Many years ago, Scott Cook had promised his wife’s father that he would put her name in lights.

Now, the rainbow sign of Friendship Hall, located in the location of the old Colgate Theater on Dundalk Avenue, is adorned on each side with stars that say “Lisa.”

The Cooks had been working overtime to get their new bingo hall, which is just inside the Baltimore City line on Dundalk Ave., ready for its grand opening last Wednesday evening, after about three years of getting the hall together.

“It’s been a lot of days here by ourselves,” Scott Cook said outside the bingo hall last Wednesday, just after a ribbon-cutting ceremony there. He’s been in bingo since 1986, after he returned from a long stint with the NSA in Europe.

“It’s a new start for all of us,” his wife and longtime bingo-business partner, Lisa Cook said.

This wasn’t Scott Cook’s first time at the old theater location. He actually worked in the same building many years ago, for two days, when it was leased as a different bingo hall. The historic building was once the Colgate Theater, one of the first movie theaters in Baltimore, which survived only five years. A photo of the old theater adorns the wall of the new bingo hall. The building was also home to an office of the International Union of Bricklayers.

Scott Cook used to run Friendship Bingo out of the old United Steelworkers union hall, a bit further up Dundalk Ave. When that was bought out, he got started on the latest location. Previously, he worked for Bingo World in Brooklyn Park.

“I wanted to do a ‘boutique-style’ bingo. A small bingo, a family-type atmosphere bingo, where people come in and enjoy themselves,” Scott Cook said. “I love seeing people smile and having a good time.”

The name comes from a business Scott Cook had worked for as a teen near Baltimore-Washington International Airport, called “Friendship Flying Service,” as the airport used to be known as Friendship International Airport.

“I always loved that name, ‘Friendship’,” Scott Cook said. “I said, someday I’m gonna have my own business, and I’m gonna name it ‘Friendship’.” The name is fitting— Scott Cook firmly believes bingo is like a big family.

“We treat everybody, whether they spent ten dollars, or they spent thousand, they get treated the same way,” Scott Cook said.

As the building being empty for many years had attracted crime to the area, Scott Cook said he’s hired the same security company which protects the Dollar Tree across the street, who he trusts to help revitalize the corner.

“We’ve changed this culture, this corner here,” Scott Cook said.

He said the hall is planning to host meals about twice a year for the “less fortunate” in the area, having been inspired by a few run-ins with a homeless man years back, who Scott Cook helped feed. A few years later, Scott Cook said he saw the man, who had since picked himself up and gotten a job, a fiance and a truck, and thanked the bingo hall owner for treating him like a human.

Friendship Bingo is open from 7 to 10:30 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.