In January, the weeks of 2013 are stretching ahead of us, full of potential and opportunity, but how do we make the most of the year ahead? I’m here to help. Each Monday, I’m going to recommend a venue that you simply must visit to brighten up your life. I’ll bring you the photos that I take and tell you what it is really like so you know what to expect and you can act cool, like you knew what it would be like all along.
VIP VENUE PICK WEEK ONE: BOUNCE LONDON
Bored of trying to make small talk on a night out? Swap the talk for tennis. Well, actually table tennis as it’s less sweaty but equally competitive.
WHERE? Bounce London, 121 High Holborn. Nearest Tube: Chancery Lane, exit 2
WHAT WE LIKED: The buzz. There are 14 table tennis tables at Bounce and they’re all occupied all the time. With so many people involved in competitions, you are guarantees to hear a lot of groans and laughs. There are people on dates, groups of stags and hens and then just gangs of mates (like me and my pals)
The American diner style interior decoration as the last time I played table tennis it was on an old green table tennis table in a youth club hall. These ones are all brand new! You descend a staircase and the size and layout of the place takes your breath away. It’s unlike any other venue I’ve been to in London, so a great place to take someone you want to impress. Or you can impress them with your table tennis skills like my friend Andy (whose action shot you can see below)
The drinks. Seriously strong and great value at £8.50, the cocktails at bounce are to die for. One of the creations is so strong that you are only allowed two in a night (although that is £13.50) and contains absinthe. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to drinks, so we opted for a long one, a martini style one and my favourite – the prosecco based one called Apples and Pears (cider brandy, fresh pear, prosecco and pink clove liqueur) . See the drinks menu here. There is also a great pizza restaurant at the back of the venue to soak up the alcohol!
The balls. One of the most annoying things about playing table tennis is you always lose the balls and have to chase round trying to find them again. You think you have it in your hand and drop it again or you have to crawl under the table to find it. At bounce you are given two buckets of balls so if you lose one you can leave it and use another.
TIPS: The key thing to know about table tennis is you play up to 21. Serves change every 5 points so if the score is 3-2 or 4-1 or 5-0 it means your serve is over and the other team / player should serve. Same for when it’s 7-3 or 8-2 etc.
If there are a few of you and you want to add some extra fun / danger then play round the world.This involves half of you starting at one end and half of you starting at the other Hit the ball and run to the other end and the person you hit it to will do the same and run round after they hit it. You will get dizzy and someone will end up missing it. That person should sit out so everyone else has to run faster. WARNING: Be careful not to fall over or run into the table!
THE COST: £10 per half hour off-peak and £13 per half hour peak. Book at the BOUNCE LONDON WEBSITE