Little Rice Ball Pop Up

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We are so excited to announce that Bard & Baker will be partnering with The Little Rice Ball for a series of Monday Night Dice & Rice popups throughout July and August. JP was kind enough to offer us space to bring a handful of games in order to get a chance to meet you all while we are finishing up construction of our space. 

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Monday July 30th, 2018

Monday August 13th, 2018

Monday August 27th, 2018

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The Little Rice Ball will be offering their regular (and fabulous!) full food menu, along with craft cocktails, and rotating sake specials each night.

They will be open 4:30 PM - 11:00 PM, while we will be there 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM, hanging out and playing games.

We hope that you will consider joining us for these fun popup nights, as we can't wait to meet you!

WANNA PLAY CAFE: BOARD GAME CAFE

wanna play cafe board game cafe logo
wanna play cafe board game cafe owners playing monopoly

We have mostly featured board game cafés that have opened between 2010 and 2014 up until this point -- however, there are dozens of cafés that have opened up just in the past two to three years, including Wanna Play Cafe, located in Utica, NY.

wanna play cafe board game cafe interior

Wanna Play Cafe was opened in 2017 by friends, and fellow board game fans, Tyler Benoit and Sean Robertson. They, like many board game café owners, were seeing the trends of human interactions becoming increasingly digital and less personal.

wanna play cafe board game cafe filled with guests playing games

They wanted to open a place for the community to get together, disconnect from their devices, and have more real, face-to-face interactions through collaborative game play.

wanna play cafe board game cafe guests playing construction game

 

 

Wanna Play Cafe is located right off the Utica exit going West on 90, so it really breaks up the drive when we are driving across the state to visit family. They have a full espresso machine, plenty of cold sodas and teas, and a food menu with rotating sandwich, wrap, salad and flatbread specials that changes weekly.

Over the past year they have been open, they have hosted regular weekly trivia nights, Halloween costume parties, Murder Mystery nights, game designer night pop-ups, and so many more -- they often have a new fun event for the community planned!

Check them out if you're ever in town and be sure to follow them on Instagram, on Twitter, Facebook at Wanna Play Cafe and online at www.wannaplaycafe.com

📸: Wanna Play Cafe

THE HEXAGON: BOARD GAME CAFE

the hexagon board game cafe logo
the hexagon board game cafe board game library selections

The three distinct pillars of The Hexagon Board Game Cafe are COFFEE, GAMES, & COMMUNITY. These three words are everywhere -- from their signs out front, to their website, to their social media posts. They live for these words, and it is evident in their actions.

the hexagon board game cafe iced tea lattes

Hexagon all came to be when owners Kellie Ho and Randy Wong graduated from architecture school and struggled to find work in their design field. Many hours and late nights were devoted to playing Settlers of Catan, and that devotion continued when they moved to South Korea.

the hexagon board game cafe machi koro game paired with matcha smoothie

This is where they were first introduced to the board game café concept. Board games, a great cup of tea or glass of wine...what could be better? So, upon their return to Canada, they wanted to bring that special, social experience back home.

the hexagon board game cafe tables and chairs

Four years later, they opened Hexagon in 2014 with about 400 games to start. They now have grown their library exponentially and have a second location as of last year(!) -- one in Calgary, and the other in Edmonton, Alberta.

the hexagon board game cafe guests playing board games

 

Staff are often featured on their social media showcasing their favorite games, and they frequently post new titles that they are adding to their library. They hold 'Monday Meetups' where, if you don't have a gaming group but are looking for one, you can come solo to the café and meet new people who like to play similar games as you.

the hexagon board game cafe staff favorite clank in space board game

With Fratello Coffee Roasters providing the coffee for their beautiful lattes, cool craft beer, and small batch wines, Hexagon really has created a special place to be their community's home away from home.

the hexagon board game cafe fratello coffee roasters coffee

 

Be sure to follow them on Facebook at The Hexagon Board Game Cafe, Instagram at @thehexcafe and on Twitter at @thehexcafe for more news and featured games, and check out their website at www.thehexcafe.com

📸: The Hexagon Board Game Cafe

TABLETOP: BOARD GAME CAFÉ

tabletop board game cafe logo
tabletop board game cafe exterior sign

Tabletop Board Game Cafe opened in 2015 as Cleveland, Ohio's first board game café, adding to the already thriving gaming community in the city. Three short years later and they have accomplished so much!

But, let's start from the beginning...

tabletop board game cafe grilled cheese sandwich and photosynthesis game

Tabletop was opened by husband and wife team, Brady and Shiva Risner, and their friend Michael Holmes who loved the board game café concept and wanted to give their community a place to gather and disconnect from their devices for a spell.

tabletop board game cafe interior guests playing games

 

What we love about Tabletop, that sets them apart from their competition, is that they host a wildly popular weekly trivia night that changes in theme each week and gathers a large participation group. They also host fun monthly DIY workshops called "Maker Nights" to guide guests through creating unique one in a kind crafts for them to take home.

tabletop board game cafe milkshakes with dead of winter board game and ice cool board game

They always have fun game-themed food and beverage options on their menus and their space feels warm and welcoming to all.

Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and on Twitter for more news and featured games, and check out their website at www.tabletopcleve.com

📸: Tabletop Board Game Cafe

THE UNCOMMONS: BOARD GAME CAFÉ

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the uncommons board game cafe board game wall selection

The Uncommons is Manhattan's first board game café, proudly located in Greenwich Village, in a historical village, right on the NYU campus and just a block from Washington Square Park.

the uncommons board game cafe interior cafe space

 

Inspired by the widely popular Snakes & Lattes, who we have covered as well(!), they opened their doors to the public in 2013 after the launch of a very successful Kickstarter campaign.

the uncommons board game cafe front entrance of space

 

The Uncommons tables are always packed, no matter the time of day or day of the week, and if you are going on a weekend or holiday, they often have upwards of a 2 hour wait for a table. Their location has been paramount to their success and they utilize their space so effectively as to make use of every square foot possible.

the uncommons board game cafe guests playing games at table

We first visited them over a year ago when we began researching for Bard & Baker and instantly loved the wall of games stacked from the floor to the ceiling, begging to be played. There is even a separate section of the wall dedicated to retail games for purchase.

the uncommons board game cafe chai latte pairing with cross talk board game

 

They regularly host demo nights by local and traveling game designers featuring their new games, and often post on social media about new games they get in house.

the uncommons board game cafe firestone walker pilsner beer and board games

 

 

Their food menu is more geared towards light snacks and their beverage program is largely focused around their espresso machine, which is constantly churning out drinks. If you're in the mood for something to add a little more fun to game night, they have wine and beers available for purchase as well.

the uncommons board game cafe board game wall selection

We love visiting The Uncommons to try out new games and enjoy one of their game themed lattes each time we are down in the city -- it is only a two and half train ride from where we are located in Troy!

Be sure to follow them on Instagram and Twitter for more news and featured games, and check out their website.

📸: The Uncommons & Geek & Sundry

MOX BOARDING HOUSE: BOARD GAME CAFÉ

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Mox Boarding House is one of the first board game cafés to open in the United States, founded in 2011 by brothers John and Damon Morris. It was created under the same family of businesses as the popular brand Card Kingdom.

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Now with two locations in Washington, one in Seattle and one in Bellevue, Mox expertly fuses the board game café concept with retail game sales as well.

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They have ample space in each location that allows them to host various events and tournaments ranging from Magic: The Gathering, miniatures, RPG's and more -- you can even rent out one of their event rooms for fee for your private event.

Philanthropy is a core part of their brand, and in 2013 they started the ENGAGE program, which focuses on bringing support and awareness to local charities whose mission it is to improve education, fulfill basic human needs, or support their neighborhoods and communities.

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Each year they host an event called The Gauntlet, which is a day of games and giving at their Bellevue location. They host competitions and tournaments to raise money for non-profits that directly affect their community. Since 2013, they have raised over $347,000 for charities!

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Their social media often features posts of pairing games with food and beverages on their menu or staff with some of their favorite games. They are an integral part of their community and work hard on cultivating these relationships.

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We have been following Mox for quite some time and while Bard & Baker will not have an extensive retailing section, we are consistently impressed by all they are accomplishing and hope to integrate some similar initiatives in our space as well.

 

Be sure to follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more news and featured games, and check out their website at www.moxboardinghouse.com

📸: Mox Boarding House

THE ROOK & PAWN: BOARD GAME CAFÉ

the rook and pawn board game cafe logo
the rook and pawn board game cafe london pub inspired interior

Today's featured board game café is the London-pub inspired The Rook & Pawn, located in Athens, Georgia, opened by husband and wife team, Carrie and Tim Kelly.

the rook and pawn board game cafe staff member holding wine in front of games

 

 

Carrie and Tim opened The Rook & Pawn in 2015 after becoming enamored with board game café concepts in similar locations such as Snakes & LattesGame Häus Cafe and The Uncommons. They both have fond memories of board games around the table during family game night, filled with laughter, fun, and friendly competition.

the rook and pawn board game cafe selection of board games

After a lot of hard work, renovation of their space, and a successfully funded Kickstarter, they opened their doors to the public with much excitement from the Athens community and will be celebrating their 3rd anniversary this year!

the rook and pawn board game cafe cocktail called ocarina of lime after legend of zelda game

We love The Rook & Pawn for their London-pub meets Harry Potter's Diagon Alley interior decor, their consistent social media posts which feature games from their library, tasty drinks, and happy staff. It is evident that Carrie and Tim love the community that they are a part of.

