Burlesque Bingo at The Fountain on Locust

The Fountain on Locust hosts Burlesque Bingo every first Thursday of the month.

The Fountain on Locust hosts Burlesque Bingo every first Thursday of the month.

When I first walked into The Fountain on Locust, two sites immediately stood out: a large spotlight with its beam being manually swung across the dimly lit restaurant and a woman in pasties grabbing her breasts as she walked around the tables of whistling patrons—just another night at Burlesque Bingo, a unique event that The Fountain hosts every first Thursday of the month.

For those unfamiliar with the event, the breakdown is fairly simple. After paying a participation fee of five dollars, you are given a packet of bingo cards for the night. The host of the evening then leads the crowd through a consistent oscillation of bingo games and short segments of burlesque dancing. The loud environment and lack of initial explanation may be confusing for some—it was for my group—but you soon get the hang of it.

The host for that night was The Randy Dandies, a group self-described on its website as a “motley crew of actors, singers, dancers, comedians and circus folk working together to create interactive, dynamic shows for the St. Louis community.” The dancers were certainly entertaining—I have one memorable image of the only male dancer, Swifty Deeds, stripping down to a speedo with flames attached to the front while the audience shouted, “Flaming balls!” Each dancer had his or her own theme music and costumes, with most involving a combination of feathers, pasties and thongs.

And if this fun combination of burlesque dancing and bingo isn’t enough already, then you will be delighted to know that The Randy Dandies add their own little twists to the game. For many of the number and letter combinations that are called out, there are certain responses that the audience yells (e.g., B11 – “Legs to Heaven!”). Fortunately, you are given a list of these responses at the beginning of the game, but it was still humorous to watch the faces of my group members while they simultaneously tried to figure out what to say and mark their bingo cards.

What The Randy Dandies don’t tell you up front is what you experience once you’ve won bingo. I’ll give you a hint: Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and don’t be offended if you get hit with some crumpled up bingo cards and friendly obscenities. The prizes are equally mysterious, consisting of a bag of “goodies,” all centered on a particular theme. The last individual to win that night received a gift bag labeled, “Even these types mate for life.” I’ll leave you to judge that one.

As for the atmosphere, the carnivalesque costumes and hand-painted Art Deco interior gave off a Moulin Rouge vibe. There are also several secluded booths available along the side of the restaurant, although they don’t offer much of a view of the dancers on the front stage. To keep you further entertained, there are plenty of unique drinks to choose from on the menu. I was treated to the Thin Mint, one of The Fountain’s signature ice-cream martinis, with a delicious flavor combination of mint, Oreos and chocolate syrup. The names of the drinks alone are enough to make you smile, such as the Social Lubricant and the Hemmingway, both seasonal cocktails.

If nothing else, Burlesque Bingo is a tantalizing way to spend a Thursday night. One piece of advice: Make a reservation in advance. The venue is pretty packed, and there is a chance that you won’t be seated if you show up without one.

Bingo not your thing? Not a problem. At the end of the night, the announcer told the crowd that The Fountain would be introducing Burlesque Battleship every second Thursday of the month. It may be interesting to see how The Fountain on Locust is able to finagle this unusual combination, but no doubt it will be successful if it follows in the footsteps of its bingo predecessor.

Location: The Fountain on Locust, 3037 Locust St. Louis, MO 63103

Time: The first Thursday of every month, 9:30-11:30 p.m.

Cost: $5 for the show, $5 for bingo cards

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