The Uberpong European Tour 2014 was immensely successful. Uberpong Founder David Lowe spent nearly a month (from April to May) traveling to London, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Malmo, Hamburg, Berlin and Paris. In London, he met with Ping! – the lottery funded initiative that has made ping pong more visible in the UK. They have installed over 500 tables throughout cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol. He then headed over to meet the team at T3 Ping Pong and got to play on their unique table that lets you play 3-on-3. Following a great meeting with profile British street artist and graphic designer PINS, next was a tour around Mind Candy – a London company revolutionizing kids entertainment with Moshi Monsters. It was great to see that they embraced ping pong in their office space and they even had a custom Moshi Monsters Uberpong paddle! After this, Uberpong hit Ping in West London. Their bar and games room concept is inspired by ping pong and the pizzas on offer are delicious. There are neon lights above many of the tables in the main room and a private room with its own bar which has cool artwork on the walls. The staff were super friendly and one of them even played ping pong with Dave for about an hour.
On Thursday, Uberpong were booked in at Bounce – a social ping pong club that is located on the site where ping pong was invented in 1901 by John Jaques III. They let David play on the table used for the table tennis at the London 2012 Olympic Games and you can watch the video on Uberpong TV. Just before leaving London, David met with British professional table tennis player Darius Knight and had a fascinating discussion about how the game is developing in the UK and becoming more social.
Next it was over to Stockholm, Sweden to meet master illustrator and graphic designer Viktor Hertz who created our Paddle Love Valentine’s Day paddle. Then came Copenhagen, Denmark and its buzzing ping pong scene. A long overdue meeting with Anders Find (creator of PingOut – street tables made in one piece, requiring no maintenance and decked out by local artists) came first together with a mini ping pong tour of the capital city. He showed David one of the PingOut collection and then took him to DuPong – a local ping pong bar with a spirited clientele, all hooked on Berlin Style table tennis. After a decent session in there, Anders led the way to Tiger SpilBar – a spin off games bar from retail chain Tiger. They had ordered a lot of Uberpong paddles just before the trip so to see several hanging in the bar window in Denmark was mind blowing. To see people playing with them on the ping pong table inside was an epic win moment!
Europe is all about the trains not planes and a simple journey from Copenhagen to Berlin via Hamburg was just hours away. In the German capital, ping pong is one of the most popular games, just behind soccer. There are supposed to be 700 public tables in Berlin and free ping pong in parks acts as the social glue for the community. Dr. Pong was a venue that we had heard so much about in the US as being the spiritual home of Berlin Style ping pong (aka “Around The World”). David met Oliver Miller and enjoyed the ensuing craziness as the number of people increased rapidly leading to one of the largest games of Berlin Style ping pong he had ever seen (around 50). The awesome deep house music and dive bar feel gave it an edge over some of the more commercial ping pong social clubs in the UK and US. Also at Dr. Pong was journalist and photographer Clément Girardot who was not only kind enough to interview David but also played all night with Uberpong’s ROAR paddle. Joining the ping pong party was the Kettler crew who had flown in from Dortmund. They were a lot of fun and took David to Schmittz bar (more Berlin Style action) and then onto Magnet Club. They had managed to get one of their tables in the back of the venue and this ping pong room really complemented the indie club’s vibe well. The steady stream of players confirmed the game’s growing popularity on the nightlife circuit. After a meeting with MyTischtennis who had kindly flown in from Düsseldorf, David headed to the Friedrichshain neighborhood of Berlin to check out Minimal Bar. The interior design and artwork on the walls was phenomenal and created a great atmosphere. The players were friendly and also really good.
After saying “Auf Wiedersehen” to Germany, David took an 8.5 hour train ride to Paris, France. The French capital, like Berlin, has a great outdoor ping pong scene and the highlight had to be the outdoor tables in the area close to the Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower. With their stylish black table combined with a suave interior that made you itch for a prolonged ping pong session accompanied with a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Derrière bar was worth a quick look. Before heading back to London for the flight back to Austin Texas, David swung by Gossima – the first ping pong social club in Paris. The venue used to be a car garage and one of the highlights is a platform that goes up and down. This used to lower cars down to the basement to be fixed but now lowers and raises the DJ and his decks between floors. There is also a secret ping pong room behind a book case which has mirrors on the ceiling. Each table has its own name – all famous people who had a love for ping pong. Marilyn Monroe, Bob Marley and Fidel Castro all have their own wallpaper and tables. Now the Uberpong European Tour is under the belt, we are planning an Asian Tour in 2015. Let us know if you would like us to come and visit you!
You can see the ping pong table locations and venues David spotted on the Uberpong European tour on our new ping pong map.