Up Your Game at the Home of Ping Pong

Located on the site where ping pong was invented and patented by John Jaques III back in 1901, Bounce is the perfect place to indulge your love of both Italian food and table tennis.

The Bar: Bounce

Location: 121 Holborn, London, EC1N 2TD

First impressions: Identified by a sign using giant ping pong balls (what else?), Bounce is a subterranean bar-cum-restaurant that is definitely not for those who like the peace and quiet. Featuring an impressive number of tables (including one from the Olympic Games), this fun and raucous space features a long bar to one side of the building and an elevated restaurant for those in need of some sustenance before or after a game. The pie shop-style tiled walls provide a subtle vintage feel while the world standard tables add a modern edge.

What we ate: As we were scheduled to play an hour of ping pong after our meal, we opted for one course each. This may sound like we were being healthy but the fact that we both opted for pizza proves otherwise. My boyfriend plumped for spicy pork and fennel pizza while I played it safe with buffalo mozzarella and basil. Both were crisp, exceptionally tasty and lasted no more than 20 minutes, which is testament to how good they were considering how I slow I usually eat. Even our Italian waiter divulged that he thought the pizzas were pretty good. If you want something more traditionally Italian then there’s still plenty to choose from including pan fried chicken breast, Sicilian aubergine stew and spice crab macaroni cheese.

What we drank: Although we were very tempted by a cocktail (including the aptly named Wiff Waff and the Ping Pong Show), we finally settled on a bottle of Gable View Sauvignon Blanc. With a crisp finish and subtle tropical notes, it was the perfect accompaniment for pizza.

How we played: Unless you’re a pro, quaffing half a bottle of wine before a game will not do your ping pong skills any favours. It will, however, make the game more exciting as you have no idea where the ball will land (at one point I was playing with the woman on the table next to us). Once we got into our stride we managed to have quite a few good rallies before our hour was up.

Need to know: As Bounce is situated in the heart of Holborn, it is definitely worth phoning ahead to book a table as it gets incredibly busy, especially during the week.

Verdict: Even for the ping pong novice, Bounce is a huge amount of fun. The food was of a high standard and the staff were friendly and helpful. We will definitely be back.

The damage: Expect to pay around £50 for two main courses and a bottle of wine.

What to wear: Make sure you’re wearing something comfortable as you will definitely be running around a lot.

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