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Subject: Board Game Cafe/Pubs.. in the USA / Europe / World ? rss

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Marc Lanctot
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Hello all,

As some of you may or may not know, the board game cafe/pub concept seems to be catching on quite rapidly up here in the great white north (eh).

Proof:

- Snakes & Lattes (Toronto) has been open since Aug 2009 or 2010 (sorry don't remember!) Huge success. They had so many people they had to renovate their basement and expand next door. They've had a number of designers/celebrities within the board gaming scene make appearances (Friedmann Friese, one of the 7 Wonders designers, Scott Nicholson, and more whose names are escaping me). They host regular tournaments and have a Carcassonne one scheduled now with a prize of a trip to Essen for participate in the world finals.

- Randolph Pub Ludique (Montreal) Opened July 27th.

- Monopolatte (Ottawa) Opening soon.

- The Odd Spot (Ottawa) Opening 2014.

I've been told that we canucks are not the first to have popularized this concept (dah well.. we still have hockey!), but I don't know of any others. So I'm trying to think of one in the US, Europe (since I'm moving to the Netherlands in 2 months), or anywhere else.. but can't think of any. Does anybody know of such places?

Important: I'm not looking for FLGSs that sell food and drinks. The place should be an entertainment venue / cafe / pub with many of board games (no less than say.. 50) and a small cover charge. I have a specific business model in mind and revenues are not primarily through board game sales.

Thanks in advance!

-------------------------

Edit: A geek list or a page (like the one for all the online board game sites) with this info would be great. Does this exist?

-------------------------

Edit #2. I'm going to collect all of the places I'm told about in this thread. If it gets too big and it'd be more convenient as a geek list, I'll look into how those work. Thanks to everyone who has contributed!

Mattintheweb's map of Board Game Cafe/Pubs. Note: does not contain some of the ones below, but does contain many others.

Canada:
- Snakes & Lattes. Toronto. Opened Aug 2010.
- Go Lounge. Toronto. Opening Oct 2012.
- Randolph Pub. Montreal. Opened July 2012.
- Monopolatte. Ottawa. Opening soon.
- Krowns. Calgary. Opening Sep 29th, 2012.
- The Odd Spot. Ottawa. Opening 2014.

China:
- Name unknown. Location unknown.
- Name unknown. Location unknown.

USA:
- The Gamer's Grind. Sacramento, CA. Opened March 2012.
- A Board Room. Columbus, OH. Hoping to open Fall 2012.
- Chatterbox Pub. Twin Cities, MN. More of a pub. Small selection of board games, but also retro video games.



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Christopher Scatliff
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A friend of mine is working on opening a second one in Toronto. She says there are sometimes multi-hour waits just to get in to S&L, so it's definitely a niche that could use more presence.

We have nothing like that here in the 'Peg. I don't know if the population could support it. But we're bigger than Ottawa, so maybe...
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Marc Lanctot
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Smoo wrote:
A friend of mine is working on opening a second one in Toronto. She says there are sometimes multi-hour waits just to get in to S&L, so it's definitely a niche that could use more presence.


Cool! But damn.. I'm moving in two months!! Any chance that she'd want to say, open it up in the Netherlands instead? laugh

Seriously though, does she have a location (in Toronto) in mind?? I'd love to see one closer to downtown (Yonge + Dundas / Union / Nathan Philips Square..)

Edit: I'd be a bit wary though; the waits have become less of a problem since the expansion. And, in the time she has to get it all going, the waits may no longer be a problem at all. Not to mention, S&L has a lot of momentum and has amassed quite a fan base.

Edit #2: It's also not clear to me that Toronto could support two.. is she thinking somewhere in the suburbs?
 
