BEST BOCCE COURTS - 2008
Nomad World Pub
Bocce is a "sport" generally associated with old Italian men who chain-smoke cigarettes and drink bottomless cups of espresso. But lately the game has acquired a bit of hipster cachet, as alcohol enthusiasts have discovered that tossing balls around in the dirt is an activity easily performed while inebriated (and less taxing than bowling). There have long been a few spots around the Twin Cities where a bocce game could be found. Yarusso Bros., on St. Paul's East Side, has swell outdoor courts, while the Half Time Rec's basement venue makes up in dilapidated charm what it lacks in upkeep. The most storied courts in town are on the roof of Brit's Pub, overlooking downtown Minneapolis. But with a roughly 10-year wait to land a spot in one of the bar's lawn-bowling leagues, the chances of ever sizing up those greens are slim for most Twin Cities residents. Luckily for casual bocce enthusiasts, the Nomad World Pub now offers another alternative. The three-year-old West Bank watering hole opened its superb outdoor courts last year. The Nomad's leagues tend to be low-key, with the emphasis on boozy camaraderie rather than cutthroat competition. Nobody's going to get too pissed off if you accidentally kick the pallino—or if you have no idea what a pallino is. With a top-notch beer selection and always-generous drink specials to lubricate your game, the Nomad offers a superb way to waste a summer afternoon.