Electric Shuffle Opens Second U.S. Location on Rainey Street
Shuffleboard gets a high-tech makeover at the British-founded bar, which serves trendy cocktails and shareable dishes
By Lauren Jones
Photos by Weston Carls
Epic games, craft cocktails and great vibes. That is what Electric Shuffle, the second U.S. outpost of the London-based bar, promises to offer. Instead of solely delivering delicious drinks in a fun, well-designed environment, it’s the engaging high-tech gaming, available for groups from four to 20, that keeps people coming back for more (not to mention the surprisingly good food).
CEO Gene Ball, who previously worked in emerging concepts and business development at TopGolf, began speaking with Red Engine, the team behind Fight Club, a social darts bar, and Electric Shuffle right before the pandemic in 2020.
“I took a last-minute flight to London for 48 hours and we hit it off,” Ball says. “They were looking for a partner to bring the concept to the U.S.” The main ask? How do we transform traditional bar games and the American-style bar for the next century?”
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Ball pinpointed Dallas and Austin for the first locations — exciting, vibrant markets with entertainment districts close to downtown.
“We wanted to be a place that would balance weekends out with friends but also be great for corporate events and weekday happy hours,” he says. The Dallas location, a two-story, 15,000-square-foot restored 1920s fire station in Deep Ellum, opened in November 2021 and features two bars, 17 shuffleboard tables, and event space for groups up to 500. Talk about electric.
When it came to Austin, Ball and the team felt that Rainey Street’s atmosphere was most akin to the Electric Shuffle brand. The bright, colorful aesthetic, proximity to Hotel Van Zandt to draw in out-of-towners and conference-goers, and opportunity to honor both the new and old Austin was perfect. Plus, “Rainey doesn’t really have a place for bar games,” he says.
Electric Shuffle opened at the Quincy, a luxury apartment building with both vast office and retail space, overtaking 7,000 square feet with room for large events, themed brunches, bachelorette parties and more. In lieu of competing with neighboring bars like Unbelievable, think of Electric Shuffle as the place to stay a while, relax and refuel.
“We don’t want to be so crowded where you can’t move or hear,” he adds. As the site mentions, Electric Shuffle is on a mission to reimagine shuffleboard with custom-built tables, impressive camera vision tech to track scores and interactive elements. Take a selfie, dine, booze and battle for the win.
When it came to the design, Electric Shuffle did it all in-house with its team of 15 London-based designers, but don’t let that make you think the bar doesn’t feel American-made.
“We customize each to the city and district we are going to,” Ball says. “We took so many walks up and down Rainey, taking photos, and trying to pay homage to Austin itself.” The blues of Town Lake; green of the Greenbelt; and oranges, pinks and yellows of the city sunsets are integral to the final design, while the district’s history is also highlighted. “The back bar has quirky shapes, inspired by the different homes which originally stood on Rainey,” he says.
Overall, the Austin energy is palpable with a design that emotes happiness and joy though its custom millwork and light and refreshing color palette. There are even globe pendant lights that can change color at night for party mode. “We spent a lot of time on wallpaper and paint colors,” Ball adds.
The final piece of the puzzle? Crafting a food and beverage program that goes above and beyond basic bar food. The Austin menu includes favorites like the Salted Caramel Espresso Martini and Bold Fashioned with rosemary-infused syrup. For those ready to up their game, Electric Shuffle even has sharing cocktails served in a trophy, drink buckets, and classic frozen margaritas. The easy-to-eat and even easier-to-share food menu, which consists of truffle parmesan fries, a boneless wing platter and hot honey pepperoni pizza is the ideal fuel for all those rounds of shuffleboard.
As Electric Shuffle continues to score on Rainey, look out for upcoming themed events, as well as weekend social brunches with live music. What was once a basic bar game has set the stage for an immersive, exciting and international concept.
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