Everyday we’re shuffling at Picture House Social
Picture House Social’s epic gig room has gone through a mighty transformation over the course of lockdown and is looking unrecognisably resplendent in its new guise as the city’s first ever dedicated shuffleboard bar.
The all-new Shuffle Shack, which is set to open this August, boasts four full-size shuffleboard ‘decks’, a bar serving old school classic cocktails (think Sex on the Beach and Miami Vice’s – holiday vibes), as well as a range of American beers, arcade machines, a fussball table and amazing artwork splashed across the walls courtesy of local artistic geometrist, Rob Lee.
Some of you at this point might be thinking, ‘yeah, sounds great, but what’s shuffleboard? Well, allow us to enlighten you as we talked tang and biscuits with Picture House Social owner and Sheffield’s premiere shuffleboard expert (not an official title, he just knows more than we do!), James O’Hara.
The first thing we learn is that ‘deck shuffleboard’ is basically ‘curling without ice’, according to James. Two players, or teams, take it in turns to push a small puck called a biscuit down the deck using a cue called a tang. The aim is to land the biscuit within a triangular target to score points.
However, jeopardy awaits, as if you push too hard and the tang shoots off the end of the deck, you stand to lose ten of your hard-earned points. Something, we’re told, is quite easy to do thanks to small silicon ‘speed beads’ on the surface of the deck, although we wonder if this is more of an excuse for deficiencies in James’ shuffleboard game!
Once you’ve all shuffled down the deck, you pop down the other end, tot up your points, and shuffle back down the way you came. First to 75 points wins. Got it?… Good.
While they’ve loved putting on live music in the space, changing its use has long been an ambition for the Rockingham Group, who also own city-centre bars Public and Gatsby.
“One of the things we’ve always wanted to do with the big room in Picture House was to do something like a big game,” explains James. “Obviously, we’ve always used the room for live music, but when we took it over, we actually got it measured up for ten pin bowling. Turned out, it was just too small and so it got put on the back burner.”
“When lockdown began, it gave us a chance to take a step back and look at the different businesses in more of a measured way, and it reminded us why we’d created the businesses in the first place.”
“With Picture House, we decided to follow through with what we’d originally wanted to do and make something exciting, and something that’s just really good fun. Something not pretentious, that families can come to, and that’s inclusive and a laugh to do. We found shuffleboard, played it, got hooked, and it’s all we ever do now when we’re meant to be coming to work!”
Once the idea was in place, they assembled their crack team of local bar creators to bring the concept to life. Rocket Design, Newphase LED and DP House Decorating set about taking it in turns, tag team style due to social distancing, to make somewhere special for the city. Local artists Oli Frape and Rob Lee then added the striking finishing touches with the logo (Frape) and trippy murals (Lee).
“We kind of had a laugh going through our influences for it, which is why it’s very much got a Studio 54 and disco vibe,” admits James, “The playlists are all disco. It’s essentially just a big, daft, fun place to have a laugh.”
The venue has been more or less finished for a while now, but they have held off the opening until restrictions are fully lifted to allow people to enjoy the full experience.
With that date now in sight, the doors finally open at the beginning of August and shufflers(?) will be able to hire out lanes for the same price whether it’s a group of two or eight, so best to start getting your teams together now!
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