Last Friday, I left the house looking to cut a rug and had every intention of covering what Milwaukee Magazine deemed “The Best Dance Party,” The Wherehouse (818 S. Water), but instead found myself crashing what I can only assume was a quinceanera. Confused and now hungry for a taco, I checked their website and was informed that they offer special pricing for various events on Friday and Sunday evenings advertised with the words “RENT-ME.” Chalk one up in the loss column.
I wrote off The Wherehouse and decided my efforts would be better spent at Hyde (906 S. Barclay.) So you can imagine my displeasure when I pulled up the following week and found the doors locked and the lights off. Shut down on a Thursday? Being the narcissist that I am, I assumed they heard I was headed their way, and rather than face my wrath, they simply shut the doors. However, a post to their Facebook wall earlier this week informed me that they will remain closed but reportedly reopening under new management at an undisclosed date. Here I thought this job was going to be easy and doing your homework only applied to school.
Not willing to admit defeat and knowing that a deadline loomed in the near future, I went to SPiN (233 E. Chicago) or as the bartender affectionately called it, “a 17,000-square-foot Ping-Pong orgasm.” I couldn’t have said it better myself; and to think I was just looking for a place that was open and not swarmed by 15-year-old girls. The front desk and pro shop in the foyer made it feel as if I was about to join a gym, but instead of treadmills and weight benches, SPiN features 13 top-of-the-line table tennis courts and cronies that walk about retrieving your stray balls. This is what a Ping-Ponger’s dreams are made of. I got the special, a $4 Harvey Wallbanger, while Steven, said bartender, showed me the ropes, even giving me a brief history of SPiN and its New York roots while displaying two of his personalities. The other being Chip, the man-whore-ish type who was captain of his high school dive team and has an awkwardly low voice.
Rarely, even on the most sober of occasions, do I possess the coordination necessary to walk and chew gum simultaneously so I made myself comfortable at the bar and played spectator to the several games in session. Table rates (which include paddles, since we aren’t all toting around our own professional-grade racket) are $24 per hour after 6pm and $16 before, with steep discounts offered to members and free play for ladies on Wednesday nights. If you’re looking for a different twist on that corporate event or monotonous bar-themed birthday party, SPiN has two, sleek private rooms equipped with custom-crafted tables, private bars and lounge seating. While food may not be my department, their menu is worth a notable mention because it’s served until midnight, available to those working up an appetite. For additional information on membership, co-owner Susan Sarandon and reservations, check out their website, www.spingalactic.com.
Physical activity might not have been my forte previously, but with a venue such as SPiN and their pro shop slinging sweatbands and slogan T-shirts reading “Balls Are My Business,” I may have just found a new hobby. Watch for me at the 2012 Olympics.