1, where participants rush to the caller and unleash their best eagle screech, with the first screech earning a free shot. Another special call-out is O 69, which results in Jello shots distributed to all players. Anna Giese, a fourth-year student, shared her enthusiasm: “I always get a rum and coke for bingo, and I only go to Eagles Nest. I just love the atmosphere and people. There are cheap drinks, fun times, affordable fun, and it is so close to campus.”

Bennett O’Riley’s, a bar and grill on the Southside of La Crosse, also hosts bingo on Thursdays at 7 p.m., offering four rounds with three boards each. Individual boards cost $1, a package of three boards for all four rounds is available at a discounted price of $10. Minimum cash payouts for each round are as follows: $10 for round one, $15 for round two, $25 for round three, and $50 for round four, with potential increases based on the number of participants. According to Tom Hokanson, Manager at Bennett O’Riley’s, the fourth round averages a $90 payout. The establishment distributes house shots known as “Horny Leprechauns,” a shamrock shake-flavored shot with Irish crème and minty alcohol when O 69 is called. They also offer a “perfect bingo jackpot” where the first five numbers on a player’s board create a bingo, leading to a bonus payout that increases weekly. As of Sept. 20, the cash prize stands at $430.

During the summer months, Jimmy’s North Star, a restaurant and bar on the Northside of  La Crosse, contributes to the bingo scene by offering a seasonal bingo experience in its outdoor beer garden. Participation in bingo at Jimmy’s North Star is free, with additional cards available for $5 each. All donations collected during these events go to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse. Brianna Korn, a regular attendee, expressed her enjoyment: “I love Jimmy’s. I go every other Monday during the summer, and I love the outdoor atmosphere.” Prizes include Jimmy’s North Star merchandise, tee shirts, chairs, and coolers.

For those who are not yet 21 years old, UWL occasionally hosts Condom Bingo in the Entertainment Café, located in the Student Union. Participants of Condom Bingo not only engage in the game but also gain knowledge about pregnancy and STI prevention, healthy relationships, consent and communication, human biology, and other sexual health topics. Prizes include sexual health-related items along with a generous supply of condoms.

La Crosse students and their families can also participate in the Family Weekend Bingo event scheduled for October 20 in the Student Union Bluffs. This event is sponsored by NSO and Family Weekend. Tickets for the event are priced at $4.

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About the Contributor
Easton Moberg
Easton Moberg, Student Government Position
Year at UWL: Sophomore PGPs: He/Him/His Hometown: Sheboygan, WI Major: Political Science Minor: Communication Studies with an emphasis in Interpersonal Communication Other Campus Involvement: NSO Eagle Guide Future Plans after Graduation: Working at the Capitol in Madison Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Eating lots of great food Favorite Place to Eat in La Crosse: Super Street Taco
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    Cameron SeebruchSep 20, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Very in depth! Love it!