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Play & Palate: 5 Best Board Game Cafes in Vancouver

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We’ve been going to cafes to share conversations, sip a cup of Joe, and maybe munch on crispy fries, but we’ve discovered something a little better – board game cafes!

We exchanged laughs, good food, and fiery competition with friends while playing our favorite board games. It was such a refreshing and immersive experience that we couldn’t get enough of it, so we made this list.

Vancouver’s Best Board Game Cafes

Board game cafes are a unique way to bond with our loved ones. Not only is it fun, but it also allows us to engage in friendly competition and strategic thinking. That’s why we’ve picked ones that are easy to find and have tons of board game varieties.

Check out the criteria below to see how we’ve assessed these board game cafes in Vancouver:

Location: In this criterion, we selected board game cafes that are conveniently located in accessible areas of Vancouver.
Variety
Game Library: We take a look at the variety of board games available in each cafe. We made sure to choose cafes that have a wide range of game options, from classic favorites to newer, more niche games.
Food and Drink Selection: We evaluate the food and drink selection offered at each board game cafe.
Game Knowledge: Not all customers are experienced board game players, so we considered the level of game knowledge and assistance provided by the staff at each cafe.
Customer Service
Player Reviews: In this criterion, we’ve talked with customers who have visited these board game cafes to get their feedback on the customer service they received.
Memberships and Loyalty Programs: We see if they offer any memberships or loyalty programs to their customers.

1. Back & Forth Bar

WEBSITEhttp://www.backandforthbar.com/
ADDRESS303 Columbia St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2R7, Canada
SOCIAL MEDIAFACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

CONTACT DETAILS'+1 604-564-7664
OPERATING HOURSTuesday and Wednesday: 6pm to 1am

Thursday: 5pm to 2am

Friday and Saturday: 5pm to 3am

CRITERIARATING
Location★★★★☆ 4/5
Variety★★★★★ 5/5
Game Library★★★★★ 5/5
Food and Drink Selection★★★★★ 5/5
Game Knowledge★★★★★ 5/5
Customer Service★★★★☆ 4/5
Player Reviews★★★★★ 5/5
Memberships and Loyalty Programs★★★★☆ 4/5

Back & Forth Bar is a vibrant cafe situated on Columbia Street, close to the bustling Gastown area. You can find free curbside parking right in front of the cafe.

Board games here are free, as long as you leave some ID. Some of the games you can play here include Cards of Humanity, Jenga, Checkers, What the Meme, Taboo, Pictionary, and a whole lot more.

It’s cool to see they’ve got more fun stuff too, like those six ping pong tables all set up. Just make sure you don’t get caught in the crossfire of ping pong balls.

It’s a bit of a downer that their food menu is quite limited, but we appreciate the fact that they’re okay with you bringing in food from outside, and they even recommend some good pizza spots nearby.

But they definitely make up for it in the drinks department. They have a great selection of draft beers, cocktails, and a range of stronger spirits, including vodka, rum, gin, whiskey, and bourbon, just to name a few.

Another aspect we found enjoyable was the ample table space for larger groups and the quirky decor with hanging lights and silly staff photos displayed on the walls.

Pros

  • Good variety of board games
  • Nice selection of drinks

Cons

  • No membership program

Customer Reviews

Super fun bar with board games

“Super fun bar with ping pong, board games, weird pictures of the staff posted on the wall lol, all around great vibes…”

-Olivia

Awesome place to hang out

“Awesome place to hang out, play ping pong, darts, or available board games! Best part – you can bring outside food or order/purchase instant noodles, pasta (chef boyardee), or pizza pops!.”

-Darren S.

2. Pizzeria Ludica

WEBSITEhttp://www.ludica.ca/
ADDRESS189 Keefer Pl, Vancouver, BC V6B 6L4, Canada
SOCIAL MEDIAFACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

CONTACT DETAILS'+1 604-669-5552
OPERATING HOURSMonday to Thursday: 5pm to 9:30pm

Friday and Saturday: 4pm to 10:30pm

Sunday: 4pm to 10:30pm

CRITERIARATING
Location★★★★★ 5/5
Variety★★★★★ 5/5
Game Library★★★★★ 5/5
Food and Drink Selection★★★★★ 5/5
Game Knowledge★★★★☆ 4/5
Customer Service★★★★☆ 4/5
Player Reviews★★★★★ 5/5
Memberships and Loyalty Programs★★★★☆ 4/5

Pizzeria Ludica is renowned for its unique concept that combines traditional stone-baked pizza with an extensive collection of board and card games that you can enjoy for free while dining.

