What Is a Board Game Bar or Cafe? All You Need to Know

Board Game Bar and Cafe

Are you a board gamer looking to meet some like-minded enthusiasts? Your best bet is a board game bar or cafe! You may be thinking what is a board game bar and cafe, or perhaps you are not sure where to even find a board game bar or cafe.

In this article, we highlight everything you need to know about board game bars and cafes, from how they work and why you should visit one to how you can find the nearest board game bar or cafe, so stick around. 

What’s a Board Game Cafe or Bar?

Just because a cafe has a few well-known board games doesn’t make it a board game cafe. You may see a game of scrabble or monopoly stacked on a shelf off to the side, but don’t be fooled!

A true board game bar or cafe is one with many shelves and compartments packed with as many board games as possible. 

According to Board Game Geek’s list, there are more than 96,000 board games today. That being said, a board game bar would have at least hundreds of board games to appeal to as many people as possible. 

Not all board game bars and cafes are the same, of course, with some being larger and more comprehensive than others. Nonetheless, a typical board game bar/cafe should have a pretty large number of games. 

How Does a Board Game Bar or Cafe Work?

Board game bars and cafes work the same as regular bars and cafes. The only difference is that board games are on the menu!

You get in, pay a symbolic entry fee, and just enjoy playing your favorite board game with your friends. You can pay per hour, per drop-in, or per game. 

Rental of private game rooms is also available in certain cafes/bars.

It’s also worth noting that a lot of board game bars and cafes offer discounts in the form of packages, promotions, and membership cards.

With games racked everywhere, your next step is to choose a game. And just like in any cafe or bar, you can order your favorite snacks and beverages in a board game bar/cafe for a more fulfilling playing experience. 

Game Bosses at Board Game Cafes

If you’re an experienced board gamer, picking the right game shouldn’t be a hassle. If you’re new to board games, however, you might find the variety quite overwhelming. 

Luckily, most game bars/cafes have game bosses, also known as game gurus, who serve as your guide to the world of board games.

Game bosses are the ones who find pleasure and satisfaction in helping beginners choose a game. They also serve as tutors, teaching beginners how to start playing the game they’ve chosen. 

If you go to a board game bar/cafe and find yourself in the hands of a game boss, you’ll most likely be asked the following questions:

  • What’s your time limit for this drop-in?
  • When was the last time you played?
  • Do you like games that require a lot of thinking?
  • How many players will be joining you?
  • Are you a competitive or cooperative type of group?

The answers to these questions will help the game boss pinpoint the perfect game for you. It doesn’t end there; the game boss will remain at your side until you get the hang of the chosen game.

How to Find Your Nearest Board Game Bar or Cafe?

Now that you have a good idea about what exactly a board game bar or cafe is, you may have to do a little research to find one located near you. Here are some tips to help find a board game bar or cafe near you.

Why You Should Go to a Board Game Bar or Cafe

Going to a board-gaming bar or cafe is an engaging experience that has a lot to offer. Below are some of the reasons why you should go to a board game bar or cafe. 

Meet Like-Minded Enthusiasts

With the emergence of video games, board games have become a thing of the past, with only a small percentage of people playing them today. However, there is still a niche audience of people like us who are really into board games.

That said, it’s hard to find like-minded people who share the same interest and passion in board games, and that’s exactly why you should go to a board game bar or cafe!

Connecting With Your Inner Child 

We all loved to play when we were children. Visiting a board game bar or cafe and seeing the wide variety of board games helps us connect with our inner child; the part in us that loves to play and have fun. 

Even if you are not a board game enthusiast, you may still find it fun to get together a few friends and head over to a board game bar or cafe and try something new!

Refreshments and Snacks

The best part about going to a board game bar or cafe is that you can enjoy as many delicious drinks and snacks as you want while playing your favorite board game with friends.

If you are a coffee drinker, then there will mostly likely be some fun coffee drinks to try. Board game bars and cafes usually have finger food snacks such as pizza, pretzel bites, mozzarella sticks, etc. Just remember to wipe your hands when it’s your turn to play!

Good Place for Introverts

It’s easier for people, especially introverts, to engage well in a board game-based outing. It’s worth noting that board game bars and cafes typically contain games that can be played solo, which is right up your alley if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy socializing. 

“Games act as a social lubricant because it helps gather people around an activity other than only chatting,” said John Coveyou, Founder & CEO of Genius Games. 

Break From All Things Digital

Visiting a board game bar or cafe forces us to take a break from all things digital and enjoy the real world with our close circle of family and friends, or even with strangers! 

Why Not Just Go to a Regular Cafe or Bar?

Why go to a board game bar or cafe when you can just head to a regular nearby bar or cafe? Well, here are a few reasons:

  • The tables in regular cafes and bars aren’t designed for board games
  • Not all board games are suitable to play in a regular bar or cafe
  • Too many distractions, from deafening music to TV screens
  • Regular bars and cafes aren’t typically packed with board gaming enthusiasts

Final Words

Every board gaming enthusiast should go to a board game bar or cafe at least once in their life. It’s one of the most pleasant and most entertaining experiences a board gamer can have. 

To recap how board game bars and cafes work, you simply pay an entry fee, pick a board game or refer to a game boss, order some refreshments and snacks, and enjoy playing. 

There is always a board game bar or cafe waiting for you!


Hillary is a 28 year old board game enthusiast from New York who specializes in hosting game nights.

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