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Ralph T
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N/A opened up Gamer's Grind in Sacramento, CA.
Thread here.
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Christopher Scatliff
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Yeah, it will be on Queen at Roncevalles (near High Park). It will be called "Go Lounge". They plan to be open in October.
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Christopher Scatliff
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Wow, they have a website already:

http://golounge.ca/
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Daryl Andrews
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Just read about one called "A Board Room" in Columbus, OH. You can find it online: http://www.aboardroom.com

I must confess, Im a loyal fan of Snakes & Lattes. Would love to see something in southwestern Ontario area in the future(Kitchener maybe?!)
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Sara VanderWal
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sharky6000 wrote:
Snakes & Lattes (Toronto) has been open since Aug 2009 or 2010 (sorry don't remember!) Huge success. They had so many people they had to renovate their basement and expand next door. They've had a number of designers/celebrities within the board gaming scene make appearances (Friedmann Friese, one of the 7 Wonders designers, Scott Nicholson, and more whose names are escaping me). They host regular tournaments and have a Carcassonne one scheduled now with a prize of a trip to Essen for participate in the world finals.


Edited: Snakes & Lattes (Toronto) has been open since Aug 2010. Huge success. They had so many customers that they had to renovate their basement and expand next door. They've had a number of designers/celebrities within the board gaming scene make appearances - Friedmann Friese (Power Grid designer), Cedrick Caumont (7 Wonders developer), Max Temkin (co-designer of Cards Against Humanity), Scott Nicholson and more. They host a weekly open gaming event, monthly designer's prototype night, regular tournaments including a Carcassonne tourney in Sept 2012 with a prize of a trip to Essen for participate in the world finals, and other social events.

sharky6000 wrote:
I've been told that we canucks are not the first to have popularized this concept (dah well.. we still have hockey!), but I don't know of any others. So I'm trying to think of one in the US, Europe (since I'm moving to the Netherlands in 2 months), or anywhere else.. but can't think of any. Does anybody know of such places?


This is the best resource I've found: this map made by Mattintheweb
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Marc Lanctot
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Smoo wrote:
Wow, they have a website already:

http://golounge.ca/


Thanks. Wow.. the fonts on the sidebar look strikingly similar to the one used on S&L's web site. I'm not sure that's a good idea.

I'm with Daryl. I'm a loyal fan of Snakes & Lattes. I'm wondering what Go Lounge has planned to draw people like Daryl and I away from S&L. Go Lounge is closer to my place, so I'll surely go take a look. But Queen and Roncesvalles, that's definitely not an area I would have expected. I'm curious to see how it goes down. Nonetheless, I wish her the best of luck and hope she opens it up before I leave.
 
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Christopher Scatliff
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sharky6000 wrote:
Smoo wrote:
Wow, they have a website already:

http://golounge.ca/


Thanks. Wow.. the fonts on the sidebar look strikingly similar to the one used on S&L's web site. I'm not sure that's a good idea.

I'm with Daryl. I'm a loyal fan of Snakes & Lattes. I'm wondering what Go Lounge has planned to draw people like Daryl and I away from S&L. Go Lounge is closer to my place, so I'll surely go take a look. But Queen and Roncesvalles, that's definitely not an area I would have expected. I'm curious to see how it goes down. Nonetheless, I wish her the best of luck and hope she opens it up before I leave.

I don't know if they necessarily need to draw people away. If the demand is as high as I'm led to believe it is then there's plenty of room for two stores. The relationship does not need to be adversarial.
 
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Marc Lanctot
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Thanks for the corrections and additions Sara!

SaraCV wrote:
This is the best resource I've found: this map made by Mattintheweb


Holy cow, that is GREAT! Loving the high density of such places in Europe. I foresee my monthly Euro-trips being influenced by this map... thanks so much!
 
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Christopher Scatliff
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Note to everybody posting a link to Snakes & Lattes: Please append a ".com" to your links. They're all broken.

Note that this may be the first time the word "broken" has been used correctly on this website.
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Marc Lanctot
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@Chris,

Oops, the link problem was my fault. Fixed my original post.

As for Go Lounge. Absolutely. Good answer. I'm trying not to take sides. I'd love for them both to succeed and hope that it's more of a collaboration than a competition too (oh man, imagine having leagues and inter-cafe competitions?!?! that'd be awesome!)

... but we're talking about a single market and a new addition increasing the number of competitors by 100%. It's even still in the west part of Toronto. Do you know if she's talked to the owners of S&L? The using of the same fonts and it also being in West Toronto is leading me to believe that maybe they are working with them, but this is all just speculation.
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jumbit
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There are about five of them in my third-tier city in China. Been open since they started Shuomen Jie back in 2007.
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Christopher Scatliff
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I'm not sure if she has or not. I'm reasonably certain they're not affiliated, although she does have mad respect for S&L.

As to the fonts, they just look like generic fonts to me. But then I don't have a good eye for that kind of thing.
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Samantha Go Lounge
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Thanks Chris

I love Snakes and Lattes and have been going there since it's opening in 2010. We live in a wonderful city with many diverse neighbourhoods. Parkdale/Highpark is a mixed population of families, artists, young professionals etc. We want to offer a local spot that will cater to to the residents in the area. There's a huge trend in the last few years of people looking for alternatives to the standard bar - places like Spin, S&L, The Pinball Cafe, The Ballroom etc are evidence of this. I certainly think the city is big enough to accommodate another. I hope you'll check it out

This is my first foray into this type of business, so we'll be learning and adapting as we go. Our vision for Go is more of a lounge/bar rather than a cafe. I have always been a lover of games (ask Chris!), however, we're not what you'd call hardcore gamers. I have a great fondness for the classics. I envision a place with trivia leagues, scrabble tournaments, friends gathering over a game of Settlers etc. I have to say, I do I like the idea of inter-cafe competition!

We are not in any way affiliated with S&L. As for the website, we chose a WordPress template that we liked and that was the font that came with it - I'm not even sure if that can be edited with ease and my HTML skills are limited to HTML 1.0. It's been a while. I do have the utmost respect for S&L and think they've done a wonderful job reviving gaming in the city. I first had the pleasure of meeting them back in 2009 (I think) They visited a board game night at a local pub I would go to. They were pitching the idea of S&L and I made a comment that we couldn't get 20 people bi-monthly to play games, that the idea of a 7 day a week cafe seemed very ambitious. However, they've shown that not only is there a market, there's a surplus.
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Marc Lanctot
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@jumbit: thanks! What are the place's names? Do you have links to their web sites or more info?

@Samantha: thanks for the info. If I'm still here when you open your doors, I will definitely be there. Hope it works out for you!
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jumbit
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sharky6000 wrote:
@jumbit: thanks! What are the place's names? Do you have links to their web sites or more info?

http://www.bger.org/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=4916&highli...=
http://www.zoyooo.com/msg/detail?id=11299
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Curran E
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I'm definitely interested in all these Canadian cafes since spending two days in Snakes and Lattes on my Toronto Vacation. I see Alberta is devoid of these cafes but definitely not in boardmanship. I smell a business plan...
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Robin Brown
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There are two or three in Singapore,

Settlers Cafe and Mind Cafe are two I remember
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Marc Lanctot
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A place where you can eat, play board games, and retro video games?!?! That's 90% of my leisure time right there! If they add Commodore 64 or Intellivision -- bam -- I'm moving to Minnesota.
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Marc Lanctot
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Alright, I edited the initial post to collect them all up there and will continue to do so. Once the thread dies down and I don't see any new posts, I'll look into a better place to store all the info (geek list of some sort).

@jumbit: I can't read those pages. Can you tell me their names and where they are?

@Daryl: in the article you read about A Board Room, do you remember if it said when they're opening?

 
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jumbit
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Paste URL into Google Translate.
 
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beloveserve wrote:
Just read about one called "A Board Room" in Columbus, OH. You can find it online: http://www.aboardroom.com


Hope to open this fall!
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endless dreamer
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This is the best resource I've found: this map made by Mattintheweb

Wow- that is an awesome map! And here I only thought there were 2 boardgame pubs in the US!
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