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Subject: Places to game in Portland, OR? Pubs, cafes, etc? rss

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Rachael C
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Portland
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Where do you play in Portland, other than at homes or game stores?

We've been to Lucky Lab and Green Dragon and have decided to do a game tour of Portland! What places should we add to the list? Have you seen any cafes, pubs, restaurants, bars, etc with board games in the corner? Do you have a favorite place to bust out a Euro, or card game?

Please share!

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Mindy G
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My meetup group plays every Tuesday in the deli seating area of the New Seasons on 20th and Division. I know another meetup group meets at the deli area of the Hawthorne Fred Meyer. I think there is a group that meets at My Father's Place on MLK. (I realize you didn't ask for groups, but since these places allow it, I think they would be friendly to gaming in general.)

Fun idea for a thread, I look forward to getting more ideas for places!
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Rachael C
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Oh yeah! I've seen the group for My Father's Place. Good tip. Thanks! New Seasons and Fred Meyer are great options too with awesome lighting and tables and casual environment. But, for this specific challenge (that we've given ourselves , we are looking for ideas that are more on the cozy side with later night options.

Looking forward to any other suggestions!
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Kevin B. Smith
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The BGG guild for Portland (Portland, OR, USA) has a great list of scheduled events.
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Ubergeek
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Come to Guardian Games next Sunday (every other Sunday) for Euro games day. They have an over 21 area and serve beer for gamers. Lots of local boardgamers go there.
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Jeff Wood
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I've enjoyed Wednesday's at Cloud Cap Games.
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Mindy G
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She asked for other than game stores. I think she's looking for gaming friendly places where they could go out, take a game, grab a pint and a bite.
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Rachael C
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Yep, Oriecat has it right! I'm looking for game locations other than game stores and houses. It gets old going to Guardian, Red Castle, and My Dining Room Table. We already frequent a lot of the regular game gatherings and meetups. These are places to grab a friend and a box (or 6) and make an evening of it.

Any restaurants or bars that welcome gamers?

So far, we've been to:

Lucky Lab - great
Green Dragon - great
Night Light - so-so (bigger tables, bad light, loud and busy)
Bushwackers - good (smaller tables, but good light and chill)
Barley Mill - so-so (good tables and light, but crap food and service)

I've made it a goal to go to as many different places as possible. Some people track plays, wins, scores, etc. I've decided on number of locations... for now.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Any good places West of Portland? Like in the Beaverton/Hillsboro area?
I just moved here and the traffic getting into portland in the evening is horrendous.

I found Rainy Day games in Aloha and am planning to check it out, any other groups/stores?
 
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Rachael C
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I'm sorry I can't really help with anything outside of Portland proper. I've been to Rainy Day and really like it. I think I have seen some gatherings posted for playing at the Powell's in Beaverton too?

Good luck.
 
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Gene Moore
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Walt Mulder wrote:
Come to Guardian Games next Sunday (every other Sunday) for Euro games day. They have an over 21 area and serve beer for gamers. Lots of local boardgamers go there.

I have friends of friends of the owners there. Tell them Gene said hi... they won't have a clue who you're talking about. laugh
 
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Mindy G
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I bet a bunch of the McMenamin's could be good for gaming, some of the ones that are more pub than restaurant like, so they won't care if you linger. And Kennedy School with all of its various rooms might have a good place to settle.
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Rachael C
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Yeah, good call on Kennedy School, Mindy. We went to Barley Mill (which is theirs) and it was casual enough that the gaming wasn't an issue... but the service sucked and the food does as well (well maybe a "C-" for the food). I love those places, I wish they'd manage their kitchens better. I'd go there all the time if they had just one decent thing on the menu. Even the meat eaters agreed that the tots were the best thing they had there! That's saying something. Hahaha. Well, I'll take what I can get! Being out in a game-friendly place is most important. And, Barley Mill has covered and heated outdoor seating, which was nice.

I feel a blog coming on... one that maybe 6 people will follow, but would be fun for me!

Still looking for tips on places in Portland! (With food & drink)
 
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Raj Giri
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My SO and I saw some people playing Carcasonne at the Brooklyn Park Pub awhile back. Also, Apex works as well since it's pretty well lit. Keep in mind these places have pretty small tables, so maybe they are best for small box games. I'm also on the lookout, I've yet to go the Kennedy School.

@Alex: I work in Hillsboro but live in Portland. There's not too much aside from Rainy Day Games out that way that I've seen, but I only moved to the area 6 months ago myself. As for the traffic, since you say you're new, I'll just say this: if you leave Hillsboro at 5 you'll hit Portland at 6:30, but if you leave at 6:30 you'll hit Portland at 7.
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Anthony Bates
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Blind Onion pizza on NE Broadway could be good. They have fantastic pizza and usually a couple of decent beers on tap. Small tables but it has a nice basement feel, super quiet and they already have some board games there, crappy ones of course, but at least that means they don't mind you staying awhile.
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Erica

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Tea Chai Te (both locations on NW 23rd and in SE) have board games available and are board gamer friendly. Keep in mind both locations are small, one is the upstairs floor of a home and another is an old train caboose, so you can't really do a large gaming group there.

Or if coffee is more your thing, Java Mama on 185th (up the road from Rainy Day Games) also has some nice tables for gaming. Ans the whole shop is very nerd friendly with the occasional nerdy themed drinks and cosplay days.
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Rachael C
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Ooooh, more great tips! Thanks! Keep 'em coming.

