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July 7, 2010

Corkboard: Baltimore bars with table shuffleboard

the laughing pintDeck shuffleboard is for old people on boats. Table shuffleboard is for young people in bars. 

Table shuffleboard is a game of precision, where, like darts or beer pong, it's all in the wrist.

Dozens of Baltimore bars have shuffleboard. Here's a link to FindLocal's list of six spots with the game.

But where are the best places to play it? ...

Pub Dog has a big shuffleboard table up on its third floor, and I've found myself playing there with friends more than a few times. Since the space is about half the size of the other two floors, all you can do up there is play shuffleboard or stand around and watch other people play shuffleboard. Shuffleboard isn't a second thought, it's the centerpiece.

little havanaThe shuffleboard table at The Laughing Pint in Highlandtown must be several decades old. At one point, it was even hooked up to a vintage electric scoring machine, though I have no idea how it worked. I'm not even sure if it's still connected to the thing or not, but it's fun to play on such an old table.

I also like playing shuffleboard at Little Havana, but the table is in an odd location, sandwiched between the bar and the dining area, and on some nights, it quickly gets too cramped to comfortably play.

Oh, and Don't Know Tavern is another South Baltimore bar with a nice shuffleboard table.

I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface here. Where's your favorite place to play table shuffleboard?

(Baltimore Sun archive photos)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:55 AM | | Comments (29)
Categories: Concert reviews


I know City Limits in Locust Point has a shuffle board table and upstairs at Gin Mill used to as well. I'm not sure if they still do as it's been well over a year since I've been up there.

The Gin Mill is all fancy now I think they got rid of it.

Hands down -- Alexander's Tavern!

Hull Street Blues has a good shuffleboard.

Little Havana!


You must have the Pub Dog table confused with another bar. That table is TINY!

Fun? Of course! But still tiny.

The one in Don't Know is about the size of a bowling alley though; good fun.

Also, Bedrock on Baltimore St. used to have one, but they shut down.

Some roller girl love to Della Rosas - they host our afterparties!

They've got a table near the bar, but with this weather who wants to be inside playing shuffleboard when you can chill on the patio!?

Brad, now that I think about it, you're right, that table isn't full sized. Good call, I edited the post.

There's one at the Mt. Washington Tavern in, well, Mt. Washington.....

I do recall No Idea tavern has a shuffleboard table too

Boats = awesome.

So...old people win. Damn it!

Boats are only awesome if you're rich enough to pay for them or you have a good friend who has one. Otherwise, I'll pass.

@Alessandro- and Ping Pong too!

Yup, they're everywhere. But the next question should be, who has foosball tables? (Or at least foosball tables which aren't broken.) Used to be more around but they seem to be getting fewer and fewer. Looney's is a good spot for it, but on the Federal Hill side I can't think of any which aren't broken or completely gone these days.

@FHT -- Good one. Any ideas, gang?

Last time I checked out the table at Pub Dog ... it was not in good shape, at all. Warped, unsanded, just a mess.

Don't Know and No Idea's are the tops I've seen. But I'm not an aficionado.

@FHT Last time I was at No Idea they had a foosball table too.

Mother's also has one upstairs, but I think they only use that space for private parties now though.

don't know's table is pretty good, as is city limits in locust point.

@Alessandro -Unfortunately No Idea doesn't have a foosball table any longer, it got replaced by a table for television viewing. ahh! the good ole days!

Little Havana has far and away the best shuffleboard table in terms of quality, at least in the sobo area. It's properly beveled on both sides so you can actually hook a curve shot if you're good enough.

But a TON of places on the east side (dundalk, highlandtown, etc) have really nice ones as well with 'vintage' score boards attached to them. The best one I've ever used is at a place called Rudy's in the Severn area - they take really good care of it and have ongoing league play.

My favorite place to play shuffleboard is where I learned how to play with my adopted Irish relatives. It's the dirtiest, grimiest bar in all of Scranton where they deliberately ignore the smoking ban and give you free home cooked Irish food on Parade Day. I can't remember the name for the life of me, and I know it doesn't count, because it's not Baltimore, but really, there's no comparison. I love it.

'round here, I play at Della Rose's after softball/kickball.

Limits!! City Limits has a nice table in a good location - my favorite, plus they make the best Greyhounds! Haven't been to Havana recently but I remember when they put that table in... no one knew what it was so we got to play on it for hours. I was in a shuffleboard league for a few years and they used both these tables and for a little while, Hull Street Blues. They had their table resurfaced a few years ago, which improved things.

Played once at Mt Washington tavern - they have an odd setup - you can't easily access the middle of the table, and it wasn't well lit. But this was a few years ago, things may have improved.

Used to play at Gin Mill but its been a while... too bad they got rid of it.

A few on this list I hadn't heard of so I'll need to check them out.

I just wish No Idea would bring back the 3 for 1 Friday Happy Hour.

I cut my shuffleboard teeth at the old Kavanagh's, which later morphed into Coconuts and is now a restaurant called Waterstone. I had a pal who lived a few doors down from Kavanagh's in the early 9s and we would go for Guinesses and shuffleboard. It was known for being a homicide detective hangout. Pretty singular spot. I miss it like I miss Miss Bonnie's Elvis Bar.

I was born and raised in Baltimore but I recently lived in Chicago for 8 months and just moved home. One of my favorite things about the dive bars in Chicago is that a lot of them have a selection of board games... have you come across any great Baltimore dive bars with the same amenity?

Brittney, Bad Decisions and Ale Mary's, on opposite corners of Fleet & Washington in Fells Point, both have board games. Bad Decisions is more divey and you can get a 'smores martini; Ale Mary's has great mussles. Enjoy!

Thanks, kateebee. I saw this last night but got home too late to post a comment.

Brittney -

Todd Conner's in Fells Pt. also has board games to play. It's a nice bar that doesn't really get packed on weekends and everyone there is pretty friendly.

Laughing Pint has shuffleboard and a massive selection of board and card games. Good times.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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