People playing bingo in a restaurant
Brandon Ackert, owner and manager of Gate 25, announces numbers during a recent bingo night at the bar. Photo by Gabriel Hinrichs/NNS.

Gate 25 and Barry’s Bar and Grill have been hosting bingo nights on Wednesdays, and it’s proven popular.

“The game of bingo is a great time for friends,” said Lindsey Allen, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln senior who recently played bingo at Gate 25.

“It’s a great way to be with your friends,” she said. “It doesn’t always have to be about going to the bars strictly or just drinking. It’s an activity to do with them that is different from the norm.”

She said the gathering gives people more of a chance to converse with each other.

“Everyone loves a little competition, so it satisfies that need in everyone,” she said.

Brandon Ackert, owner and manager of Gate 25, started bingo nights because he said he needed to boost foot traffic on Wednesdays.

At Gate 25, a few regulars come in specifically for bingo night. Harry Felker, 68, said he’s an avid bingo player.

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Harry Felker of Lincoln looks at his bingo sheet, awaiting the numbers being called. Photo by Gabriel Hinrichs/NNS

With a long and drawn-out tone, he talked about his love for the game of bingo. He also mentioned the communal benefits of bingo, meeting new people all of the time and having fun.

Felker brings a lot of enthusiasm to the game. He likes to yell, “Oh, yeah,” each time he marks his bingo sheet. This night, other customers joined in and did the same.

“I may be the grandpa of the place,” Felker said, laughing.

Gate 25 gives prizes for each round, with the final round including the most prizes: entry into a keg raffle, $15 dollar gift cards per bingo and free drink tickets.

At Barry’s Bar and Grill, a different type of bingo is being played, according to UNL senior Tim Duval.

“It’s different because it has song bingo, instead of just the regular numbers,” he said. “To be honest, I really like when my favorite songs come up because it’s really exciting to mark them. And also it’s fun because you have to go off of your knowledge instead of just the numbers.”

Jordan Nielsen, manager of Barry’s said the previous owners began hosting bingo.

“They used to have regular bingo on Wednesdays as well,” Nielsen said. “When we reopened, we decided to continue with the tradition but change it up to music bingo.”

Song titles are printed out onto the bingo sheet, with songs played from a speaker for short intervals. It’s then up to students to attempt to test their music knowledge or to choose using the app Shazam.

Prizes at Barry’s include free drinks, a free bottle of liquor or a person’s choosing of a t-shirt.

Duval ventured to both bars on Wednesday, trying to win as many prizes as possible.

“I’ve been lucky enough to win a shirt at Barry’s before,” he said. “I also won a drink ticket earlier at Gate 25.”