Game time

Table games at bars regaining popularity


You might think you're the best, but chances are there's someone around the corner -- a ruthless shark lying in wait -- ready to prove you wrong.

Darts, billiards, shuffleboard, foosball -- the games of pub crawlers across America. They've been around for as long as this country is old, and now, with the addition of shuffleboard and foosball to Mathers' Lounge and Cafe, interest in some of the classics are resurfacing.

Shuffleboard may be a new addition to the lounge and cafe, but it dates back centuries. In 15th century England, folks slid a large coin down a table in a game called "groat," named after the coin of the day worth about four pence, according to the American Shuffleboard Company's Web site.

Sixteen years ago, owner Tom Mathers kept a shuffleboard in his bar, but as he saw people lose interest and as the table became a more beer coaster than fun activity, he decided to pack it up.

With the game's reappearance, a whole new generation can now enjoy this game of finesse and precision, and all the pitfalls, frustrations, and yes, even triumphs, that come with it.

In shuffleboard, opponents stand on the same side of the board, alternating turns sliding pucks to the other end of the board. In the game, which is generally scored to 15, the player's puck or pucks that are the farthest down the board are scored according to where they land. If an opponent's puck separates winning pucks, only the pucks further than the opponent's puck will be scored.

He said the game is a lot like horseshoes, in that you have to get into a groove.

"It's not a physical game," he said. "It's the touch."

Jake Chason, who was finishing up a game of shuffleboard with his friends Wednesday night, said it's a nice addition to Craig.

"It's all about competition," his opponent, Nicole Simones, said. "Shuffleboard's my game. It's all I do."

Chason, on the other hand, keeps his roots in billiards.

"I've been playing pool since I could see over the table," Chason said after finishing a game with Kevin Christopher.

"Yeah, definitely. But he never wins," Christopher chimed.

"I just won," Chason shot back.

"Yeah, and I like to pay $10 or $15 to the homeless," Christopher said, staring off into space.

On the other side of the bar, a new foosball table, a table version of soccer, is getting more action than almost anything else in the bar.

"I didn't realize people love playing foosball," Mathers said.

Mathers said he keeps his eye out for only one thing when checking out the pubs and bars across the nation.

"I find the bar with the shuffleboard," he said.

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