When we were getting to know each other, a past boyfriend asked me what I liked to do for fun when I was a girl. The idea I think was this information could be a window into our who we are now, as adults. He said he liked to draw (which I did not like to do). I also remember that I did not like playing with dolls, or pretend house, dress-up, or building. My repertoire of fun was limited: I liked to read, do puzzles, and play games.
So it surprised me that it was not until last year that I learned of Snakes and Lattes, which claims to be North America’s first board game cafe. It’s a place where, for a $5 cover, you can sit and play games until the cows come home. All the gaming while, you can have coffee/tea and snacks, or a casual meal, delivered to your playing table.
The main appeal of the cafe, of course, are the games. We’re going leaps and bounds beyond Monopoly and Battleship here, although of course the tried and true are here and popular enough. There are hundreds and hundreds of games, from traditional favourites to new weird and wonderful that neither of us have ever heard of. When the options start to overwhelm, you can consult a Game Guru, aka an employee who knows a strange lot about the bazillion games on offer and will guide you to choosing something that you’ll like.
One of the nicest things about Snakes and Lattes is that it appeals to all generations. I have a friend who is a big more of a board gamer than I am, and this cafe is for her both a destination on date night and for her children for (the whole of) a Sunday afternoon. You gotta love the democracy of a good game.
I also love – and here my biases are pretty well-defined – that these games are played without screens and with other people and not in a basement. It’s almost quaint, the idea of a board game, which for me is extra reason to applaud how successful this cafe has become.
Another thing about this place, it’s open like all the time during the week – an ungodly 7am on weekdays (what is it, a bakery?) until “late”. Weekends commence at a more normal 11am until “late”.
Predictably they sell games too, although the real appeal is getting to play games in a public place with other people willing to do the same thing – kind of like an adult opportunity for parallel play. It’s a friendly place, with a nice vibe, and if anything can take the possibly ever so slightly nerdy edge off of board games, this is it.
ps. If you have not tried it, and like politically very wrong humour that targets everyone, Cards Against Humanity is a memorable choice , and good for a group, especially if there is wine. Or tequila.
pps. Snakes and Lattes did not ask me to write this and I got no free games out of it. Darn.