A couple years ago I approached Leslie Zemsky, Larkinville’s Director of Fun, with an idea that I thought would fit in nicely with the rest of the district’s programming. I mentioned that the game of shuffleboard would be the perfect way for people to wind down and relax. Players would be able to strike up a friendly, yet competitive game, while enjoying the sun and a cold beer.
Last year, Leslie wrote to me stating that she had brought the idea of shuffleboard before a committee, and everyone liked the idea. Two professional shuffleboard courts were to be built alongside the new beer garden at the Hydraulic Hearth, which would be rolled out in the summer of 2015.
A couple of days ago, Harry Zemsky, the owner of The Hydraulic Hearth, reached out to me, saying that the courts were ready for play. Last evening, I met up with the Zemsky family to christen the shuffleboard courts. Seeing that I hadn’t played the game since I was in my youth, I was a little cold at the start, but before long fell into the swing of things.
Shuffleboard is a game that anyone can play. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a beer garden because it can be played with a frosty brew in one hand. Two to four players can play at a time, and in this case, there’s a bunch of seating all around the courts so that onlookers can watch the activity.
Harry tells me that he is hoping that the beer garden will be open by June 9 (a Food Truck Tuesday). On that day, people will be able to grab beer at the outside bar (outfitted with a full tap system), sit at a table, or in one of the booths (shaded by hops), and enjoy the beautiful outdoor surroundings of the Hydraulic Hearth. Overhead globe string lights will illuminate the beer garden and the shuffleboard courts at night. The beer garden even has a designated stable for one food truck to pull right up inside.
In a couple of weeks, when the beer garden is complete, visitors to the Hydraulic Hearth will be invited to pick up one of the long-handled cues and play a round of shuffleboard with friends. By giving people a greater variety of outdoor activities to engage in during the summertime, the city becomes an increasingly imaginative destination that more people want to visit and explore. I can’t wait to see the first rounds being played in this chill beer garden atmosphere.
Hydraulic Hearth | 716 Swan Street | Buffalo, NY | (716) 248-2216 | Facebook