Exercise can be a drag. What with winter drawing in, the dark, the cold, the lure of Strictly… an extra incentive may be required. And what could be better than the reward of a cocktail? This is where Bounce comes in; Europe’s first ‘social ping pong club’, which offers the combination of table tennis, cocktails and dining to an eclectic sound track.
Walk along Holborn and you could easily miss it but an inconspicuous entrance leads down to a cavernous space with 17 playing tables. Award-winning interior designer Russell Sage designed the venue on the same site where the game was originally invented in 1901. He’s done an amazing job to bring a touch of glamour to the game.
Although children were playing on the Sunday I was there, there wasn’t a whiff of the youth club feel I would normally associate with ping pong. The venue is swanky and stylish and after 7pm is for adults only.
My companion and I were led to an official 2012 Olympic table and we were off. I’d forgotten how much fun focusing on a little white ball could be. There’s no time to feel bored or wonder what to have for dinner. We were entirely absorbed in our hand eye co-ordination, just stopping to receive some technique tips from the circulating host.
Unless you’re an advanced player, it’s quite a gentle workout. But a workout it is and after 60 minutes of play, I was out of breath, glowing and grateful for the dim lighting.
The excitement continued in the raised restaurant. From the drinks menu, I tried an Apples and Pears, a warming concoction of cider brandy, fresh pear, pink clove liqueur and prosecco which tasted like Christmas. The Autumn Fruit Cup, a seasonal take on Pimm’s, was equally reviving.
The food, even the pizza, was relatively light and healthy and reasonably priced. There’s a good selection of tasty small plates including some wafer-thin zucchini with a kick and a strong pecorino cheese. With the huge wood-burning pizza oven, it’s worth indulging after all that exercise but if a whole pizza is too much for you, you can order a basket of pizza strips giving you a taster without the calories.
If you fancy an exclusive ping pong party, Bounce has a stylish private room for hire. Otherwise, in the main area, half an hour of ping pong costs £10 or an hour is £18 off peak. Book ahead for a specific time slot or just turn up. The bar’s a lovely place to sit and watch if you have to wait. You never know, a pre-ping pong cocktail might even improve your shot.
Tel: 020 3657 6525