 

 

the rook and pawn board game cafe latte in anime mug

Their drinks are always fun and colorful, with tongue-in-cheek game references. We only wish they were closer so we could visit them in person!

Be sure to check out their website, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and check them out if you make your way down to Athens, Georgia!

GAME HÄUS: BOARD GAME CAFÉ

game haus board game cafe logo
  We love their industrial decor and style

We love their industrial decor and style

Today we travel to Southern California to highlight another industry favorite -- Game Häus Cafe located in Glendale!

Fun fact about Game Häus -- we discovered them by chance on Instagram and they were our first introduction to the board game café concept. 

  So many games!

So many games!

 

 

We quickly become enamored, scrolling through their social media filled with fun games, tasty food and drink options. After that day, we started researching others like them around the country and ultimately began the starting plans for Bard & Baker!

 

  Their tables are always packed and there is often a wait to play games!

Their tables are always packed and there is often a wait to play games!

 

Game Häus is owned and operated by two friends, Rob and Terry, who had both worked in completely different industries but were frustrated with the lack of tabletop gaming options in SoCal.

They were enamored with the Snakes & Lattes concept and thought that it would do very well in their hometown, so they opened Game Häus in 2013 to immense excitement from their local community!

Social media posts are filled with guests playing games and having fun.

  Game-themed food and drink items are often on their menus, like this One Night Ultimate Werewolf cupcake and iced latte.

Game-themed food and drink items are often on their menus, like this One Night Ultimate Werewolf cupcake and iced latte.

Today they boast a library over 1,100 games that continues to grow and their social media posts are filled with tasty baked goods (they love pies, as you can tell by their logo!), game-themed sandwiches, flatbreads and drinks, and featured games. They often feature guests in their space having fun playing games, which we love!

They have become a staple in the West Coast gaming community and have been an inspiration to us in our planning stages of Bard & Baker. We love what they are doing and are excited to see them celebrate their 5th anniversary this year!

Follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and check them out if you make it to the West Coast!

SNAKES & LATTES: BOARD GAME CAFÉ

snakes and lattes board game cafe logo
  Each location has a unique style in decor!

Each location has a unique style in decor!

One simply does not talk about board game cafés and not mention Snakes & Lattes, which is why they are our first feature! Not only were they the first board game café in Toronto, opening in 2010, but shortly thereafter they inspired a wave of new cafés to open in North America. Many board game cafés credit heavy inspiration to the Snakes & Lattes concept... including us!

  Their shelving system is clean & easy to navigate!

Their shelving system is clean & easy to navigate!

They're fun, passionate, and knowledgable about all things board games and board game café, to the point that they even inspire their Game Gurus to share their knowledge on a various outlets. They have a staff-run podcast, called 'The Snakescast,' and a popular YouTube channel, called 'How to Snakes,' where they talk about what it takes, plus the joys and challenges, of opening a board game café of your own.

  Their food always looks so delicious!

Their food always looks so delicious!

Food and drink menu is fun and tasty, plus they run a really awesome board game brunch on the weekends and various special nights such as Tall Can Tuesdays, and Game Designer Night, where local game designers can bring in their prototypes to play-test on the S&L community.

  ...and the lattes are gorgeous works of art.

...and the lattes are gorgeous works of art.

 

Their pictures on social media are bright, vibrant, and engaging, and they constantly are talking to their followers and creating conversation.

Check out their website, Instagram , or Twitter at @snakesandlattes , and if you're ever in the Toronto area, do yourself a favor and visit one (or all!) of their three, awesome locations!

  What could be better than weekend brunch and board games?

What could be better than weekend brunch and board games?

 

📸**photos originate from Snakes & Lattes social media posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for this post

International Tabletop Day

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How was everyone's International Tabletop Day yesterday?

We sure wish that our doors were already open, but we hope that you all get a chance to play some games! We got in the spirit of things by officially starting our social media campaign for Bard & Baker. Starting today, you will begin to see active posts on the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for Bard & Baker by either clicking on the links or by searching us @bardandbaker

Speaking of, did you know that B&B is not only NOT the first board game café in the country, but it's not even the first one in the state? There are so many cities around the globe that you may be familiar with, but perhaps never knew had a board game café, such as: Los Angeles, Cleveland, Houston, Athens, Baltimore, Seattle, Manhattan, Utica, Hudson, Toronto, Calgary, Melbourne, Oxford, Beijing...and hundreds more!

Over the next few weeks we invite you to join us as we explore some of our favorite ones around the world, while we continue making progress on Bard & Baker. The board game café community is an incredibly friendly and supportive one. We reached out to many of them during the business planning stages of B&B to ask them questions about their board game library, kitchen size, staffing size, number of tables and seats, challenges and joys, etc, and they all happily provided us with very useful feedback to include in our business plan -- so, we are very excited to introduce you to many of them!

Have a favorite board game café that you absolutely want to see featured? Be sure to leave us a comment below to let us know!