Workers are making their rounds inside the empty warehouse at Milwaukee and Leavitt, the site of the Chicago location of Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club. This is the Midwest follow-up to Royal Palms’ original space that opened three years ago in Brooklyn. Owners Jonathan Schnapp and Ashley Albert are world-ranked shuffleboard players hoping to open their second club in January or February at 1760 N. Milwaukee Avenue. in Bucktown.
On a given weekend night in Brooklyn, customers sip kegged cocktails or beer from the bar and watch sporting events while waiting for a shuffleboard court to open up. The rules are printed on the court, though after three years of use, some of the words are worn out. They’ve got 17,000 square feet and two bars at New York club. Schnapp said the Chicago location will be just as large. Royal Palm isn’t a place to take children. They have a strict 21+ policy. They did not want the venue to be dominated by strollers.
The food service is confined to a corner of the building in New York. Royal Palms has a pick-up window with a dock for food trucks to serve their patrons. Schnapp said he’d like to work a similar set-up in Chicago and is looking for local food truck operators.
Schnapp wants to share his love for the sport but knows not everyone is as competitive as he is. However, there is one thing he is a stickler for: Players shouldn’t walk on the playing court. Schanpp said he wants to respect the game and they need to maintain a certain level of decorum. To him, shuffleboard isn’t just an activity to distract patrons from their drinks. He bites his lip each time he sees a guest ignore the house rules and casually stroll into the middle of the court to retrieve a puck. The frustration builds and he excuses himself from the conversation to politely remind the guests to keep their feet off the playing surface.
Royal Palms could benefit from a video PSA warning guests about etiquette, but it’s not that complicated. All players can get a five-minute lesson to teach them the game. Schnapp and Albert will share more information on their project in the coming weeks as construction continues. Keep it here for updates.