Bars go into battle in new ‘punch pong’ league

uppl logoJJ Goodman, the co-founder of London Cocktail Club (LCC) bars, has teamed up with Monin UK to run a “punch pong” competition for bars across the UK.

They have launched the Underground Punch Pong League (UPPL), inspired by the traditional drinking game, beer pong, where teams try to get ping pong balls into cups of beer.

For the UPPL, the beer is replaced by punch, with each bar given a Monin syrup flavour at random that they must use as the foundation for creating a new signature recipe.

Competing for the Monin Bartenders’ Challenge Cup, the “battle of the bars” kicks off on September 2 at The Big Chill bar in Bristol, followed by 12 more heats around the UK and Ireland, culminating in a final at Covent Garden Cocktail Club in London on October 7 during London Cocktail Week.

At each regional heat, eight bars will select a team of two bartenders to represent them. It starts with 10 cups in a pyramid-like formation at each end of a table, with each of the two teams’ cups filled with 100ml of their opponents’ punch.

Each team takes a turn throwing a ping pong ball into the other team’s cups. Once a ball lands in a cup, the cup is taken away and the opponent drinks the contents. The team that successfully hits all of their opponent’s cups wins the game.

The UPPL is free to enter, with full details of how the competition works at

The prize includes a day trip to Paris for four, where the bartenders can visit some of the world’s greatest cocktail bars and sample fantastic French food.

James Coston, Monin’s UK brand ambassador, said: “We’re really excited to be supporting the UPPL. The Monin Bartenders’ Challenge Cup is a great opportunity for bartenders to have fun and show how creative they can be with their punch recipes – and of course, an opportunity to be crowned UPPL Monin Bartenders’ Challenge Cup champions during London Cocktail Week.”

JJ added: “The UPPL is the first of its kind, destined for world domination. In true LCC style, any bar is welcome to sign up, and the Monin Bartenders’ Challenge Cup will separate the weak from the strong.”

With James Hopkins, JJ is the co-founder of Covent Garden Cocktail Club and the three London Cocktail Club bars in Goodge Street, Shaftesbury Avenue and Great Portland Street, which opened this week.

Schedule of play

September 2: The Big Chill, Bristol
September 3: Lab22, Cardiff
September 8: London Cocktail Club, Great Portland Street, London
September 9: Barrio North, London
September 10: Trailer Happiness, London
September 16: Island Bar, Birmingham
September 17: Salt Dog Slim’s, Liverpool
September 18: Mojo, Manchester
September 19: Smokestack, Leeds
September 22: The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
September 23: Love & Death, Belfast
September 24: 37 Dawson Street, Dublin
October 7: UK final at Covent Garden Cocktail Club, London

All regional heats start at 2pm while the final start at 5pm.

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