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SPiN Toronto

Photo: Tom Ryaboi

Posted by Robyn Urback / September 21, 2011

SPiN Toronto has quietly opened on King West, bringing the game of ping pong out from rec rooms across the nation. When I first spoke to Ryan Fisher about his plans to open a Toronto version of the New York club back in February, the concept was still very much in its infancy. But walking into the 12,000-square-foot space--complete with 12 ping pong tables, two rooms, two bars, and a full food menu and cocktail list--it's clear that ping pong has finally entered the realm of 'cool.'

Indeed, the conventionally unathletic will surely find solace at SPiN. It's a place where the football tackle has no advantage over the bespectacled beat poet; where, in Ryan's words, "A Queen West artist can play against a King West banker."

"I had a table at my place back when I lived in Liberty Village," Ryan says as we lean against one of SPiN's salmon-coloured bars. "And this is what my friends and I would do on Friday or Saturday nights. Here, we're playing the same music; we're drinking the same beer."

Ryan was inspired to open SPiN Toronto after visiting the club in New York and hitting it off with owners Andrew Gordon, Jonathan Bricklin, and Franck Raharinosy (as well as actress Susan Susan Sarandon, who also helped launch the original SPiN.) "The guys in New York," Ryan says, "they're the real pioneers. When I saw in living colour just how you could bring different groups together, I knew I had to get on it. Toronto's ready."

SPiN does seem to provide active relief from static nights at the bar, and the DJ booths and promise of live music ("by people who are willing not to be the focal point of the night," Ryan says) render the space far from that of campground/rec room likeness. Granted, there are hints of that sort of vibe--the picnic tables, the wall seating, the rum, tequila, and gin punch bowls ($39)--but they have been implemented deliberately to preserve a bit of that old school ping pong vibe.

But at SPiN, of course, it's not just your mom's brownies and whatever beer is in the mini fridge. The cocktail list includes specialties such as the Lemon Lychee (sake, lychee liqueur, white cranberry: $8) and the SPiN Barrel Aged Negroni (Bombay gin, campari, martini rossi rouge: $11); the menu includes eats such as sloppy joe's ($12), fish tacos ($9), and fondue ($10), and there's even Guinness, sweet potato, or cheddar ice cream available as part of SPiN's specialty sundaes ($7). The beer list is also fairly extensive and impressive, with several Hop City brews--such as Barking Squirrel and Lawn Chair--on tap.

In the coming weeks, Ryan plans to introduce private ping pong instruction for those looking for a little help with their backhands, as well as league play, tournaments, and the odd projection of a Leafs or Raptors game when the season get underway. Regular play for non-members is $28 per hour ($20 before 5 p.m.) and glow-in-the-dark ping pong should be coming soon (black lights already installed), lest we subject ourselves to more pleasureless nights of cosmic bowling.

But the best part about SPiN is its ball-distribution method hands-down, whereby players are given a basket of balls for play and staff move around to collect the wayward shots. No unnecessary bending and sweet potato ice cream? SPiN certainly blows that old basement table out of the water.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Lawn Chair, Mr. Huff, Happy Hour, Barking Squirrel, Moosehead, Cracked Canoe, Czechvar, Boris Organic, Magners, Heineken, Creemore, Guinness
Signature Drink:
Punch bowls made with homemade syrups
Bar Snacks:
Tacos, sandwiches, beef jerky, deviled eggs
Patio:
No
Music/Genre:
Indie remix/jazz/eclectic
Live Music:
Yes
Who Goes There:
Everyone
Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday and Monday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Discussion

38 Comments

DonnySalami / September 21, 2011 at 9:18 AM
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$28 an hour to play pingpong?!? And drinks aren't included either?

Dammacx / September 21, 2011 at 9:18 AM
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Wow, this is cool. Had me wall the way up to the $28/hr part. Maybe as the occasional diversion but at the price wouldn't be a regular stop for me.

FREE IDEAS / September 21, 2011 at 9:33 AM
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1
You guys should attach a little drink holder UNDER the table. Way less chance of knocking drinks over than having them on a high table close to the ping pong table.

