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Posted at 12:36 PM ET, 03/18/2008

Games People Play: Skeeball and Bingo

By Fritz Hahn

A bit of the beach has come to Seventh Street, as the newly expanded Rocket Bar adds two Skee-Ball machines, among other amusements, and Drag Bingo has moved to U Street after the closing of Dupont Circle's Club Chaos.

Skee-Ball
Rocket Bar's been a little too popular in the last few months, with lines outside the Chinatown pool hall getting so long that 10-to-15 minute waits were needed just to get past the bouncer.

That all changed two weeks ago when Rocket Bar expanded into the basement of the neighboring Legal Seafood, almost doubling its available space. The new room features an extra-long bar and more TVs, as well as three more pool tables, three more dart lanes and three more shuffleboard tables.

But the additions I'm most excited about -- make that ecstatic over -- are two Skee-Ball machines. Yes, Skee-Ball. Just like you'd play at Chuck E. Cheese's, Wild World or in Ocean City's numerous boardwalk arcades: Roll a few grapefruit-sized balls up a ramp and try to land them in holes worth 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 or 100 points.

These are classic machines, with rotating police-style lights on top and sound effects when you toss a 100 or bowl a few 50s. Though they're equipped with ticket dispensers, which would dispense tickets for getting a ball in the 100-point bucket or every time a player hit 200 points, you can't actually win prizes anymore. Shame -- it would be nice to get a free beer every 1,500 points or so.

Since there are only two Skee-Ball lanes -- and one was out of service over the weekend -- be prepared to share the lanes, especially with small groups. It's not a big deal: Games go fast, and with three sets of balls for $1, it's an inexpensive break from watching basketball.

Drag Bingo
Dupont Circle lost one of its landmark nightspots a few weeks ago when Chaos was forced to close. The gay club, which was licensed as a restaurant, technically wasn't allowed to host DJs, drag king shows or the always-popular drag bingo night. Chaos owner Carlos Aguilar has vowed to reopen the club, but until then, you can catch drag bingo at Nellie's Sports Bar every Tuesday night.

Shi-Queeta-Lee, one of Chaos' superstar callers, has made the move up to U Street, along with a team of guest hosts and helpers. The fast, furious and incredibly funny game begins at 9 p.m., and prizes range from George Foreman grills and volleyball sets to bar tabs and sex toys. (We should note that drag bingo has plenty of attitude and is not a game for the faint of heart or easily offended.)

Drink specials at Nellie's tonight include the usual "beat the clock" happy hour, with $1 Miller Lites from 5 to 6, rising to $2 between 6 and 7 and then $3 for the rest of night. Buckets of five Bud Lights are $11.95 all night long.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 18, 2008; 12:36 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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Comments

Holy cow, Rocket Bar just keeps getting cooler. Skee-ball brings me back to days of hanging out at the Dream Machine video arcade in the Maine Mall...

Posted by: Alena | March 18, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I adore RocketBar...I just wish they'd get a food license!! Or at least get some exclusive delivery deals with local places??

Posted by: ChickieBaby | March 19, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Who's got pinball machines these days?

Posted by: Tim from Silver Spring | March 19, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Who's got pinball machines these days?

Posted by: Tim from Silver Spring | March 19, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I love that the drag queen bingo is still going on. Is there any other options out there (drag or non-drag) for more of a happy hour timeframe? I feel old saying it but starting out at 9 pm on a Tuesday in U St just isn't happening these days.

Posted by: Arlington | March 24, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

OH my gosh I thought the same thing...I'm a Mainer and it is so Maine Mall or OOB Arcade, can't wait to go!

Posted by: Chris | March 25, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Drag bingo actually moved to BE BAR on ninth street nw. It's hosted by the two original diva's GIGI COUTURE & XAVIER BLOOMINGDALE! Why waste your time with a knock off when you can experience the real deal? Once again miss lee has proved to be completely un-original as ever! A true master of cashing in on the ideas of others! But don't take my word, See for yourself! WWW.MYSPACE.COM/BEBARBINGO

Posted by: Xavier Bloomingdale | March 31, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Drag bingo actually moved to BE BAR on ninth street nw. It's hosted by the two original diva's GIGI COUTURE & XAVIER BLOOMINGDALE! Why waste your time with a knock off when you can experience the real deal? Once again miss lee has proved to be completely un-original as ever! A true master of cashing in on the ideas of others! But don't take my word, See for yourself! WWW.MYSPACE.COM/BEBARBINGO

Posted by: Xavier Bloomingdale | March 31, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

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