When brothers Eugene and Michael Jung were growing up in Kentucky, there wasn't much to do. Table tennis was their default fun. Once they became adults, they left their paddles behind -- until they realized they missed "the simple pleasure of hitting a ball back and forth." The siren song of the ping pong became too much, and 2013 they began hosting Pips and Bounce ping-pong popups around Portland.
This month, the popups will have a permanent home -- complete with a full bar and restaurant -- when the Jung brothers open their 4,500-square-foot ping pong palace on Southeast Belmont.
The idea, they say, is to attract pretty much everyone to the game -- from retirees and first-daters to families with kids (minors will be permitted until 9 p.m.). And they know their market: Since March of 2013, they've hosted about 30 ping-pong popup parties. They even have a dozen deluxe tables imported from Germany for the serious competitors.
Aside from the booze, snacks, and fancy equipment, there's another big perk to bringing your A-game out of retirement (or your basement). Pips and Bounce will have "ball boys and ball girls" on hand to retrieve stray bouncers, allowing everyone to keep playing, eating, and drinking instead of chasing down errant balls.
Prepare for casual menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, and flatbreads, which you can wash down with whatever sounds good from Pips' full bar. Each table comes with stations where you can rest your eats and drinks in between volleys, and there are picnic tables and 100 feet of church pew for when you need to get off your feet.
"But if we're doing everything right," they say, "everyone will be on their feet dancing and playing."
Expect to be lobbing your first serve by mid- to late-November.
Pips & Bounce, 833 SE Belmont St., Portland