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Confirmed: Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club Is Coming To Gowanus

Brush up on your biscuits and tangs, owners are in final negotiations for a lease.

Dust off your polos and pedal pushers. After on a rumored shuffleboard club said to be planning a 17,000-square-foot home in Gowanus, Carroll Gardens Patch has received confirmation the whispers are true.

It even has a name: Royal Palms.

Founders Jonathan Schnapp and Ashley Albert reached out to Patch to spill more details and explain the genesis of the future game hall.

"My grandparents used to live in Century Village in West Palm Beach, Florida," said Schnapp. "Every summer we would drive 26 hours down from Westchester. And I have great memories of being there, going to the pool and playing shuffleboard."

Fast forward 30 years. After observing a resurgence in bocce ball, skeeball and ping pong around the city, Schnapp wondered if people might similarly respond his own childhood pastime.

A web developer and NYU professor by trade, he decided to do some reconnaissance with Albert—herself, a voiceover actress and lead singer of kindie-rock band The Jimmies—on a pilgrimage to Mirror Lake, perhaps the most iconic shuffleboard club in the country, located in St. Petersburg.

Built in the 1920s and featured in the movie Cocoon, the Mirror Lake Shuffleboard Club houses 32 lighted courts (65 total) and a grandstand for spectating. Royal Palms seeks to be equally sublime. 

"We’re trying to do something very 1970s Palm Beach," said Schnapp, "evoking that time when Florida meant Disney World and the Little Orange Bird, and there was something really special about it."

To that end, Bingo and Mahjong nights may eventually be sprinkled throughout the event calendar. Schnapp told Patch he plans to feature live music in the vein of "what  does," such as a lounge singer with a piano or barbershop quartets, "something more acoustic and charming, that would bring up the level of energy in the place."

Refreshments will be supplied by a rotating line of food trucks. "We've got enough space that a truck could drive directly inside," said Schnapp. "So the idea is we will hopefully have a different one every night. Food as programming, in a way."

Owners assure that the experience won't cost visitors an arm and a leg. "There’s no machinery, no monitors or moving equipment required for shuffleboard," said Schnapp. "So we can offer entertainment for less than half of what it costs to go bowling."

Instead, he hopes that the club will become a weekly part of the community's social life, from schoolchildren to senior citizens.

"One of the great things about shuffleboard is that anyone can play," he said. "Sure we can market towards 20-, 30- and 40-year-olds, but there are several retirement communities nearby and the idea that those people can come and probably beat the crap out of the whipper snappers—I’d just love to see that."

But in order for that mental image to become a reality, owners said the priority right now is finalizing their lease and securing investors to help fund their dream.

"There's really nowhere else where you would be able to do this," said Schnapp. In fact, it will be the first shuffleboard club in New York City.

Interested parties can contact Royal Palms at biscuits@royalpalmsshuffle.com

Kerry Yi May 02, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Just add beer, and this will be a hit.
Joanna Prisco May 18, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Hey folks, just a reminder to keep comments clean.
k June 29, 2012 at 01:56 PM
This is going to be on Union street between Third and Nevins. Residents there (including myself) are already furious about it, including the likely very noisy rooftop bar they're proposing on what has been a quiet block for many years..
Joanna Prisco June 29, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Hi K, I saw the posters taped up along Union Street and have reached out to the owners for a response to some of the noise concerns. Expect an update early next week! - JP
williamdavid July 03, 2012 at 02:41 AM
If I was investing in this place I would run as away as fast as possible, I know some of those people in Gowanus and they are strongly against this theme bar, they have pooled people and money and are really gearing up, I really think the bar owners would be better off near the Bell House.

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