Forget pubs and clubs, you should be going to the casino

You don’t even need to like gambling to have a good time

It’s Sunday, the Six Nations is on, and nobody you know can think of doing anything more inspired than heading to the pub round the corner to watch the game over a few drinks. Sound familiar?

This weekend I bucked the trend and headed to Aspers Casino for the afternoon, with my friend Charlotte in tow. By the time we left, the way we viewed the world had changed and we were £6 richer. It was almost enough to make us forget how bad England had been.

When you say casino to most people they probably picture fruit machines, Sin City, and George Clooney walking into the sunset with millions of dollars of Andy Garcia’s money. But Aspers is so much more than that.

We started our afternoon at the casino’s stylish sports bar, and there really is nowhere better to watch the “big game” every weekend. The bar’s media wall features 12 state of the art flat screen plasmas that combine to make up a 156 inch viewing experience. The picture was so clear and big you could see the individual tears falling down the cheeks of each England player.

Not wanting to make Charlotte suffer the sport for too long, we moved on for a quick drink at the casino’s other bar (the funkily named Tanzibar) and then on to Freya’s Restaurant. The atmosphere here was definitely more her sort of vibe, and the food was faultless. I’d never normally consider a casino as an ideal date location, but Freya’s puts a lot of the cliched couples spots to shame.

One amazing steak dinner later, it was time for the main event: a bit of (responsible) gambling. The range of options the casino offer is staggering but the staff were extremely friendly and happy to explain the rules of various games to us.

Deciding we weren’t quite up to a seat at the largest poker table in the North East (it has 200 seats), we mostly divided our time across the various live gaming tables. From Blackjack to Punto Banco, Aspers has everything covered. They’ve even got slot machines that could have come straight out of Ocean’s 11.

As we left the casino at the end of the night, our pocket slightly heavier with our winnings, we couldn’t help but ask each other: why would you ever want to spend an afternoon sat in some dingy pub eating a mildly reheated burger with fake cheese when you could be here?

Plus, you could always walk away with a fortune. Fingers crossed.