2
You should use some fancy vaccuum or olive grabber thing to pick up the balls so people don't have to suffer the indignity of bending over like they're picking up garbage.

Paul In replying to a comment from FREE IDEAS / September 21, 2011 at 10:01 AM
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I read on their site they have ball boys that run around picking up balls and putting them back in your bucket!

Simon / September 21, 2011 at 10:03 AM
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What Queen West artist can afford $28 for an hour of ping pong? There is no way in hell I'd spend almost $40 to play ping pong for an hour and have a couple drinks.

nicki / September 21, 2011 at 10:18 AM
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If it's $28/table, and you split it with a group, it's not too bad... Cheaper than bowling at $50/hr around the corner!

Tony / September 21, 2011 at 10:31 AM
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Well considering you can buy about 10 ping pong tables for the price of 1 pool table and most billiard spots are about 10 bucks an hour. - - - - this may be a FAIL ! - - - -
im guessing you have a bike rack out front and sell Pabst beer.

reality bites / September 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM
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http://newyork.spingalactic.com/spingalactic/media.php

lol... yeah, this is how i want to spend my free time...NOT! Welcome to the land of douches.

Sam / September 21, 2011 at 11:20 AM
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I went to the ballroom and paid something like $70 for an hour of bowling with my girlfriend. This is a way better deal. I can't believe there are people actually whimpering about paying under $30 for an hour of entertainment for at least 2 people. If you come with 4 people that's like 7 bucks a person. Can't wait to check it out.

darryll In replying to a comment from Paul / September 21, 2011 at 11:21 AM
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it's true they have these guys walking around collecting balls with fishnet type things so you can just whack the balls around and let someone else do the dirty work. brilliant!!!

KMAC / September 21, 2011 at 11:31 AM
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$28/hour actually? GTFO!

Travis / September 21, 2011 at 12:10 PM
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Maybe if it was anywhere else I'd consider giving it a try but that part of King W is just unbearable.

scott / September 21, 2011 at 12:30 PM
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I'm really shocked that people are complaining about $28/hr...i guess these must be people that never pay the bar tabs when they are out either...if this location is anything like the NYC location you guys will be eating your words...feel free to post after you go there that's it's the best $28 you ever spent...

HelenInCanada / September 21, 2011 at 12:32 PM
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I love this idea!!! Publicize more - I can see groups coming in for a fun/active diversion!

WHAAA / September 21, 2011 at 12:53 PM
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" Regular play for non-members is $28 per hour "

WELL WHICH THE PHUCK IS IT

28$ PER HOUR PER TABLE

OR

28$ PER PERSON PER HOUR

Spin clowns are monitoring this so could you clear up the confusion please thank you sir(s)

donglespleck / September 21, 2011 at 1:29 PM
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28$ an hour!? 70$ an hour at the ballroom?!

Looks like I need to get one of those soul-sucking financial district jobs to do anything in this city.

Roctop / September 21, 2011 at 1:35 PM
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With all this high priced ball-hopping & bopping, it looks a fight will break out every Saturday night.

Just Me In replying to a comment from Paul / September 21, 2011 at 2:31 PM
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For that rate, the 'ball boys' better be HOT 19 year old girls
in string bikinis. Wanna see my bucket?

hey / September 21, 2011 at 2:36 PM
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Drunkards getting hit with stray ping pong balls + King West location = instant recipe for fightin' and scrappin'

MrsPotato / September 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM
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i have an awesome idea: get a FREE ping pong table off Craigslist, and you can buy a couple cases of beer for that price.

Crom / September 22, 2011 at 12:25 AM
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Great, seems like it will be another magnet for eventual douchebag, fakester, musclehead pseudocool jerkoffs that will try to overtake any decent establishment. Stay at Dolce and Brassail where u belong!!! ya bums, hehe;
28$/hr for pingpong, ha, Crom laughs at ur pingpong, laughs from his mountain.

Clown In replying to a comment from WHAAA / September 22, 2011 at 2:09 AM
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$28 per table for non members.

