The Royal Palms: Starting A Shuffleboard Club In Gowanus


NO. 6

The Royal Palms

Starting A Shuffleboard Club In Gowanus

Anyone looking to open a massive shuffleboard club—and more or less launch the sport in Brooklyn—should take the game seriously. Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club owners Jonathan Schnapp and Ashley Albert go above and beyond. In between ongoing renovations at their cavernous Gowanus space, they not only found time to compete in the shuffleboard world championships in Florida this past October, but held their own: Albert is now ranked 68th in the world, and Schnapp 82nd. (Albert makes sure to note that Schnapp actually won more games; the sport’s just more competitive for men.)

“We never wanted to be a bar with a shuffleboard court in it—we wanted to be a shuffleboard club with a bar in it,” says Schnapp, who grew up playing the game during visits to his grandparents in Florida. After two years in the works, endless construction, finding investors “$50,000 at a time,” and a wildly popular Kickstarter campaign, Royal Palms will open its doors in January. Opening a shuffleboard club was ambitious, but more than anything Schnapp and Albert want to create a neighborhood cornerstone. “We want it to be a place you can come every week, not once a year,” Schnapp says. “Even cheaper than bowling.” They’re also committed to staying on theme, from the Floridian decor (you know it when you see it) to the tropical-leaning bar menu, made up of things Albert says “taste like vacation.” She laughs. “We also bought, though we haven’t quite decided what to do with it yet.”

Seems like a safe investment, given the response to their Kickstarter (“We thought it’d just be a way to get extra money, but we found ourselves tearing up during the process. It was a surprisingly emotional experience,” Albert says) and the insistent hype building up Gowanus as Brooklyn’s Next Big Neighborhood. “If we could pick the bar up and put it down wherever we wanted,” Schnapp says, “we’d put it right on this block.”

514 Union Street, Gowanus

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