My Love Letter to a Berlin Table Tennis Bar
Last night I went to Dr. Pong, a table-tennis bar and nothing more but also so much more. To my knowledge, nothing like Dr. Pong exists in my hometown of Washington, DC. And yet Washington, DC could really use a table-tennis bar these days. I made this list of everything I loved about Dr. Pong for posterity and maybe also future cultural appropriation.
1. I love your ominous electronic soundtrack.
I walked in to Mellotron by Worakls, and from what I gathered that was the first song in a long playlist of Tim Burton lullabies.
2. I love your self-serious website.
Would that all bars kept a “manifest.” I love that, per your website, interests and themes that did not motivate the founding of Dr. Pong include:
- Un-virtuality (physicality) / real variability.
- Healthy addiction.
- Losing definition between game / sport and partying.
- Gaining control / losing control.
- Pre-apocalyptic activity.
- Improvement of eye-hand coordination.
- feedback play
I think that’s self-explanatory.
3. I love your abandoned-doctor’s-office-waiting-room ambiance.
4. I love that you’re open until 2:00am on a Tuesday.
But will somebody explain why so many Berliners are up at 2:00am on a Tuesday?!
5. I love your lack of expectations.
I love that you welcome people of every shape, size, color, sexual orientation, age, diet, religion, dress, and accent. I love that you give zero fucks whether people play table-tennis for hours, or watch silently in the corner for hours, or drink for hours, or make-out in the restroom for hours. I love your no-dress-code dress-code policy.
6. I love your beer.
Flessa Brau is so small-batch that the brewer delivers it via bicycle every morning.
7. I love your radical simplicity.
I love that you put a single table-tennis table in the middle of a room, lined the room with chairs, set up a speaker system, stocked a bar, and opened your doors. I love that there’s no distractions, such that everyone watches the game and cheers, claps, and gasps in unison. I love that people can arrive alone and instantly become part of a group by joining the asteroid belt of people shuffling around the table-tennis table.
Never change, Dr. Pong.