Marvin In replying to a comment from hey / September 22, 2011 at 11:22 AM
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They claim: "Punch bowls made with homemade syrups". I wonder how soon the fists will fly after a few balls fall into them and they get spilled. This ought to be good for a viral video or two of the slip-sliding douche-bags.

jeff / September 23, 2011 at 11:57 AM
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This place was so much fun, went there last night with 3 friends, split that $28 table fee 4 ways (how can you complain?) and its a great way to spend a night. It really breaks up the monotony of the King W scene.

Tamir Birk / September 23, 2011 at 11:44 PM
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Can't believe people would pay this while were in a recession... so wrong.

Stu / September 25, 2011 at 9:46 PM
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I was hesitant to go anywhere near King and Spadina because of the douce baggery that takes place around Brant House and other clubs in the area. Was very pleasantly surprised by SPiN. Very easy going and friendly atmosphere. And considering it's downtown Toronto, $28 for an hour split between friends aint bad. I'll go back for sure.

Stu In replying to a comment from reality bites / September 25, 2011 at 9:58 PM
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You lost me 18 seconds into that video. If hot girls, pong and drinking beer bother you so much then stay home and leave the bar to people who don't complain about nothing.

Rob / September 27, 2011 at 1:12 AM
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I don't know if the people commenting are more cheap or rude. $28 per hour is fair. What would you charge if you owned the business? I am heading there this week with 3 friends so $7/hr is totally fair. I am guessing the people commenting are sitting on a sidewalk outside a star bucks right now scoring free internet too. Get a job you morons.

semi / September 27, 2011 at 10:43 AM
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cool concept, unjustifiable price, good for suckers.

SK / October 9, 2011 at 1:46 PM
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I would go to this if the price was heavily reduced. $28 dollars for ONE hour of play is just bullshit.

Levi / January 5, 2012 at 3:50 PM
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I checked this place out a few months ago. Don't bother if you are actually into ping pong. Black lights are on everywhere screwing up my depth perception and there isn't enough space between tables to get a good loop going.

kirk / January 5, 2012 at 11:05 PM
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If you go out with 3 friends, and split the cost of the table, it'll cost you 7 dollars each. That's pretty simple math, and it's really not that much. Also, you'll probably find that that with ping pong - much like bowling - one hour of playing will be more than enough.

kirk / January 5, 2012 at 11:06 PM
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But the last place in the world I'd want to go is King West

jonathan / January 9, 2012 at 2:32 AM
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I went to this place last week for the first time, and ended up going 2 more times later in the week because it was such a good time. I ASSURE YOU after reading the above, there are more douchebags commenting on this post then there are at Spin. $28/an hour? How can you even complain? If you go with 6 people, all have a $5 pint, and rotate playing for an hour, thats basically $60 total, aka $10 each for an hour of fun and a beer. Much less than you "trend setters" spent on your florescent pink fixed gear bike. Grow up. And to the people complaining, please dont come, I dont want to have to listen to you whining at the table beside me over a couple extra dollers next time im there having a good time. Just go see a Movie or something......Oh wait, even more expensive. Better just ride your fixie right into the lake and get it over with.

sam / February 6, 2012 at 11:24 AM
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This place is AMAZZINNNG if you like ping pong, if you don't like ping pong then don't go there and don't comment either! Obviously it would be nicer if it was cheaper. 2 people can play ping pong and drink beer and it comes to $40. I personally think this is a much better deal than paying $15 cover for a club and $8 for a drink! Its always busy and it is the new trend.

Terra / March 23, 2012 at 1:18 PM
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Congrats on the opening of Spin , think it sounds like a fun concept, just googled the the place cause were attending a b-day party there this evening,very excited to try something new in the city. For an hour activity $28 is fair split between friends and hopefully all you cheap rude people will stay in your perents 70's basements this evening and play with your own paddles....

judy / May 6, 2012 at 10:15 AM
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The fish tacos at spin suck!!!! do not even order them.. the blandest.. Did anyone really check them out.. there was no flavour at all!

Stink / July 8, 2012 at 10:14 AM
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I'm a doctor! Help!

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