Ace: A taste of this week's review

Cheers erupt from the back table. A thirty-something, slightly sweaty in dark jeans and collared shirt, pumps his fist, Tiger-style, celebrating a zinger that caught the corner and kept on going. High-fives are given, drinks are spilled -- but in the rush of victory, no one cares, just as no one minds the small white balls flying across the room like popcorn. What people do notice is how much fun they're having, all while playing a game that, until recently, was only snickered at in the Olympics ("You call that a sport?") or used by college students as an excuse to drink.

See also: - Ace scores with action, drinks and decor; food is a tie game - Photos: Behind the scenes at Ace - Photos: A first look at the space at Ace

Ping-pong has arrived. And if what's happening at Ace, the latest restaurant by the team behind Vesta Dipping Grill and Steuben's, is any indication, the game has the power to transform a night on the town.

Not that owners Josh and Jen Wolkon can take credit for making the squat paddles cool. That honor goes to Susan Sarandon, who brought the game back from the verge of extinction with Spin, a popular ping-pong club in New York City. But the Wolkons lobbed the craze into Denver's prime time, repurposing a cavernous, 9,000-square-foot garage next to Steuben's into a hangout extraordinaire. Even without the eleven ping-pong tables (including some on the patio), the space would feel like a party: lights low, music pumping, fun touches like shipping containers, airplane parts and a curvy bar with scorpion bowls, alcoholic shaved ices and fab barman Randy Layman.

Waits for a ping-pong table approach two hours on weekends; fortunately, there's plenty to do in the interim. Eat, for example. Hungry to know more? Read the complete review of Ace in Denver.


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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz