We Went to the Opening Party for SPiN Ping Pong Bar

The downtown Seattle location is the most recent in a succession of ping pong bars opened by SPiN because it was based in 2009 and opened its first location in New York Metropolis’s Flatiron District. Co-founded by Johnathan Bricklin and Franck Raharinosy, SPiN now has extra venues in Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, and different main cities.

Quickly a crowd gathered across the reserved table the place former South Korean table tennis participant and mannequin Soo Yeon Lee was handily dispatching challengers. Because the occasion’s hosts kicked off a collection of performances and matches, they tried to boost the power within the crowd. The tepid response was traditional Seattle; even amongst this group of party-ready socialites at a gap night time occasion, we’re not a metropolis of enthusiastic participators. 

After a short, disappointingly non-ping pong-themed breakdance efficiency, we have been on to the primary exhibition match of the night time. Our opponents—whose names I missed within the garble of crowd noise—have been a younger lady “representing america” in a generic purple, white, and blue staff uniform and a forty-ish man “representing Japan” carrying a sequined hat and pants together with a black boa, fishnet forearm sleeves, and no shirt. It wanted to be seen to be believed. 

He was simply the extra fascinating character, however from the host commentary and his conceited approach of comporting himself, it was clear we have been speculated to be rooting towards him. He was, within the parlance of professional wrestling, a heel. The viewers adopted this completely, rooting towards him whilst he misplaced factors and responded by eradicating increasingly more clothes till he was competing in simply black underwear with a distinguished entrance zipper. It was an interesting dynamic, the substitute qualities of wrestling personas contrasted with the very actual ping pong going down.

Opening Evening was attended by an odd combine of individuals. Some have been the anticipated “influencers,” whereas others have been ping pong fans who’ve proven up every day to play (for $40/hour) since SPiN formally opened on Jan. 6. 

This combine was, just like the venue and the very idea, an encapsulation of the Seattle’s present odd cultural second, because the outdated and the brand new butt heads, as social media stars mingle with table tennis dorks, and as a sport I affiliate with lengthy, bored nights throughout summers in highschool has abruptly change into the hippest factor to do in a downtown nonetheless struggling to offer something to do for a brand new era of rich transplants.

See extra photographs from the occasion, that includes co-host and protection finish of the Seattle Seahawks Cliff Avril, Nate Robinson, Cedric the Entertainer, and Alex Codd. Courtesy of SPiN Seattle, under.


Clarification: A earlier model of this story referred to Susan Sarandon as a founding father of SPiN. Sarandon is a co-founder of SPiN World and promoted the model when it launched, however will not be affiliated with this membership.