We certainly aren't lacking for more "traditional" social clubs – i.e., bars – in the city of Detroit, but Drive is a whole new kind of social hub.
Drive: Table Tennis Social Club
is a ping-pong palace, recently opened on the ground floor level of the Lofts at Merchants Row on Woodward Avenue in the space formerly occupied by City Loft, the pop-up retail space operated by the Somerset Collection.
Owner Diallo Smith has lived in cities all over the country but moved back home to Detroit with his wife Jameel in 2008. "Part of that was hearing about some of the exciting things happening in Detroit, the resurgence and renaissance," he says. "We felt like it was a great time for us to move back and be a part of that in some way."
Drive was born out of their desire to be entrepreneurs and contribute to the growing number of lively, unique businesses that will ultimately be the backbone of a new Detroit. They chose table tennis because of its world-wide popularity and its familiarity on an everyday level. "Everybody has played (ping-pong) in a basement growing up, or at a friend’s house in the summer."
It was also something Detroit didn’t already have.
The 4,000-square-foot space is designed to have an upscale look, and they are currently working on obtaining a liquor license and plan on carrying international beers and wines you don’t see in every bar in keeping with the international nature of the sport and their upscale environment. They will also introduce a small food menu of "funky" sandwiches and melts once they start serving beer, wine and cocktails.
Drive is currently open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday but will extend their hours once their liquor license is approved, which they hope will happen this spring.
Souce: Diallo Smith, owner of Drive: Table Tennis Social Club
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg
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