If you want to take on Royal Palms‘ shuffleboard courts in Gowanus, not only do you need to be surprisingly agile and focused – you also have to be very, very prompt.

Ryan and I headed there on Sunday at 1pm – just an hour after it opened – and there was already an hour’s wait. While they were holding an event that likely boosted numbers, this isn’t the first time we’ve had this problem: a few weeks ago, we stuck our heads in the door at 7pm and learned we’d have at least a few hours to wait – if we got a game at all.

So in the grand scheme of things, an hour seemed pretty good. We took it – and busied ourselves with beers and Connect 4 until it was our turn.

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Royal Palms popped up in Gowanus less than a year ago and already it’s one of the most popular spots in the area. Gowanus might look like a swath of warehouses stretching between Park Slope and a stinkin’ Superfund site, but there are some gems among it: great events spaces at The Bell House and Littlefield and amazing vegetarian fare at the Pickle Shack, for example. (There are plenty of oddities too, not least the Morbid Anatomy Museum.) And even though it looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere, it’s deceptively easy to get to, which is handy if you fancy a game of shuffleboard.

When it was our turn, we were given a quick lesson in the rules. Using a cue, you push the discs to the other end of the board and try to land on one of the numbers – but if it touches any of the lines, it’s an automatic zero. There’s also a cheeky section at the farthest edge of the board that scores you a MINUS 10. Each player/team has four discs per ‘frame’. Eight frames complete a game.

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Ryan and I found it harder than it looked. One shot would fall short and then the teensiest bit more force sent the discs hurtling off the back of the board.

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I ultimately had more luck than Ryan and whooped his ass. That and I definitely took more joy in knocking his discs off the board.

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The hour whizzed by and it was serious fun – the perfect Sunday afternoon date but also ideal for bigger groups for a night out. As long as you can bear the wait!

(And if you don’t get a court, it’s still a fun space to grab some beers and admire the Florida-themed decor, including in the loos.)

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Royal Palms is at 514 Union Street in Brooklyn. It’s closed on Mondays, but open 6pm-12am Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6pm-2am Thursdays and Fridays, 12pm-2am Saturdays, and 12pm-12am Sundays. It costs $40 for a court for an hour (for the whole court, not per person), and there’s a bar and a taco truck too. You can only reserve courts for 10 people or more – for more info on reservations, see here.

Oh and that’s another thing ticked off my ’30 Before 30′ list!

514 Union Street

Brooklyn, NY 11215

(347) 223-4410