What a ball-sy throwback to childhood!

By Sara Valle-Martínez

You can practically find anything in London, even things that you never thought you needed. There’re cat cafés, a junkyard full of neon signs, a tattoo shop with a fortune wheel and… a ball pit for adults.

Ballie Ballerson is in the heart of East London. The quirky and trendy streets of Shoreditch, with walls plastered in graffiti, chic neighbours with coloured hair and reconverted shipping containers in its famous Boxpark, is the right fit for this cocktail-bar-turned-playground.

“The whole premise of Ballie Ballerson is to let go of any of your adult inhibitions and really have the chance to have proper fun, just like when you were a child and didn’t have to think about tax, work and London rent prices,” said Saoirse Sullivan, a spokesperson from the venue.

Visitor enjoying the ball pits @ Ballie Ballerson. Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez.

The dark high ceilings may fool you when you walk in, but as soon as you get your wristband, you’re ready to enter this immersive and drunken regression to childhood memories.

Two different ball pits are wedged between a VIP area full of brides-to-be and their bridesmaids and a bar where you can shake your hips and twirl around to the latest – and some of the greatest – hits.

“I think it’s a very cool place but if you really think about it, the club and the ball pit together is a stretch,” said Arnau Martinez, 25, trying to speak over the loud music. “Everyone’s drunk, so I can only imagine how many balls need replacing every week.”

Inside the ball pits, you can play your own scavenger’s game. You just need to wiggle in between the multicoloured spheres and rummage around. That’s if you survive the constant BPA-free plastic ball fight.

“I found a ring!” Mr Martinez said as he raised his hand to display the metal piece of jewellery. “Some other stuff, too – a pair of sunglasses, a shoe… Madness!”

But fear not! The balls are cleaned weekly by this teletubbiesque machine called Gobble Muffin – a perfect throwback to your childhood.

Visitor enjoying the ball pits @ Ballie Ballerson. Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez.

Security measures are also taken to ensure everyone’s safety. Security guards are planted all over the venue as well as at the entrance to the two ball pits – makeshift for impromptu photo sets.

The pastel colours of the smallest ball bit, covered in fake giant candy hearts with naughty messages and puns, is where most people make their debut as models. Drinks are not allowed inside the pits, but tipsy visitors prance like children, throwing the balls up in the air and raising their face towards the rainbow plastic rain.

“It’s great to feel like you are a child all over again. We’re adults, we have our jobs, but in places like this we can forget about everything,” said Gul Bozkart, 22, a salesperson who was celebrating her best friend’s birthday. Both held a cocktailed topped with cotton candy.

Tickets for Ballie Ballerson range between £5.50 to £17.50 on Saturdays and cocktails are around £10. Some of them are served in reusable and resealable plastic balls with blinking party lights inside.

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