They’re right across the International Village Globe, and there’s tons of public pay parking slots, so you won’t have to worry about finding a place to park your car.

When we say that the board games here are endless, we mean they are truly endless. Pizzeria Ludica boasts over 1,244 different games, ranging from strategy, role-playing, party, and classic games.

What’s even more awesome is that they sort these games out depending on their difficulty level, so whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned gamer, you’ll easily find something that suits your taste.

The food and drink selection here at Pizzeria Ludica is also extensive, with numerous options of salads and soups, appetizers, pasta, and, of course, pizza.

Please be aware that you won’t find any alcoholic drinks at this place because it’s geared towards a family-friendly atmosphere.

But don’t worry; they have a wide selection of non-alcoholic beverages available, including a range of fizzy sodas, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate.

Pros

  • Over 1,244 different board games
  • Wide selection of food and drinks

Cons

  • No alcoholic beverages available

Customer Reviews

Interesting concept for a pizzeria

“Such a cool and interesting concept for a pizzeria! Pizzeria Ludica offers the opportunity to play some board games while also having some hot and delicious wood-fired pizza on the side.

-Stephanie C.

Cozy place with board games

“An interesting concept to have board games with your dinner! It’s a small cozy place with a shelf of games and some themed dishes with mainly a pizza & pasta menu…”

-Lucy C.

3. Turquoise Goat

WEBSITEhttps://turquoisegoat.com/
ADDRESS122 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G8, Canada
SOCIAL MEDIAFACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

CONTACT DETAILS'+1 778-909-4628
OPERATING HOURSMonday to Thursday: 4pm to 11pm

Friday: 1pm to 12am

Saturday: 12pm to 12am

Sunday: 12pm to 11pm

CRITERIARATING
Location★★★★★ 5/5
Variety★★★★☆ 4/5
Game Library★★★★☆ 4/5
Food and Drink Selection★★★★★ 5/5
Game Knowledge★★★★★ 5/5
Customer Service★★★★☆ 4/5
Player Reviews★★★★☆ 4/5
Memberships and Loyalty Programs★★★★★ 5/5

Centrally located along W Hastings Street, you’ll find Turquoise Goat. This is your spot for an analog board game cafe where you can dive into a diverse range of board games while snacking on popcorn and sipping drinks.

From what we’ve seen, there’s quite a selection of the classics, like D&D, Duel, and Star Wars, as well as newer and more unique games that you’ve probably never heard of, like Harrow Country, City Builder, and Dune.

We couldn’t help but notice that the menu here has that classic diner vibe. They’ve got everything from fries and sandwiches to pancakes, burritos, and even Rocky Point ice cream.

We were also thrilled about their cereal bar, which features a bunch of cereals like Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies, Lucky Charms, and Nesquik. You can pair them with your pick of blue vanilla, 3.25%, or 8.25% oat milk.

In addition, Turquoise Goat also offers a variety of local craft beers, a selection of red and white wines, and creative cocktails to complement your meal.

They’ve also got a nice range of non-alcoholic beverages, such as premium loose-leaf teas, soda, coffee, juices, and probiotic sodas, which we found pretty appealing.

Turquoise Goat also offers gift cards that you can give out to friends, and they sell these in individual and bulk orders, which is a huge plus for special occasions or as a thoughtful gesture.

Pros

  • Unique board game selection
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available

Cons

  • Relatively pricey food

Customer Reviews

Variety of food and drinks

“Great place to hang out and try  boardgames before buying! Decent price of $10 for 3 hours per person with a variety of food, drinks, and snacks…”

-Rebecca P.

Wide variety of games

“Great place to come for boardgames with a wide variety of games to play. You have to pay $10 per person to play…”

-Steph D.

4. Boardwalk Cafe and Games

WEBSITEhttp://www.abbyboardwalk.com/
ADDRESS33760 Essendene Ave, Abbotsford, BC V2S 2H2, Canada
SOCIAL MEDIAFACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

CONTACT DETAILS'+1 778-666-5006
OPERATING HOURSMonday to Friday: 4pm to 10pm

Saturday: 11am to 10pm

Sunday: 12pm to 8pm

CRITERIARATING
Location★★★★☆ 4/5
Variety★★★★★ 5/5
Game Library★★★★★ 5/5
Food and Drink Selection★★★★★ 5/5
Game Knowledge★★★★★ 5/5
Customer Service★★★★☆ 4/5
Player Reviews★★★★☆ 4/5
Memberships and Loyalty Programs★★★★★ 5/5

Boardwalk Cafe and Games, located in Abbotsford, might be an hour’s drive from the city, but we believe it’s a journey worth taking, especially considering the extensive collection of over 600 tabletop games they have available.

