Board Game cafés have become a staple of downtown Toronto. From bars with minimal games, such as The Central, to full blown gamer spots like Snakes & Lattes, the city has plenty to offer in regards to both board games and caffeine. While Snakes & Lattes and its cousin, Snakes & Lagers, are the most popular of the crowd, here are a series of lesser-known spots that you may want to investigate.
Bampot Bohemian House of Tea and Board Games
201 Harbord Street
$5 to play, $3 if you order a meal as well
Besides an interesting name, this café also features many secluded, curtained-off nooks you can hang out in to hide away for an afternoon. The place is covered in different fabrics, giving a cottage-like atmosphere for playing your favourite board games. In order to create an easier decision-making process for the customer, Bambot lists their favourite games in the menu, along with the number of players required, difficulty level, and the ‘genre’ of the game (‘party,’ ‘casual,’ etc.). While Bampot has a charming atmosphere, the service is unfortunately a little on the slow side. It’s definitely a good place to hang out with friends, but you’ll probably want to eat elsewhere before-hand.
Time Capsule Café
2183 Danforth Ave.
Unfortunately for UTSG students, Time Capsule is a bit of a trek. But if you’re searching for the prime spot to hunker down and play some games, then going out east may be worth your while. Apart from the run-of-the-mill board games like chess, Jenga, or Settlers of Catan, Time Capsule also holds a PlayStation, an assortment of video games, and the occasional Netflix movie night. If you’re feeling a certain competitive edge, you’re free to participate in their video game tournaments, or in a hilarious round of Cards Against Humanity.
454 Spadina Avenue
Castle is one of the most definitively game-focused cafés in the city. That means their collection is extensive, but there isn’t much focus on anything else. The café has an entire wall dedicated to games, which is great, but it could have been made easier with a compiled list, so that you don’t have to scan the wall for the better part of your visit. The attentive staff serve cute, coffee shop style snacks, a few thematic alcoholic drinks (“Apples to Apple Jacks” for $6), and classic caffeine-related beverages. Castle is the go-to café if you’re dedicated to the board game experience, but might be worth skipping if you were hoping for a more atmospheric venue.