GRIFFINTOWN — When in comes to Montreal, recreational bars have been largely limited to pool halls and bowling alleys for a long time. It’s only been in the last few years that the city has seen a slow but steady uptick in the variety of alcoholic entertainment, with both the arcade-bar Arcade MTL and the pinball bar North Star opening last year, following locations such as the board game pub Randolph.
Now, it appears it’s ping pong’s turn: The grand opening of Playground is tonight, a 1,500 square-foot space focused on table tennis. With a 100-person seating capacity, the bar aims to hold large events like league nights with its three professional ping pong tables while providing other sources of entertainment, such as pool and foosball tables with video games.
The idea for the space came from a found lack of recreational bars in the southern half of the city. The owners, Fedar Huminski (chef-owner of Le Bon Vivant) and Alexander Reverse (owner of the escape room A/Maze and Rage Axe Throwing), wanted to create a place that is “all about collectivity,” Reverse tells Eater. “It’s great for when you’re on a date, for friends, somewhere to go after work; it’s a space for relaxing, drinking, chatting and playing. The game doesn’t last long if it goes up to 11 points, and while it’s a physical game, it’s not too physical. It’s a great mix between sport and casual fun.”
For those of you thinking a ping pong bar might lead to drinking games, save it for the dining room table at a house party. “We don’t want to encourage drinking games — we’re not allowed to (by law) — but we’ll try to find a good mix of activities that includes ping pong,” Reverse adds.
That’s not to say that the bar won’t have booze available. Bartender Abel Garcia has created a small and fun-loving list of cocktails with pertinent names, such as the ‘Deadspin’ and ‘Whiff-Whaff’, in addition to shots and six beers on tap. The bar doesn’t have a kitchen on site, but they will be serving a small menu of bar snacks that includes the likes of pickles, cheese plates and a charcuterie board.
“The idea is a dream I’ve had for a long time. I’ve been very passionate about ping pong for a long time my whole life. There’s nothing in Montreal like this,” Huminski says. “We’ve been looking forward to this concept for two years. It’s my brainchild; I’ve been a player my whole life... I think it’s an intelligent way of passing time at a bar.”
Playground is holding its grand opening tonight at 1384 Notre-Dame Ouest. Opening hours are currently set 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. every day of the. week.
Call them at (514) 379-1329 or visit their Facebook page here.