If there really is a ping pong revival going on in this country, Spin (I refuse to bow to their irregular capitalization) is merely the first of many “ping pong social clubs” that will spring up across the USA, but for now you’ll have to make do with locations in Milwaukee, St Petersburg, and yes, New York City.
Located just a block from the Flatiron, Spin NYC is a sports club-cum-nightclub. The entrance is guarded by a bouncer, but then it’s downstairs to your old family rumpus room, if your old family rumpus room had about twenty ping pong tables, a bar, and about 50 strangers running around in there.
For afficionados, the tables and paddles play true. For those who didn’t have a table growing up and were barred from using the neighbours’ after one too many errant footballs through their windows, it’s still a fun night. Each table is supplied with a bucket full of balls, with errant balls being scooped up by net-wielding staff members, so you don’t spend half your night chasing after those little orange orbs.
In a most unexpected celebrity twist, Spin is partially owned by Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon, who suddenly seems a lot cooler now, you must admit. My playing partners on the night I visited Spin informed me that Suse (as I’m sure she’d like me to call her) and ex Tim Robbins had been at the bar the week before watching a tournament, idly chilling with the punters.
While Suse and Timmy weren’t in attendance for my debut, professional ping pong player Wally Green was spotted taking on opponents with a cell phone, something he apparently does on a regular basis.
If, as suggested here, ping pong is the “new billiards”, Spin might be just the place where you want to brush up on your skills.
What’s the damage?
Starting at about $7 for a beer, with a decent range of domestic and imported options.
Table hire comes in at around $40, so you’re better off splitting the cost with a party of a few people. Let’s face it, ping pong is more fun that way anyway.
48 East 23rd Street, near Madison Square Park.
What’s a good time to go?
We visited on a Thursday night, which wasn’t too crowded, though you’ll still have to wait for a table. Make sure you put your name down for a table as soon as you get there. If you have to wait for a while, who cares? It’s still a bar.
Alternatively, if you just feel like having a few drinks and taking in the spectacle, you might want to visit during a tournament, including the monthly ‘Ping Pong with the Models’ tournament. Because…models.