10/20/14 10:00am
© Clay Williams / http://claywilliamsphoto.com

These bottles lining the back bar of the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club contain barrel-aged Barr Hill Gin, soon to debut in a cocktail called The Bee’s Knees. Photo: Clay Williams

Bar: The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
Bartender: Tim Judge
Favorite mixers of the moment: Falernum, coconut water
What he drinks when he’s not working: French wine

Before the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club opened in Gowanus, shuffleboard was an activity you associated with Florida retirement homes. Now Royal Palms is one of the hottest spots in South Brooklyn, best known for its sprawling shuffleboard courts, but it also has one of the borough’s most sophisticated cocktail programs. Designed by general manager Tim Judge, a longtime South Brooklyn resident who previously co-owned Sweetwolf’s in Park Slope, the cocktails are all “vacation-inspired,” but they are also heavy on craft, employing homemade syrups and small-batch spirits, some of which they’re barrel-aging themselves.

“When I first tasted [Vermont-based] Barr Hill Gin, which is essentially an old Tom gin that’s finished with the farm’s raw honey, I was curious what a heavy charred barrel would offer. So we gave it a try,” Tim said. “This gin is made from mostly juniper whose flavor tastes fantastic after some time in wood. It changes the color and complexity wonderfully.”

The gin, which Tim started barreling in February, will debut soon in a cocktail called The Bee’s Knees. He’s also using the same barrels to age mezcal, adding Luxardo marischino liqueur and Chartreuse for a drink called The Last Word. Using the same barrels for the gin and the mezcal means that you’ll be able to taste the background notes of juniper in the aged mezcal cocktail; the aging also downplays the sometimes-overwhelming smokiness of the mezcal.

Judge recently invited Brooklyn Based to a tasting and made our heads spin with selections from the Royal Palms’ curated cocktail list. We asked him to spill a few of his craft secrets. (more…)

10/01/14 11:23am
Don't let the name Screaming Females fool you. Marissa Paternoster lets her guitar do the screaming for her. They play the Knitting Factory Saturday. Photo: Sean O'Kane

Don’t let the name Screaming Females fool you. Marissa Paternoster lets her guitar do the screaming for her. They play the Knitting Factory Saturday. Photo: Sean O’Kane

Welcome to October, the one time of year when slasher films and pumpkin everything become the norm. It seems only right that Comic Con should roll into town this month, along with a new offshoot starting Friday called New York Super Week. Billed as a pop culture festival, it seems to be a good excuse to tie together all the quirky programming across the city, from Punderdome at Galapagos to a taxidermy talk at the Museum of Morbid Anatomy (not to be confused with the Rogue Taxidermy Fair at the Bell House on Sunday, where you can see animals that never occur in nature). If you still need a plan for tonight, you have two potential celebrity sightings: Ethan Hawke will be at “Ask Me Another,” and at BookCourt, Martin Amis will read from his black comedy, Zone of Interest, which no German publisher will touch because it’s set in a concentration camp.

Clearly, October is off to a good start. Here are seven more ways to spend a weird and wonderful week in Brooklyn. (more…)

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09/30/14 8:57am
Practicing archery is actually surprisingly relaxing. Photo: Brooklyn Based

Practicing archery is actually surprisingly relaxing. Photo: Brooklyn Based

Welcome to Date Night, our new monthly series where we suggest a date that will shake up your night out routine. Whether or not it’s the kind of date that might end up between the sheets is entirely up to you–we’re just here to tell you about a good time that’s ready to be had somewhere in Brooklyn. 

The date: My new favorite night out with my husband is a trip to Gotham Archery in Gowanus, followed by dinner somewhere in the neighborhood (he favors Dinosaur BBQ, my vote is for Littleneck). If you really wanted to gild the lily, you could even follow dinner with a barrel-aged cocktail and a round of shuffleboard at The Royal Palms (or check their food truck schedule for dinner options there), and then a cone at Ample Hills. But let’s start simple.

