By accident rather than design, ‘Europe’s first purpose-built social ping-pong club’ occupies the vast basement site where the game was trademarked by Jaques & Son in 1901. Book a half-hour slot at one of 17 tables (including one used in the 2012 London Olympics) and sip on a well-made ‘match point’ margarita, Sambrooks Junction Ale or bubbles from £35 a bottle. A raised dining area overlooks the sporting action, supplying well-sourced antipasti and charcuterie, plus mains such as hearty wild boar stew; there’s also a wood-fired oven for thin-crust pizzas (goats’ cheese, caramelised onions and rosemary, say). Round off with indulgent Eton mess in a sundae glass. Thumping beats rule out intimate tête-à-têtes but keep the party swinging – particularly on Saturdays, which are a safe bet for birthday bashes and big group bookings. Otherwise the place is busy with off-duty suits.
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