(Beer) Pong: a beer sampling: Electronic music, marble tile floor, black-and-white stenciled walls … and table tennis?
That’s right, table tennis is getting a trendy makeover at the hands of Diallo Smith, owner of the new Drive Table Tennis Social Club on Woodward in Detroit. It opened Dec. 14, but Smith had been holding pop-up Ping-Pong events for a year before that.
“A lot of people ask, ‘Why table tennis?’ My most common answer is, ‘Why not?’” Smith says. “From a business perspective, table tennis has kind of had a bad brand. You think of basements and rec centers. It’s such a great thing to do that we wanted to take it out of that space and bring it to a space that kind of has some sexiness. We decided to glamorize it and make it more palatable with the mainstream.”
The 4,000-square-foot club is in the former home of City Loft, the Detroit pop-up shop operated by the Somerset Collection.
On Friday, Drive will host the first of a monthly series called (Beer) Pong: a beer sampling. (Beer) Pong will feature beer samples from local breweries, a DJ and, of course, table tennis. Friday’s featured brewery will be Atwater.
Drive has applied for but doesn’t yet have a liquor license, so alcohol can’t be sold at the club. Though the beer samples will be free, one-hour table reservations are $20. Tables can be reserved in advance by calling or e-mailing Drive.
“You have a lot of Ping-Pong enthusiasts that come to play. But the nature of what we’re doing attracts young urban dwellers, and that ranges from hipsters to urban professionals,” says Smith, a Detroit native who moved back to the city five years ago “to be a part of the renaissance.”
(Beer) Pong, which will be held the first Friday of every month, is a 21-and-up event.
5 p.m. Friday, Drive, 1441 Woodward, Detroit. 313-962-1830. The e-mail address is email@example.com.
From 6 to 9 p.m., the Ferndale establishment will look more like a boutique than a bar and pool hall during its second annual swap event.
“Fund-raisers usually consist of the kids selling an item and the parents and grandparents paying for it,” says Krista Johnston, owner of the Loving Touch and the fund-raising chair for John F. Kennedy School, which her daughter attends. “For raising money for the school, I decided to throw an event (and) give everyone a great time and raise money for the school in the process.”
Saturday’s fund-raiser will include free services from local businesses, including chair massages by Essential Massage Therapy; henna hand art by Alchemy; makeup and nail polish application and removal by Rouge; hair styling by Flip, and desserts from Pinwheel Baker, Treat Dreams and the Purple Kitchen. Psychic readings will be available from the Boston Tea Room for a small fee.
Clothing and accessories (purses, shoes, belts, jewelry and so forth) can be dropped off between 6 and 7 p.m. All items must be clean, currently fashionable and clothing must be on a hanger. Volunteers will organize the items, and at 7:30 p.m., guests can sort through the items to find what they like. Cocktails and desserts will be available.
6-9 p.m. Saturday, the Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward, Ferndale. 248-546-3996. $20 and at least five items to swap.