With Portland being a notorious tourist attraction, it can be hard to find just the right thing on your checklist. Breweries and coffee shops are a must, of course, but what about light-hearted fun at night? While some people might suggest a night on the town at a club, or a high-end restaurant, we’ve got something a little more nostalgic in mind—ping pong!
Pips and Bounce in Portland:
That’s right, Portland has its very own ping pong bar! Pips and Bounce, owned and operated by Jung brothers Michael and Eugene, encourage you to come down for the night and play to your heart’s content. Together, Michael and I talk about where Pips and Bounce started from, as well as all the amazing things they offer. Let’s get started!
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- All about what Pips and Bounce is! Michael Jung describes it as a place to relive your childhood nostalgia. With several large ping pong tables, an in-house bar, and kitchen ready to whips up party snacks, it’s the perfect destination for a fun night on the town for anyone. For now, this is the only location they have, but they’re definitely looking to expand!
- Michael talks with me about what they’re sort of advertising with this theme, the first being the concept of “time travel”. Now, of course, we know this doesn’t mean he’s trying to talk science with us, but instead, he’s trying to bring everyone back in time, when playing ping pong in your basement was an average Friday night! He also enjoys giving people the opportunity to unplug from technology, and social media, and offer people a place to hang out and interact face to face with one another. The authenticity of these interactions is what makes Pips and Bounce so special.
- Located in the Central Eastside of Portland, Pips and Bounce accepts walks in from anyone! Michael says there’s always one table ready for people who wander in and want to know more. Reservations are available—and recommended—for people who have larger parties, and want to ensure they get the space they need to enjoy their night out. They’re also open for booking large events, for up to 200 people!
- Michael gives us a rundown of what Pips and Bounce looks like, stating that most people don’t expect what they see when they walk in. In his words, it’s like they took ping pong out of your basement, and put it onto the main street. With a large open space, double story windows, modern and bright airy lighting, Pips, and Bounce mixes the old, with the new. Fake oak wood paneling lines the bar, an old-fashioned garage door is punched into the wall near the event room, and fun 80’s memorabilia lines the walls to give it a retro, nostalgic vibe!
- Michael also explains that, because ping pong tends to make people work up a sweat, they also offer in-house bar service, as well as food from the kitchen! Their menu, he states, is mostly around snack food that won’t interfere with the play of the game (like pizza, or nachos.) On top of that, there’s also a resident in-house “pro”, who’s available for lessons, for anyone who wants to get a competitive edge up on the game!
- Inside, Michael explains that they’ve got enough space for a number of party sizes—they can easily accommodate parties as small as two people, or they can book the whole club for 200 people. There are also sections for smaller groups as well, divided by how many tables are in each. On top of that, if you’re looking for something fun to do on a Friday, or Saturday night? Pips and Bounce has Cosmic Pong, ready to go! It’s the same game, of course, but under the black lights, and with fun, dance music to accommodate the fun atmosphere!
- Michael talks about how this idea came to life, stating that he and his brother took what little they knew about ping pong as a business and tried to make it work based on their own enjoyment and memories of the game from their childhood. Small business professionals turned them down many times (no experience, no model, too risky), and every no they got made them hone in closer to their own gut instincts on how to pull it off. They knew what they wanted to do, and buckled down on determination and creativity to get it done.
- For them, it’s all about people—their job is to bring people together, and ping pong is the medium in which that happens. Michael states that the customers bring the establishment to life. They make the place fun, they entertain each other, and as a business, the good vibes are awesome because the customers are the ones bringing them.
- The way Pips and Bounce came to come from a place of personal experience. Growing up, Michael and Eugene admit they weren’t always the “cool kids”. So, creating a place where they—and people like them—felt like they fit in was imperative to their plan. For them, Pips and Bounce is a place everyone fits in, and no one feels out of place.
- Michael talks about where the name PIps and Bounce comes from, explaining that when the project started, they googled ping pong words for inspiration. A lot of words were really intense and aggressive, which they thought was ill-fitting until they found the word “pips”. It sounded cute and welcoming, but after trying and failing to call it just “pips”, they combined it with the next word on the list, “bounce”. The rest is history!
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Did Michael not get to talk about something you’ve got on your mind? Or are you interested in learning more about Pips and Bounce? Visit their website above to get a better look at what Pips and Bounce has to offer, and check their social media above to stay in the loop!