The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club Opens in Bucktown, Get Schooled on How to Play
BUCKTOWN — The NYC-based Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club opened its second location in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood on Thursday night.
At 1750 N. Milwaukee Ave. on the border of Bucktown and Wicker Park, the 21-and-over club offers walk-in shuffleboard on 10 courts, for $40/hour on a first-come, first-served basis. An 11th court on the rooftop of the club’s century-old building will open at a later date.
Four people play at a time, so the hourly rate of $40 for the court breaks down to $10/person with four shufflers. (Players who are registered for the Monday or Tuesday night leagues can practice for free on non-league nights.)
In shuffleboard, two opposing teams of two use cues (Royal Palms calls the long aluminum poles “tangs”) to push weighted discs or pucks (or “biscuits”) down a narrow and long court.
The goal is to get the biscuits to rest within a marked scoring area, without touching the black line. If the biscuit touches the line, there are zero points. When the biscuit stays inside the lines, it gets the amount of points as the box its in, i.e. 10, 8 or 7.
Scores are kept on a chalkboard. There are 8 frames per game and players will get through approximately three 8-frame games during an hour on the court.
Players want to avoid “The Kitchen,” which is the bottom-most part of the pyramid shaped scoring area and marked by the words “10 Off.” If a biscuit lands inside the kitchen, the damage is negative 10 points. This explains the cautionary “Don’t send a dead biscuit to the kitchen” which is painted along the sides of the courts.
Prior to playing, servers give everyone on the court a lesson, so they can learn TRPSC way — including an important house rule: do not walk on the court.
The drink menu offers tropical cocktails named after shuffleboard champions and Hall of Famers like Earl Ball, draft beer, white wine, red wine, prosecco, rose and cider.
Rotating visits by food trucks, board games like Connect Four and DJs round out the experience.
For opening week, food truck Aztec Dave’s will sell pastor, chicken and steak tacos (three for $8) as well as chips and salsa and other items. There is no need to go outside for food; a loading dock allows the truck to park with its window facing inside the building.
For those seeking a more regular relationship with the sport, there will be weekly leagues on Monday and Tuesday nights beginning on April 9.
Hours are 5 p.m.-midnight Monday-Friday; noon - 2 a.m. Saturday; and noon-10 p.m. Sunday. For more info, visit TRPSC’s website or follow Royal Palms on Facebook , Twitter @RoyalPalmsClub or Instagram at @royalpalmschicago.