Food

Play Ping Pong and Eat Fried Chicken Banh Mi at Spin DC

NYC's table tennis "social club" settles in downtown.
Ping pong, cool decor, lessons from Olympians and...fried mac and cheese burgers? All photos courtesy of SPIN.

If you haven’t tried ping pong “social club” (read: bar), now’s your chance at Spin DC. The chain, with seven US locations and another in Toronto, takes up the basement of the National Press Club building downtown. They’re hosting a grand opening weekend with a live ping pong shows starring table tennis Olympians, ping pong classes for amateurs, and more.

The 12,000 square foot space is outfitted with a dozen Olympic-size ping pong tables, a roomy horseshoe bar, and an Insta-ready bathtub filled with ping pong balls (yes, you’re allowed to jump inside–clothes on, please). Between sets you’ll find sustenance from a menu of bar-friendly eats like tacos, sliders, flatbreads, and fries. The food lineup is similar to other locations, with the exception of a few “local” dishes like a fried chicken banh mi sandwich, a meaty butcher’s flatbread, and a flourless chocolate cake dubbed “DC’adence.”  For drinks, there’s a full bar with specialty cocktails, beer, and wine.

Gone are the amateur days of chasing down wayward ping pong balls. Spin employs a staff with nifty catching devices to refill pong containers so customers can focus on playing. Special opening prices are $9 an hour per person.

The concept for a ping pong club started because well-connected co-founders Jonathan Bricklin (then Susan Sarandon‘s boyfriend) and Franck Raharinosy used the game as a conversation starter at their house parties in New York. Guests like Jimmy Buffet, Owen Wilson, 50 Cent and Salman Rushdie crowded around the table (sadly, not all at once—that would be a real ping pong party). The first venture opened in NYC in 2009.

Consider this Jimmy Fallon anecdote about playing Prince required viewing before you go.

Spin DC; 1332 F St., NW; 202-517-1170. Open on weekdays from 4 PM, weekends from 12 PM. 

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