If archery sounds like something that will make you feel frustrated and grumpy and un-datelike, take it from me, it won’t. I am the world’s worst sport at doing new things that I’m not good at, and I’m also competitive, and married to someone who is great at target shooting. I was sure the whole archery experiment would end in tears, or at the very least, bickering. Instead, it was mellow and fun and left me wanting to go back.  (more…)

01/23/14 12:39pm

Last night we got a sneak peek at the soon-to-open Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Gowanus. They don’t have a hard open date yet (expect to wait another week to 10 days), but we can report that even on an icy night it feels like a seaside resort inside. Boats drinks, comfy cabanas and shuffleboard lanes galore. See you on the court!


UPDATE: This just in–the Royal Palms is opening up slots in a Tuesday night shuffleboard league after their Monday night league sold out. Sign up now–this is sure to fill up quickly.

01/16/14 2:17pm
Royal Palms owners Jonathan Schnapp and Ashley Albert before their collection of vintage biscuit baskets (there's a lot to love about the lingo of this sport). Photo: Phillip Van Nostrand

Royal Palms owners Jonathan Schnapp and Ashley Albert before their collection of vintage biscuit baskets (there’s a lot to love about the lingo of this sport). Photo: Phillip Van Nostrand

UPDATE: The free tickets went in a jiffy but we have a good feeling we’ll be able to offer more. Stay tuned.

If you still don’t know how much fun you can have with a biscuit and a tang, The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club is about to introduce you to your new favorite sport. While the official opening is still a few weeks away, Brooklyn Based subscribers can get a special sneak peak next Wednesday, Jan. 22, when The Royal Palms invites us for a night of free shuffleboard from 7-11pm.

The club has been hosting a few of these preview events for their Facebook fans as they prepare to open in early February. “So many people we haven’t met before have been following this journey through Facebook. We wanted to thank them for supporting us and being part of this community,” says Jonathan Schnapp, one half of the brains behind The Royal Palms. He and co-owner Ashley Albert came up with the concept during a trip to Florida in 2011, where a visit to The Mirror Lake Shuffleboard Club in St. Petersburg inspired them to bring the game of many Floridians up north. Like everyone else, we’ve been anxiously awaiting this opening. And after checking out their first preview event, we can officially say: you’re gonna have a lot of fun sliding biscuits and tossing back drinks here.

Through their earnestness and enthusiasm, and the sheer uniqueness of opening a shuffleboard club in New York, they amassed an all-star roster of architects, designers and a construction team whose shared portfolio includes The Standard, Marc Jacob’s house and many other fancy places. “All these incredible people jumped on board to be a part of it, better people than we thought we deserved, and made it the beautiful place that it is,” says Schnapp.

The Royal Palms staff will be at the ready to explain the game next Wednesday. Photo: Phillip Van Nostrand

The Royal Palms staff will be at the ready to explain the game next Wednesday. Photo: Phillip Van Nostrand

It’s not over the top though–you will not feel like someone dropped a Miami nightclub in the middle of Gowanus, though you will feel a little warmer and more festive inside thanks to the strings of globe lights, black and white cabanas, 10 turquoise shuffleboard courts, and the rotating selection of food trucks.

Most importantly, you will be thankful that snowbirds no longer have a monopoly on this pastime. It’s a very social game, more like bocce than bowling, and since teammates play on opposite sides of the court, you’ll likely spend a large amount of time talking to and befriending one of your competitors. The appeal is so strong, its Monday night league is already fully subscribed, with 60 teams of six players each, and there’s a waiting list in the works for a possible Tuesday night league.

“I just love to see people getting really into the game,” says Schnapp.

We’d love to see you on these gorgeous courts, too, so be sure to RSVP for our free night of shuffleboard at The Royal Palms next Wednesday (there’s just 200 spots, so do it quick!). The game takes a minute to learn, and many biscuits to master, so let’s get started together.

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