Bocce Balls and Beers
Floyd, NY co-owner Andrew Templar wasn’t a bocce-ball master before he and his business partner, Jim, decided to open a bocce bar—or two, if you count their more recent Union Hall. And if you come play, you don’t need mad chops either, outside the art of drink lifting. Since opening in 2004, Floyd has become a mainstay for both casual and league bocce players who can’t get enough of the nightly drama playing out on the bar’s 40-foot red-clay court—whatever their skills.
GROUPON: Is there any correlation between the number of drinks people consume and their chances of playing well?
ANDREW TEMPLAR: Good question. I think half a pint of beer is a good start and it maybe picks up again at two and then nosedives until about five. Then it’s really good again for about a minute.
G: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen someone do in the name of bocce?
AT: One of our long-running teams is called Cobra Kai—from the bad guy’s team in Karate Kid. One year they made it to the finals, and the last guy to shoot on the team playing against Cobra Kai launched into the crane pose [from the movie] and made the winning shot of the game. It was super cinematic, just ridiculous.
G: Have any babies been born as a result of people meeting over bocce?
AT: I know people have been married, so bocce babies are definitely on the way. Winning a game of bocce puts one in a celebratory mood, and of course, that’s where babies come from.
G: Other than your bocce bars, are there other New York spots where you get your bocce on?
AT: Il Vagabondo in Manhattan. It’s an old Italian restaurant. We send our league there, that’s our grand prize. Your whole team gets a limo and a clown for three hours.
G: Did you say a clown?
AT: Very few people took us up on the clown. So now we do a limo out, then dinner at Il Vagabondo. And we have a second prize called “A Night With Somewhat Smaller Balls,” where we pay for a night at a pool hall.
G: Do you consider any local bocce bars to be your arch-nemeses?
AT: There’s a retirement center, I think in Cobble Hill, that has a really nice court, but you can’t get in unless you’re a resident. Which I guess we will be soon enough. I would love to play in there, but for sure they would take us to the cleaners.
Making a day of it? Check out some of Andrew’s favorite pre-bocce Brooklyn spots:
South | South Slope
“They have the best bloody marys in the city.”
Dizzy’s | Park Slope
Andrew recommends the brunch, particularly Eggs Ben A Dizz with ancho-lime hollandaise.
Commonwealth | Park Slope
“They have the best jukebox.”
“To warm up.”
Hamilton’s | Windsor Terrace
“The kale salad is fantastic.” He’s also a fan of the adobo-braised chicken wings.
Sandra Kofler is a writer/editor in Chicago with a baking and biking streak. She hopes someday technology will allow her participate in all of these things at once.