By now you’ve likely heard of Tang & Biscuit, a shuffleboard facility, that opened in Scott’s Addition. Plenty has been written about it; About how big it is, and how it has 10-lanes, an event space with yard games or how it’s got a 50-foot bar – but I’m not sure anyone has written about what playing the game is actually like. So, I thought I would.
Recently, a group of us got the chance to experience it for ourselves. Just a random Friday night decision to try something new.
We arrived at 9:00pm, parked in the back parking lot, and walked into an already crowded Tang and Biscuit. I mean people from the front door to the back door were playing shuffleboard, cornhole, Jenga or Connect 4. Some were there to watch football, drink at the bar or just eat.
We waited a bit, maybe 10-minutes, for a lane to clear from the previous players. We then received our biscuits: four yellow and four black and were sent on our way.
None of us remembered how this game was played but a Lane Captain was sent over to give us the low-down on how it was supposed to be done. It was loud and I tuned out, so I just trusted that someone in my group paid attention and went along with what they did before realizing there’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet at each of the shuffleboard lanes. The laminated card is written like airline safety instructions; it’s got an illustration with step by step details and rules on what you’re supposed to do.
Similar to Cornhole, Horseshoes or Bocce, two players (opponents) are on one side of the lane while their partners are on the other side of the lane. All eight of the biscuits (pucks), yours and your opponents, are lined up in the bottom part of the triangle that is painted on each end of the lane. You shoot from there, taking turns pushing it to the opposite triangle and trying to drift it into the scoring zones.
Now here’s the deal: while the puck slides easily, there’s a finesse to it. Too hard and you’re smacking the back wall. Too soft and the puck is landing in the dead zone. You’ve got to get it just right to land it in the triangle. And when it gets there, it can’t touch a line or it doesn’t count. You also can’t land in the widest part of the triangle (the Kitchen) or you lose 10 points.
You can strategize and hit your own puck to get it into scoring zones, like a combo in pool, or do the same to play defense and push your opponent’s biscuit off the scoreboard. Kinda awesome and you can see where it gets beyond competitive.
We ordered drinks while we played. Most of us had beer but some did the Tangtails; Tang & Biscuits’ signature drink which is Tang powder mixed with various liquors and served in a cute lightbulb. You have to do it – because it’s part of the experience, but Tang is definitely an acquired taste. I’ll just leave it at that.
And, let’s face it shuffleboard is a game you can play while holding a tang (stick) in one hand and a Tang cocktail in the other. In fact, I would argue that I played even better once I did.
Because you have the lane for an hour your party of four can play several games while scoring yourselves on a chalkboard. Or, you can bring extra friends and play them when you move on and want to give other people a chance to experience it.
There is food to order. It was pretty good bar food but it did take a while to get it. Like, we were almost done by the time it arrived, we were told that was a fluke.
Like I said – the place was packed, and it’s so bright and cheery in there it’s hard not to stop and glance around at everything while you’re playing. I do think my favorite part was seeing so many different kinds of people having fun. Really it was a mix of young, old, black, white, families and singles and on and on. And yeah – it was just fun. Fun putting my phone down and just doing something together as a group. It feels bonding and indoctrinating.
Since it was a weekend the lane time was $50 an hour; divided by four that’s not too pricey. I’m pretty sure that’s cheaper than taking four people bowling – still costly if you add drinks and food, but I’d definitely go back.