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(From left) Kyle Martino, Eva Amurri, Susan Sarandon and André Balazs at the opening of SPiN ping pong club at The Standard Hotel, Los Angeles, in December. Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP
Jordan Strauss INV
(From left) Kyle Martino, Eva Amurri, Susan Sarandon and André Balazs at the opening of SPiN ping pong club at The Standard Hotel, Los Angeles, in December. Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP

Susan Sarandon prepares to put Dubai in a SPiN

Hollywood A-lister, Susan Sarandon, is bringing her boutique chain of ping-pong bars to Dubai.

The venue in Wafi is to be spread out across 12,000 sq ft and offers 11 designer ping-pong tables – including one made from gold. The centre will also offer all the amenities expected from an ultra-chic nightclub, including international food, three bars, a spacious dance floor, a shisha lounge and a terrace.

Resident DJs are to provide a soundtrack for the action on the tables. In a statement announcing the opening, Susan Saradon, the actress behind the chain,  said: “SPiN Dubai will be the sexiest and swankiest ping-pong lounge and nightclub in the world.”

And you can expect a party for the launch date, which has not yet been announced. Sarandon, who was just in the region for the Muscat International Film Festival, will be in Dubai for the opening, the club’s representatives confirmed.

Not since Tom Hanks’s ping-pong heroics as Forrest Gump has a Hollywood A-lister embraced the 130-year-old sport as Sarandon has.

SPiN began with a series of parties hosted in New York City by the co-founders Jonathan Bricklin and Franck Raharinosy; Sarandon got involved with a modest business investment in SPiN New York in 2009, a relationship that has grown to include Milwaukee, Toronto and Los Angeles. SPiN’s leap to the Gulf came after Sarandon teamed up with the local franchisee, the entrepreneurial Alyamour Brothers.

Describing herself as “not very good” at the sport, Sarandon admitted to The Guardian in a recent interview the business initially grew in 2009 out of sheer novelty.

“I was doing Exit the King on Broadway with Geoffrey Rush at the time,” she recalled. “I had some movies coming out as well and I would be doing interviews, and at the end of the chat people would ask: ‘So what’s up next?’ I would say: ‘Well, we have this ping-pong bar that’s going to open.’ All of a sudden, that’s all people wanted to talk about, I guess because it’s the most unexpected pairing of a person and a sport.”

The fiercely political Sarandon also found the sport home to values dear to her heart. “I love the democratic nature of the game,” she told Table Tennis magazine in 2011. “Not politically, of course, but in the equalisation of genders and ages and even handicapped players. It is also a great game for your brain, which I think is important.”

The SPiN Dubai owner Dani Alyamour said the club will appeal to table tennis lovers as well as club hoppers. “We love ping-pong and wanted to bring this unique concept to the Middle East,” he said. “SPiN Dubai is a destination for people who want to come after work for a game and to enjoy everything the venue has to offer be it the music, dining, or socialising every evening, but with a new twist making it the ultimate nightlife experience.”

The club will be open from 6pm to 3am.

• For more details on Susan Sarandon’s growing ping-pong empire, go to www.spingalactic.com

sasaeed@thenational.ae

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