Advertisement
  1. Bars & Breweries

St. Petersburg inspires hip New York shuffleboard club

The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club will have 10 separate courts for the famous Florida pastime.
Published Jan. 22, 2014

St. Petersburg has inspired the hippest thing to hit Brooklyn. The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club debuts Monday with 10 courts dedicated to the fabled Florida pastime, featuring cocktails named for St. Pete shuffleboard luminaries.

Royal Palms co-owner Jonathan Schnapp, 41, experienced a revelation two Christmases ago at the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club in Mirror Lake.

"It was magical: Hipsters and jocks and nerds and kids and old people all playing shuffleboard," he remembers. "I thought this would be incredible in Brooklyn."

So what for years has been a punchline to umpteen retirement jokes now will be celebrated in a former die-cutting facility on trendy Union Street. Indoor shuffleboard is just the latest in a series of New York bars where craft cocktails meet nostalgic recreation (bocce ball at Union Hall, skeeball at Full Circle, Susan Sarandon's ping-pong emporia called SPiN, which almost came to St. Pete), but Schnapp and partner Ashley Albert, 40, have come by their latest enthusiasm honestly.

Growing up in Westchester County, Schnapp would visit his grandparents every winter in West Palm's Century Village.

"My parents would drop us off there and we'd spend the week playing shuffleboard. I was supposed to go to Miami two years ago, and I did research and found out the world's largest shuffleboard club was in St. Pete."

Before driving across Alligator Alley, he called the club and Christine Page answered. Not only the president of the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, Christine Page is also a Royal Palms cocktail featuring aged rum, Luxardo cherries, grapefruit juice and lime juice.

"I think I sound absolutely delicious," says Page, who is surprised by the honor but sees herself as more of a bourbon-centric Old Fashioned or Manhattan gal. After Schnapp's St. Pete epiphany, Page became a sounding board to the New Yorkers.

"She was our link to the shuffleboard community," Schnapp says.

After raising money from friends and family, it started to come together: palm tree decor, swimming-pool blue courts in a Benjamin Moore color called Tropicana Cabana and cocktails named after shuffleboard legends like Jim Allen (son of "the King of Shuffleboard," Sam Allen).

The only part that might disconcert longtime St. Pete shufflers is the price. Annual membership at the 90-year-old club in St. Pete is $30 per person, though Friday night shuffles are free. At Royal Palms, court rental for a single evening can run $40, but that's New York real estate.

Time will tell whether Brooklyn hipsters will embrace "sending the biscuit," but one thing Schnapp knows for sure:

"My whole life would be very, very different if I hadn't been to St. Pete."

Laura Reiley can be reached at lreiley@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2293. Times staff writer Jay Cridlin contributed to this report.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Two of the creative drinks are the Loaded Bear Claw and the Blame it on the Juice. Photo courtesy of Geneva Johnson
    The venue near USF features the creative cocktails and drink specials needed for a go-to college bar. | Bar review
  2. Nov. 7• Arts & Entertainment
    Lullaby Rye Courtesy of Geneva Johnson
    The unique tasting-room selection should help raise a brewery’s profile. | Local craft beer of the week
  3. Oct. 31• Arts & Entertainment
    Bike Trail Pale Ale Courtesy of Eric Richardson
    St. Pete brewery taps into the lighter side of ale. | Local craft beer of the week
  4. Oct. 31• Arts & Entertainment
    Cowboy Corral Bar & Grill is a good spot for enjoying truly cheap drinks, playing pool or watching the race on Sundays. The Clearwater bar has a cozy dining area and offers a full menu filled with Tex-Mex fare. Photo courtesy of Geneva Johnson
    Cowboy Corral Bar & Grill brings a little faux Texas to town. | Bar review
  5. Hard Pumpkin Cider, Two Henrys Brewing Company Justin Grant  |  tbt*
    The Plant City product drinks like a spiced cider with a side of pumpkin pie. | Local craft beer of the week
  6. SpookEasy Lounge is in a room above The Stone Soup Company. Photos courtesy of Geneva Johnson
    Tampa’s booze-free bar spills the tea on kava and kratom. | Bar review
  7. At The Tiki Cove, you don’t need too much imagination to place your mind and mood at an actual beach. JUSTIN GRANT  |  Justin Grant
    The Tiki Cove is a Florida-only novelty that anyone passing through will be sure to enjoy. | Bar review
  8. Try I Am The Walrus Berliner Weisse ib draft at Hidden Springs Ale Works, or look for it in cans at your local quality beer shop. JUSTIN GRANT  |  Justin Grant
    This is Florida, so some of our autumn brews fall outside the paradigm. | Local beer of the week
  9. Oct. 10• Arts & Entertainment
    Wedge Cut American Wheat Ale, Cigar City Brewing Justin Grant  | tbt*
    The Tampa brewery scores again with the limited-release Wedge Cut. | Craft beer of the week
  10. 7th + Grove is split into two discrete spaces. The corner space is a bright and upbeat restaurant. Next door is the club. Courtesy of Ashley Canay and Ashley Meyer
    With Southern cuisine, strong cocktails and DJ-led events, the club and restaurant lives up to its motto: “Eat. Vibe. Flourish.” | Bar review
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement