Archive for the ‘Floyd’ Category

There is a bar that is very near and dear to our hearts here at Brooklyn Skeptic. This bar is Floyd. Located on Atlantic Avenue between Henry and Clinton street, Floyd is a wonderful little bar for a plethora of reasons. It has cheap drinks, friendly bartenders, a good juke box, a lot of sports playing on the television, interesting bathroom graffiti and comfortable couches. It also has a great indoor bocce court and a league that meets every weekend.

And now The Village Voice has recognized the bar for all it’s ball-busting brilliance. The reputable New York paper has listed their 2007 “best of” list and the winner of “Best Non-contact Sport” was “Bocce Ball Empire at Floyd, NY.” They even go on to mention the glorious (and pun-tastic) bocce team-names that are so common in the league.

If you’re interested in learning more about the bar or the bocce league, I strongly suggest coming this Sunday afternoon during the bocce finals. You’ll have a ball.

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Pool is passé.

I’m going to break it to you, there are no longer guys in fedoras tapping their wingtips to the jukebox, with a cigarette between their fingers. It’s been replaced by frat boys in polo shirts & baseball caps, or suits with loosened ties. All the romance is gone and has been replaced by a certain banality.

Bocce doesn’t need to get people to pay for it. They know they’ve created a group of individuals who will come to the only bars in Brooklyn (owned by the same person) to get their bocce fix. They’ve created a subculture who crave their hands around their large balls. They will come week after week, set up leagues, and practically live at these bars. Do we need it in more places? No. And I like it that way. Pool you can go almost anywhere. I can barely walk down the street without running into a pool table.

And I’m sorry, something is wrong if you think handling a small stick and delicately hitting small balls is somehow tough. All that green felt is simply bourgeois. Bocce requires you to get down in the dirty court, pick up balls with your bare hands, and throw it down a court. You really learn to channel a more primal energy. You call that cute? Obviously you also haven’t heard the smack talk that goes on.

You have to accept that bocce is the new hotness, while pool is the old hotness…which can’t be anything but lukewarm.

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I don’t think the word ethereal has ever been used in relation to a game where you lob large circular objects onto a court in an effort to knock other balls out of the way. However my point was not that Bocce is ugly. More that Bocce is, in a word, cute. Bocce is billiards’ cute indy-rock girlfriend who is a little more shy and less overtly sexy. Billiards, on the other hand, is slightly more out of one’s league (pun sooo intended). Billiards has a series of shiny, colorful balls and a beautiful green felt table with six evenly placed leather pockets. And you use a looonng, shiny, aerodynamic, wooden stick that you know you just want to wrap your hands around and….. Ahem. Chalk.

Anyway, again, bocce is definitely hot. Its balls just aren’t as polished.

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Bocce is, perhaps, the hottest game in the history of bar sports. It doesn’t have to hit you over the head with its overtly sexual equipment (cue, balls, holes, etc.) – it’s a demure game with dignity, class, and a regal aura. Sure it’s easy to look sexy while splayed out on a table, man-handling a huge stick. That’s some rookie shit. All of the sexiness in bocce emanates from a player alone on the court, the envy of the entire bar. That player in untouchable. And as we all know, the hottest person in the room is the one you can’t even get close to.

Where billiards is carnal, bocce is ethereal. Though your feet are on a court made of earth, your spirit hovers above near the pressed tin ceilings. Your body becomes a vessel for the, um, balls and thousands of years of Italian history course through your veins, like so many Brooklyn Lagers. If there is anything sexier than the spiritually superior and historically inclined, I don’t want to know what it is.

This sport is so fucking hot, even the pope plays.


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I am a pool player living in Brooklyn, and was recently introduced to the small world of bocce. Featured at a few bars in my neighborhood, some of my friends have recently taken an interest, and I have been more than happy to come along for the ride.

A lot has been said on this blog about the game of bocce. It’s been around for centuries. Charlemagne played it between orgies and fighting wars against the Saracens. Mussolini threw the balls around while drinking tea and reading Il Popolo D’Italia. I myself used to watch the old French men in my neighborhood stand around, chomping on cigars and getting their shoes dusty while playing the very similar game of petanque. And now it has gone so far as to reach the Brooklyn bar scene.

I enjoy playing bocce, even though I suck. And I have to say that of the two bars I have been two with bocce courts, they don’t fuck around. People seem to be enjoying themselves immensely, and I have heard that leagues have been established and are quite popular. I know for a fact that one of the editors of this blog happens to be an avid bocce player. My question is this: does the concept of playing bocce in bars have any staying power? Will this catch on? Will bars start to sprout up all over the country with long, rectangular courts and large balls in every corner?

The answer, is no. And the reasons are simple. For starters, you have to have a pretty big establishment to host even one bocce court. Floyd already feels a little cramped with the one they have in there. Secondly, no one will ever pay for bocce. And this is for the simple, but incredibly stupid reason that there is too little involved in the sport. Would you honesly want to pay to throw little balls on the ground? No. Thirdly, and I am not denigrating the talent involved in playing this sport in the slightest, but it is not a sexy sport.

Pool, on the other hand, is a popular sport worldwide to pay for and play in bars. Men and women alike are drawn to the long phallic shape of the cue, and know that they don’t have the money to purchase a pool table of their own. You can pack a bunch of them into a room, and charge people two dollars a game to cross their fingers and hope that they can make that bank shot and look cool in front of the sexy person standing next to them. Why does this look cool? I’m not really sure. Ask Paul Newman.

Even if there are only two bars that I know of (although I’m assuming there are a few more) that have indoor bocce courts, I hope it stays that way. While it may not have the sex appeal of the aforementioned billiards, there is something comforting about sitting in a dimly lit bar, clutching a nicely poured micro-brewed beer and listening to the sweet cracking of two heavy, hard balls. I’ll always have pool, but it’s nice to know that there’s an alternative past-time in Brooklyn.

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I am going to have to disagree with your douchebags/sq. ft estimations. While douchebags run wild in both bars on a typical Saturday night, I don’t recall ever running into one on the bocce court at Union Hall. I did however want to punch a girl in the face at Floyd. Now, I’m not saying more hate-worthy females can be found at Floyd, I’ve just never encountered one at Union Hall.

I also think your average patron age is off, for both bars. And even if you’re right, and the mean age for Floyd is 25, most of the people there look/act/dress like oldish 30-somethings. While Union Hall brings in the opposite; older clientele trying to recapture or maintain their youth by dressing like a young hipster. And yes, hipsters are annoying and always think they’re funnier than they actually are. However, they at least make me feel like the young 23-year old I am.

I mostly agree with everything else you said, but in the end, I choose Union Hall. In spite of the fact that Eugene Mirman like, lives there.

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Floyd's Bocce BarNumber of Bocce Courts:

  • Floyd: One
  • Union Hall: Two
  • Performance Space:

  • Floyd: No
  • Union Hall: Yes
  • Price of Drinks:

  • Floyd: Reasonable
  • Union Hall: Reasonable, if slightly more expensive
  • Douchebags/Sq. Foot on typical Tuesday Night:

  • Floyd: .1
  • Union Hall: .3
  • Douchebags/Sq. Foot on typical Saturday Night:

  • Floyd: 1
  • Union Hall: 3
  • Jukebox:

  • Floyd: Better
  • Union Hall: Good
  • Average Age of Patrons (rough guess):

  • Floyd: 25
  • Union Hall: 29
  • Bathrooms:

  • Floyd: Two, not disgusting
  • Union Hall: Ten-ish?, not disgusting, often quite clean
  • Major Perks:

  • Floyd: you can play bocce, most nights it is not very crowded, nice bar tenders, pew-like benches, lots of alt-country on the jukebox, have Bass Ale on tap (it’s delicious!), nice furnishings, people bring their doggies sometimes, Crap-o-copia, everyone is guaranteed to like this bar
  • Union Hall: you can play bocce, very beautiful space, cool bands and events downstairs, have two sections of padded wall (…), nice outdoor area, have Regina Spektor on the jukebox, within walking distance of my house, the food looks great but is very meat-centric, everyone is guaranteed to like this bar
  • Major Faults:

  • Floyd: Sophisticated computer system to dim and brighten the lights in an annoying but hip way, not as close to my house
  • Union Hall: People bring their children (Jesus Christ, Park Slope. What’s your fucking damage?), it’s incredibly crowded on the weekend and just uncomfortably crowded on weeknights, more frequent incidents of patrons being total assholes, long wait for bocce, the food looks great but is very meat-centric
  • Final Verdict:

    Two Brooklyn bocce bars diverged in a borough, and I – I took the one less Park-Slopified and that has made all the difference (sorry, Mr. Frost). So, I like Floyd best.


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