Did you know that long before table tennis got serious and became an Olympic sport, it was called ping-pong (well, you knew that) and was being played as an after-dinner parlour game from the 1880s? You do now. I don’t know how it could possibly do the digestion any good, but it certainly caught on, being patented in 1901 by games firm Jacques and Son.
Now on the former site of Jacques – near Chancery Lane – a new premises has been served up, celebrating the sport and offering Europe’s first purpose-built Ping-Pong Social Club. The smashing (do they do smashes in table tennis? Seems unlikely, but I’m going with it) £2.5 million venue was created by Brit designer Russell Sage, and is called Bounce.
Sage, who can list design work at The Savoy, The Zetter Townhouse, and The Hospital Club on his CV, was charged with delivering a 12,500sq ft space that functioned both as a sports hall and a restobar. Not the easiest of tasks, but one accomplished with some flair, drawing on the history of the game and halls in the US which have been booming recently. Make mine a Match Point Margarita. No really, it’s on the menu, you can check.