We won’t lie. We were a tad skeptical when we first heard about Royal Palms, the shuffleboard bar that opened in Bucktown in March. Was this just another hipster hang centered around an obscure activity performed solely for the sake of its obscurity? Shuffleboard? Really?
But we were wrong: Royal Palms is super fun. When we arrived on Saturday evening, ’80s music and dozens of people filled the massive space, imbuing the bar with a high school dance vibe. There was more than an hour wait to slide those weighted discs across the floor, so in the meantime, folks sipped cocktails, grabbed grub from indoor food trucks, played Connect 4 and Jenga in the back, and chatted with the Hawaiian shirt–clad staff (the nicest we’ve met in a while).
End up falling in love with shuffleboard? Royal Palms hosts a 120-team league for enthusiasts—but the waitlist is 60 teams long. Clearly, Chicago’s been awaiting the sport’s arrival for some time and we just didn’t know it.
Here’s what we saw when we stopped by: