How to WhirlyBall in Edmonds (and... What Is It?)
Let's get Whirlybuggin' 🐞
November 16, 2022
📸: WhirlyBall of Washington
Whether your friend group is a close-knit unit or a mishmash of people with one common connection (you), playing “WhirlyBall” is an equalizer. The game combines elements of lacrosse, basketball, and bumper cars on a specialized low voltage, open circuit electrified floor. It’s got a lot of moving parts (a pun, sorry), and everyone starts on an even playing field. Just a 25-minute drive from Seattle, Edmonds is home to one of the thirty-ish courts across the U.S. and Canada.
Join us on a little trip up north? 🥍🏎️💨
First, a snack 🥐
It can be inconvenient or even panic-inducing when hunger strikes and you’re in a new neighborhood. WhirlyBall is located just off a busy, industrial stretch of Highway 99—so if you do need to make a pit stop for a pre-game snack, go to 85°C Bakery Cafe’s Edmonds location. This Taiwanese bakery chain serves up coffee, tea, sweet carbs, and savory carbs. The marble taro bun is their top seller. Try the elote bun or the soft bread-wrapped cheese dog to satisfy a bigger craving. Top your tea with boba, or double up with coffee or lychee jelly.
And a pro tip: Don’t sleep on the Hokkaido cheese tarts if they have them!
📍 85°C Bakery Cafe: 22611 76th Ave W, #100, Edmonds
Open Wednesday – Sunday 9 am – 8 pm; closed Monday and Tuesday.
Play (Whirly)ball 🎾
WhirlyBall—”the world’s only totally mechanized team sport“—has been around since the 1960s. Teams of five work together to launch a pickleball through hoops on either side of the court. You’ll steer your Whirlybug 360° with one hand and handle the ball via a scoop in the other.
There are rules, of course. Ramming into another Whirlybug from behind is a 2 to 8-point penalty, depending on how fast you were going. Half-court shots are 5 points each. A friendly WhirlyBall referee will guide you through gameplay. They can also coordinate tournament-style play for larger groups. You’ll need to wrangle at least 10 people to reserve a court.
There is plenty to keep a large group occupied between rounds: get amped on air hockey, foosball, and other arcade games that fill the courtside lounge.
To feed a crowd, order a hand-made pizza: the dough is made from scratch daily; kitchen-tested and approved vegan and gluten-free options are available. Choose from a selection of local and specialty beers or Jones Soda to wash it all down.
Pricing depends on how long you reserve the court, and for how many people. Sundays are the most affordable days for small groups: one hour of gameplay for up to 10 is $219. Three hours for 21-25 people will run you $657.
📍 WhirlyBall: 23401 Hwy 99, Edmonds
Open daily by reservation Monday – Saturday 11 am to midnight; Sunday 12 pm – 10 pm
Hot Tip: League play 🏑
Unfortunately, WhirlyBall can’t accommodate walk-ins—but you can join one of their leagues! On Tuesday nights, their Beginner Leagues start at 6:30 pm. Move on to advanced and intermediate leagues on Monday nights when you’re ready to up the ante.
Cheers—you deserve it 🍻
Head into beachy downtown Edmonds for your requisite post-game cheers—local purveyor Salish Sea Brewing pours rotating and seasonal taps of fresh beer. Fog on the Bay is their house hazy ale, hopped with citra, mosaic, and galaxy hops. The bready Boathouse Kolsch is super drinkable, and the Cherry Wheat is a refreshing, fruity option for the beer-averse.
Both taprooms are family-friendly. Go to the brewpub if your group is on the hungry side. The made-to-order kitchen has a robust menu with yummy mains like mac & (beer) cheese (!!!) and an 8 oz Salish Burger. The Boathouse has more seating, making it a better choice for bigger groups. Shareable snacks dominate here: split the artichoke flatbread, smoked oysters, and dry-rubbed wings. Take a short walk down to Olympic Beach afterward to catch the sunset 🌅
📍 Salish Sea Brewing Co. & Restaurant: 518 Dayton St #104, Edmonds
Open daily 11 am – 10 pm
📍 Salish Sea Brewing Co. Boathouse Taproom: 180 W Dayton St Suite 102, Edmonds
Open Wednesday and Thursday 3 pm – 10 pm, Friday – Sunday 12 pm-10 pm; closed Monday and Tuesday.
Meghna leads with her curiosity when writing about travel, food, and beverages. She previously wrote about cookbooks at Kitchen Arts & Letters, and has managed events & communications at Book Larder, Peddler Brewing Company, and Cascade Bicycle Club. She is newly pescatarian and a Seattle native. Follow along at @wanderingthali.