This past week I was in charge of suggesting a place for drinks for a colleague and I to meet up at after work. Upon consulting my good friend Yelp, I found a place called Ducks Eatery. The location seemed central and a picture of sliders was showcased. I’m always a sucker for sliders so Ducks Eatery was selected and little did either one of us know exactly what I’d discovered.
It’s apparent that I didn’t see anything beyond the mini hamburger picture and it’s also not surprising that I was a little confused to see a front desk after walking down a flight of stairs. This was a bar right? After turning a slight right I was dumbfounded to see that the bar was in fact a ping-pong hall with drinks and food to compliment the sport- 9,000 square feet of prime ping-pong space to be exact!
I do recommend the sliders but you can’t leave without playing at least one game of ping-pong. During off-hours it’s $10 for thirty minutes for a table and during peak hours, the price jumps to$20 for thirty minutes. There are even memberships for $650 per year! One of the best parts about playing is that you don’t have to go chasing missed ping-pong balls around. There’s a basket of balls at your disposal and staff scooping up the ones flying to the floor, which I contributed to a lot.
I definitely wasn’t expecting to be playing ping-pong that night and I really wasn’t expecting to see a ping-pong tournament either! Prior to the DJ setting up shop, we were a little suspicious of the die-hard players showing off at some of the tables. We’re talking athletic shorts, headbands and goggles. Among the amateur night-goers, there was clearly some people who were there for more than leisure activity and their calf muscles suggested that they’d played a fair share of table tennis. With money at stake and a tournament bracket on the wall, the pro players migrated to one area of the room. Among the introductions was a former ping-pong Olympian and a current North-East champ who has to be in high school given his voice was breaking! Needless to say, we were fascinated watching the tournament for a couple of rounds. Each player had their own serving style and theatrical moments whether throwing down or biting a paddle! The announcer threatened to eject a couple of players who were caught up in the moment a little too much. As you can imagine, it was entertaining to say the least.
Turns out that the place was created by quote ” food visionary and table tennis extraordinaire” Will Horowitz. For everyone not up on their table tennis athletes, I’ll save you the google or wikipedia search. Will was a professional junior table tennis player in his high school-aged years.
Who would have guessed? Just another reason to love New York and who knows, I may have even seen an upcoming athlete for the London Olympics!
Intrigued? Ducks Eatery can be found at 48 East 23rd St, between Park and Madison or you can visit its website here. Have you stumbled upon any interesting places you weren’t expecting to find? Share here!