After a soft open a month ago, Spin, the ping pong bar and lounge, held its official launch party last night. If you thought table tennis was a nerdy game best restricted to basements and community centres, Spin’s creators, Franck Raharinosy, Andrew Gordon, Jonathan Bricklin, Toronto partner Ryan Fisher and, ahem, Academy Award–winning actress Susan Sarandon would like to change your mind. After all, table tennis became an Olympic sport in 1988 and the Spin Galactic social clubs have been popping up in North America since 2009 (there are clubs in New York and Milwaukee already, with another in St. Petersburg, Florida, on the way). Unlike the matches of your youth, however, this new ping pong culture seems to be as much about the social as much as the sport, which should explain Spin’s surprisingly large cocktail, wine and beer menu.
The 12,000-square-foot space was designed by Emil Teleki and Jessica Nakanishi in collaboration with Todd Oldham in New York, and it has 12 ping pong tables, a lounge and a private party room. The two bars serve a variety of beers, wines and cocktails, including the Stamos ($14), with Bacardi Gold, Amaro Montenegro, house-made tobacco tincture and maraschino. The food focuses on sharing plates, like devilled eggs ($5), a mixed taco plate ($24) and barbecue popcorn ($3). There are also sundaes ($7) in flavours like Guinness, sweet potato or cheddar, which are served with whipped cream and candied fruit. Of course, ping pong this high-class doesn’t come cheap: annual memberships can be purchased at individual ($500) or family ($750) rates; non-members can enjoy an hour of play for $20–$28 depending on the time of day.
The opening party brought out the ping pong elite, including all four founders, as well as champion table tennis players Wally Green, Kazuyuki Yokoyama and Soo Yeon Lee (who didn’t let her dress’s thigh-high slit or her six-inch Louboutins get in the way of her game). And an unexpected appearance from the Breakfast Club’s Judd Nelson confirmed for us that even tough guys aren’t too cool for ping pong.
Spin Toronto, 461 King St. W., 416-599-7746, toronto.spingalactic.com