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June 24, 2008

Beer pong or Beirut revisited

beer pongMidnight Sun has evolved a lot in the year since it started.

We've got a whole new squad of commenters since the early days. And I'd like to take another look at some posts from months past.  

Looking back through the archives, I hit upon one of the most popular topics on Midnight Sun: the ages-old discussion of whether to call the classic college drinking game beer pong or Beirut.

Here's a link to the original post.

What do you guys think?

Is it a regional thing?

A class thing?

(Photo by Kim Hairston/Sun Photographer) 



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Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:00 PM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


I've always called it "beer pong" since my days at UNC (thankfully not too long ago). I still call it beer pong, as do all the Baltimore people I've played with.

But, after reading the original comments, I would agree that it seems to make sense to have another name - such as Beiruit - since the "northern" beer pong is played with paddles. If anyone has seen the movie Beerfest, they play the weird paddle game.

Still... I can't buck a lifelong habit. Beer pong it is and will ever be.

Ran out of material, hm? Let's just get some more pictures of your thumb and call it a day.

"What would you like to talk about next? My favorite color?" - Col. Nathan Jessup

Beer pong is the generic name and encompasses all versions, except Beirut.

Beirut is very specific - one ball, no rebounds, take cups from the back row. If you have two balls, or take the cup you hit without reforming the rack, its beer pong.

Uh yeah I'm not from it's not Beirut...

It's beer pong or maybe 6 cup but it's not Beirut...

As far as I can tell - my friends who went North for college call the game beirut, those of us that went south call it beer pong. I don't see how it could be called anything other than Beer Pong - unless you have one on your team or on the other side of the table, there are no Lebanese involved.

OK- I think it is safe to say that Beer Pong and Beirut are the same thing. Maybe the names are different.

And I am sure that one of my frat friends at my snobby university came up with the name. Beirut references the bombing of Beirut...and actually, it wasn't too long ago that we had a discussion on whether or not we should continue with the name...but then there was turmoil over there Beirut it is...and will always be for my crew.


Beer Pong is played with a paddles. Plus historically it was created in the early 80's during the first conflict in Lebanon. The game is more reminiscent to artillery than the game ping pong.

There may be more people calling it "beer pong" but they would still be wrong.


I think the entire controversy should be put to bed by convening a council to standardize the rules and formalize a name. Get representatives from the north and south to weigh in, define rules and table dimensions and avoid sticky issues that will plague future generations.

The delegation from Maryland humbly submits the game once known as Beirut/Beer Pong be henceforth called, "Balls in Beer."

I am surprised there aren't any Wikipedia copy/pastes from GDA on this. Or maybe he/she/it are on vacation with Sam. Or maybe he/she/it is Sam.


When is particular subject came up in March, it didn't particularly interest me.

But just for you, there two, yes two, sites worth a look.

First, that crowd pleasing source Wikipedia:
Who keeps things interesting citing it is also called "Lob Pong".

Second,, who post rules for playing, their preference is the west coast rules, but others are presented:
You are invited to submit your own, though

Late additions, slightly off point.
A spiffy poster with a clever motto found at

A YouTube clip of guy who is really good with bravado, like a showman Poolplayer:

I think I'll play lob pong this weekend. Then I can add my own rules and tell opponents that's how I have always played Lob Pong.

It is most definitly called beer pong everywhere except NE... because i was so recently playing with people from chicago, and PA they called it beer pong, and thats what it is I dont give a [crap] about paddles and sh** no one plays it any more! so who cares.. - WV mountaineers!!!!!!!!

what a waste of good beer...

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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