I'm down in southern california right now and can't believe that there is ONE game store in the whole area! What the heck? I'm sooo spoiled in Portland that I am spending time finding other places to play...?
 
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Xander Fulton
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raquitoppi wrote:
Yeah, good call on Kennedy School, Mindy. We went to Barley Mill (which is theirs) and it was casual enough that the gaming wasn't an issue... but the service sucked and the food does as well (well maybe a "C-" for the food). I love those places, I wish they'd manage their kitchens better. I'd go there all the time if they had just one decent thing on the menu. Even the meat eaters agreed that the tots were the best thing they had there! That's saying something. Hahaha. Well, I'll take what I can get! Being out in a game-friendly place is most important. And, Barley Mill has covered and heated outdoor seating, which was nice.


Yeah, McMenamins are...well known for so-so food and service. There are a couple of them, though, that have had significant menu updates and so end up much nicer. Still, the beer is good, so that's nice.

Anyway, my group has hit up:

Rogue Ales Public House (Pearl District)
Gets kinda busy on evenings and weekends, and during happy hour, so not necessarily best place for games during those windows. In less busy times, though, it works quite well. Not GREAT lighting, though, so during the winter time it can be tricky to play some games (Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game, particularly, we found difficult to tell the yellow and green cards apart). A bit better than McMenamins for food, some beers are better and some worse than McMenamins, better service.

Deschutes Brewery (Pearl District)
Utterly bro-tastic during happy hour, and after 9pm. Still, at other times, workable. They have some HUGE tables - we even played a game of Star Fleet Battles there, once, believe it or not! Very well lit, good service, great food, great beer, and as noted - HUGE tables. If it starts looking busy, though, prepare to move - they get kind of cranky if you take up a table 'too long'. Probably best suited for card-like games, generally.

Paddy's (Old Town)
Food is godawful. But they do have a MASSIVE selection of spirits, and Guinness on tap, which is nice for people who are visiting and want to stick with something they know (rather than the much-better local microbrews). And it's well lit, good service, and don't mind games. Played many, many games of Star Fleet Battle Force there.

Mellow Mushroom (Pearl District)
Meh. Food okay, beer selection is wide but mostly just national stuff and a few imports. Tables are alright sized, but it does get busy as the night progresses (folks coming in from the suburbs really seem to like the place, for some reason), and it gets LOOOOOOUD. I think we only did one game, here. Staff didn't seem to care, but I'd say this is a pass.

McMenamin's Ram's Head (Alphabet District)
One of the McMenamin's that got a menu update - their regular menu is now VERY good, and their rotating specials range from 'pretty good' to 'HOLY CRAP AWESOME'. They also moved the bar out from the back of the building to the center, and turned the back room into a large lounge area. 'Lounge area' as in 'big chairs and big tables, books on the shelves around it, and a few games in the corner of the room'. Epic for gaming - perfect venue, IMHO. Quiet, the menu update means the food is generally VERY good, still has the quite-good McMenamins beers, spirits, and coffee. Only downside is that the service can get a bit dodgy during busy times of the day, but even when it's slammed outside, the lounge area is almost always practically empty.

...we've hit up a few other places that have since gone out of business, over the years, but that is basically where we have gone in the "downtown" area. As always, check with the wait staff before cracking open a game - if there are particular sports events on, etc, a given place may not be as accommodating as they would otherwise be.
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Rachael C
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Xander! Wonderful and detailed list, thanks so much! I hope all of the McMenamins follow suit with the food. The venues are all so awesome. I've never made it over to Ram's Head. We've focused more on the East Side so far just because it is where we all live. So, your list is particularly helpful for places we are less familiar with! Thanks!

I will, at some point, be compiling a list to share... in the winter it could be particularly useful to others.
 
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Xander Fulton
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Alexfrog wrote:
I just moved here and the traffic getting into portland in the evening is horrendous.


Well, see, that's why you take the Max!

No, seriously - the light rail in the Portland area is awesome. Pretty quick (especially during rush hour), cleaner than most other cities I've been to, and shares the generally-low-crime Portland features overall.

As most of my gaming group is scattered around the metro area, we tend to game either near the office (pretty close to dead center, downtown) or along the Max/Streetcar lines...IE., the common theme on pretty much all the places listed above.
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Erik Stanfill
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My gaming group has been meeting Tuesday nights at the Oregon Public House (http://oregonpublichouse.com/), a non-profit pub at 700 NE Dekum, even though it isn't officially open yet. We personally know the founder, and he was gracious to let us squat there for a while.

The Pub WILL open May 10th, however. We may or may not continue to meet there. We'll have to figure out what the initial crowd will be like.
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Mindy G
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Oh that's just blocks from me! I've been excited for that to open.
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nyn -
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There's a semi-regular group that meets at the Space Room on Hawthorne. It's a decent bar with interesting late night food and is very welcome to gamers.
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Mindy G
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Oh yeah, my meet up group meets there one Friday a month for Sci Fi Happy Hour. One problem with that place is that the tables are decorated crazy and it's really easy to lose pieces on there.
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Rachael C
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Well I started a little list - only a few places up, but keeping track via this casual blog!

And, I am on a mission this month to play 50 DIFFERENT games this month!! Woot woooo! up to 35... Excited to see if I can make it happen.


http://meeplesandmead.blogspot.com/
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