They’ve got a large variety of card, board, and roleplaying games, and it’s worth noting that you won’t have to be an eating customer to play these games for free.

Even if you’re just dropping in for a cup of coffee, you’re more than encouraged to play. However, keep in mind that if a large group arrives to play board games, you might be requested to switch tables to accommodate them.

In our opinion, this board game cafe might as well be called a restaurant, as the menu is absolutely wide-ranging. We’re used to seeing snacks at these types of establishments, but boy do they take it to another level.

Over at Boardwalk Cafe and Games, they offer a menu that includes flatbreads, sandwiches, hummus platters, and BBQ chicken, and the portions are so ample that it can easily qualify as a satisfying full meal.

It also caught our attention that they serve boozy milkshakes, which come in chocolate, strawberry, hazelnut, coffee cream, and pina colada flavors, so you can sip on a delicious cocktail while enjoying your meal or playing games.

Pros

  • Large variety of card, board, and roleplaying games
  • Serves boozy milkshakes

Cons

  • An hour drive from Vancouver

Customer Reviews

Tons of board games to choose from

“Very unique and cool concept. Tons of board games to choose from, great menu with cocktails, local beers, juices and cafe options…”

-Colton W.

Very welcoming staff

“It is a fantastic place to sit down, order some snacks, and play some games. The people who work here are great. Shout out to Darren for being very welcoming and answering all questions.”

-Ryan N.

5. The Raving Gamer Bistro

WEBSITEhttp://theravinggamer.ca/
ADDRESS5735 203 St # 106, Langley, BC V3A 8A7, Canada
SOCIAL MEDIAFACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

CONTACT DETAILS'+1 604-510-4414
OPERATING HOURSWednesday and Thursday: 11am to 10pm

Friday: 11am to 11pm

Saturday: 10am to 11pm

Sunday: 10am to 10pm

CRITERIARATING
Location★★★★☆ 4/5
Variety★★★★★ 5/5
Game Library★★★★★ 5/5
Food and Drink Selection★★★★★ 5/5
Game Knowledge★★★★★ 5/5
Customer Service★★★★☆ 4/5
Player Reviews★★★★☆ 4/5
Memberships and Loyalty Programs★★★★★ 5/5

The Raving Gamer Bistro serves up food and drinks in a bookstore-ish type of establishment where you get to dine while being surrounded by shelves and shelves of board games.

We certainly appreciate how large the tables are here, which allows players to play comfortably despite having multiple games set up at once.

It’s reassuring to learn that they have “Game Masters” on hand to assist customers in selecting from their extensive board game collection, which, honestly, can be quite overwhelming due to its sheer size.

The Raving Gamer Bistro is a true gem with a diverse selection, including classics like Battleship, Jenga, Bohnanza, Catan, Minecraft Builder, and Biodomes, along with Chess, Yahtzee, and many others. 

This place truly shines because it offers board games suitable for individuals of all ages and various skill levels. What’s even more awesome is the selection of grubs.

Here, you can expect to find dedicated menus for brunch, vegan options, and main courses. Their offerings include tapas-style dishes, main plates, burgers, steaks, sandwiches, and a wide variety of other delicious meals.

The beer flights were quite enjoyable, allowing you to sample four out of their eight draft beers. What’s even more appealing is that they offer special cocktails designed with gamers in mind. 

These cocktails feature whimsical names like “Analysis Paralysis” (for when you’re deep in analysis mode), “King Maker” (when your game isn’t going as planned), and “Hate Draft” (for those less graceful moments in gaming).

Pros

  • Dedicated game masters
  • Has vegetarian options

Cons

  • Some complaints about service quality

Customer Reviews

Good service and selection of games

“We stopped in for dinner on a Thursday and were super excited to check this place out. They have a huge selection of games and the service was good…”

-Scottie

Great atmosphere

“Great atmosphere amazing family owned gamer bistro. Would recommend to anyone in the area or visiting from far! Staff takes time to teach you the games and knows the perfect time to bring out the food. Thank you Myoko.”

-Kevin B.


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