A unique experience best enjoyed in a group.
- Excellent Venue
- Good Quality Food/Drink
- Ball Pit a Unique Experience
- Casual Service
- Novelty of the Ball Pit Wears Off
If you’ve ever Googled ‘unusual things to do in London’, you’ll almost certainly have heard of Ballie Ballerson, an ‘adult ball pit’ and cocktail bar in Shoreditch. Previously a pop-up in Dalston and originally intended to stay for one month only, the project was a runaway success and now receives 25,000 visitors a month. They claim to have over one million balls and their website and social media are full of ball-related jokes (‘get balls deep’, ‘you shall go to the balls’, and so on). If you can deal with the puns, give it a go – chances are good that you’ll have an excellent time.
Ballie Ballerson bottomless brunch
My partner and I went there for their Bottomless Brunch: £30 for two hours of unlimited prosecco, unlimited pizza, and entry to the ball pit. We were the only couple there on this occasion, as everyone else had come in small groups (this isn’t always the case though: Ballie also offers speed dating events, so you might just find your ideal partner in a ball pit. More on this later!).
Ballie is located in Curtain road in Shoreditch and is fairly easy to spot. After a short wait outside and receiving wristbands, we were let in.
The first thing that will hit you inside is the UV-everything: a 70 metre graffiti mural in glowing UV colours stretches across the walls, and then there are the balls themselves – all white, all glowing under UV, making the place quite surreal and – as emphasised on the Ballie website – very Instagram-friendly. Entry to the pit on its own is £7.50 and you can also hire it for private events.
Directly inside is the bar area. Consistent with the nostalgia theme, Ballie offers cocktails styled on vintage sweets: Dib Dabs, Skittles Sours, Curly Wurly etc. and on other childhood favourites. There’s even a cocktail called You’re A Wizard, Harry. We were just there for the brunch this time, so we didn’t spend time in the bar, but it’ll be on my list next time we’re in Shoreditch.
Upstairs is the ball pit itself and next to it is the ‘VIP area’: a small space seating perhaps 15 people. It’s quite open (no private booths) but with individual tables. We were seated here and immediately got stuck in by pouring two proseccos from the bottle that was already on the table. The first pizza followed very quickly after.
Service and food
‘Unlimited’ things can be pretty hit or miss, so I was pleasantly surprised that the pizza was proper, freshly-baked pizza with plenty of juicy toppings. If you like your pizzas thin with a good fifty/fifty base-to-topping ratio, you’re in luck. There are four kinds in total, including two vegetarian options and a delicious barbecue chicken with red onion. We worked our way through all four, which means that I had about the equivalent of two pizzas before I – sadly – got too full for any more, even with all the prosecco to wash it down.
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The service is quick, friendly and genuine. There was no menu or order system; one of the staff simply appeared every now and then with a stack of pizzas and let us choose if we wanted one or not. Personally, I found this really refreshing!
we left feeling uplifted and agreeing that it was two hours well spent.
Recently, my partner and I went for a canal tour in Amsterdam where unlimited wine was offered, but it was dispensed in tiny measures and we had to request refills. After one or two, it started to feel a little awkward to keep asking for more (even if it would take four refills to equal a standard glass of wine). By contrast, at Ballie we never had to ask for more pizza or prosecco, because they just brought it to the table. I’m a fast eater, so this was very much appreciated.
If you have dietary restrictions, they also offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on request.
The ball pit
Once we got tired of the food and drink, we dived into the glowing ball pit.
Whilst it may be the USP and the namesake of Ballie Ballerson, the pit itself was actually the least memorable part of our visit. It was a new experience and great fun after a few proseccos, but after about five minutes of flailing around and laughing at each other, there wasn’t much to do but get out again. Even so, we left feeling uplifted and agreeing that it was two hours well spent.
The ball pit is probably best enjoyed in a big group, where the atmosphere would encourage everyone to let their hair down and socialise. Along these lines, Ballie offers hen nights, team building events and birthday parties, as well as the previously mentioned speed dating nights. The speed dating works by swimming through the balls to find the singleton with the matching number, enjoying a 4-5 minute date and then back in for the next one. Sounds like fun!
All things considered, what I really loved Ballie for was the great pizza, the relaxed atmosphere and the friendly service. It can be recommended for these things alone, balls or no balls. We’ll definitely be back.