When did tischtennis (ping pong) grow cool? Its roots in Berlin go back to 1899, when the first ping pong verein (club) was established. Members were of the "upper crust" and may have been cool. But the current ping-pong furor seems to be riding on the coattails (or legwarmers) of the 1980s fashion craze (or the upcoming Balls of Fury). "But the 1980s never went out of style in Berlin," you say? True. But in the actual 1980s, ping pong was for squares, something of an underground hobby played on ping pong tables in people's basements.
Then in the 1990s, those tables served as a repository for all the junk that got stored down there. Today the ping pong table is the social meeting point, the center of attention. The winner is the hero, gets the chicks, etc. Actually, the current cult of the ping pong is more than a fashion statement or fad. It's also a subculture that has combined hip with social consciousness and artistic aesthetic. The way the game is played reflects a larger philosophy: living honestly, openly, and culturally (i.e., something of a "life is art" motif). These bars and platzs are often venues for rousing ping pong parties. Stop by for a look at this unique counterculture, or joint a match yourself. If you didn't pack your own paddle, try renting a schläger (paddle) and bälle (balls) from the bar.
[Photo: TV Disko]