The UK's best board game cafes and bars

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What was your favourite board game while growing up? Was it classic Monopoly? The addictive Guess Who? Or a nerve-wrecking round of Operation? We all have a much-loved game, which might be why board game cafes and bars are on the rise in the UK.

London's first board game cafe, Draughts, took the internet by storm when it launched in winter 2014 and now groups of working professionals form queues outside of the store, waiting to get a table as if it were the capital's hottest new bar.

Gone are the days when board games were reserved for family reunions during Christmas. It's become a socially acceptable activity, along the lines of drinking at the pub or going out for a meal.

So, the next time you contemplate on where to take your friends, just ask them, "Shall we meet for a game of Cluedo?"

Here are the best spots in the UK that offer brilliant board games and allow you to spend hours playing them.

  • Draughts, London

    Set in the heart of Hackney is London's first board game-themed cafe, which offers over 500 games from well-known gems, such as Monopoly and Cluedo, to ones you've never heard of. At just £5 per person, you and your friends can play as many games you want for as long as you want. 

    A range of local craft beers, ales, ciders, wines and snacks are available at the bar making it the perfect spot for a lazy evening. Be sure to reserve a table in advance.

    337 Acton Mews Haggerston, Hackney London, United Kingdom
    Nearest station: Haggerston

  • The Crown, Hastings

    Situated in the picturesque Old Town area is this newly renovated pub which has board games such as Backgammon, Scrabble, Ludo and Chess stencilled into the tables.

    The Crown 64-66 All Saints St Hastings TN34 3BN

  • Thirsty Meeples, Oxford

    Oxford’s first and only board game café boasts over 2000 titles, creating a spectacular library along its walls. The games are organised by genre to help you decide on one and resident 'Game Gurus' can provide guidance in setting up the game and explain the rules. They even provide a table service so you don’t need to leave a heated game.

    Gloucester Green, 99 Gloucester Street, Oxford OX1 2DF

  • Ludo Lounge in Bournemouth

    This informal, neighbourhood cafe and bar is open all day offering classic games including Jenga , Monopoly,  Scrabble, Chess, Connect 4 and of course, Ludo. 

    34 Southbourne Grove, Southbourne, Bournemouth, BH6 3RA

  • Loading in Dalston, London

    Inspired by the gaming cafes of Tokyo, this cocktail bar first opened in Soho in 2010, before moving to a much bigger location in Dalston last year. Now the retro-themed drinking spot has over 100 games on offer to play for free from favourites like Cards Against Humanity to newer games you may not have tried such as The Walking Dead Card Game based on the hit TV show. Plus, the cocktails are game-themed.

    97 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 8BX
    Closest station: Dalston Kingsland

  • Bel & The Dragon country inn, Cookham

    Just 40 minutes from London lies this country pub that has a giant checkers board in its gardens. Particularly in the summer, people bring their drinks out and play the game in large groups. 

    High Street, Cookham, Berkshire, SL6 9SQ

  • The crown and two chairmen, Soho, London

    You'd be hard pushed to find a better place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. Follow up a home-cooked roast lunch with a round of Cranium and cocktails. Other games on offer include the Logo Board Game, Scrabble and Monopoly.

    31-32 Dean Street, London W1D 3SB
    Nearest tube stop: Tottenham Court Rd

  • The Candid café in Angel, London

    Through a tiny door and up two flights of stairs in Angel lies this late night cafe where you can often see groups of people playing from a great selection of board games. The furniture is perfect for game-playing too with a communal table surrounded by red velvet chairs and there is an outdoor courtyard with plenty of seating for when it gets warmer.

    3 Torrens St, London EC1V 1NQ
    Nearest tube stop: Angel

  • Scootercaffè in Lambeth, London

    The quirky and haphazard interior of Scootercaffè (formerly Scooterworks) naturally lends itself to playing board games. Go with a friend (the cafe is too small for big groups), grab a coffee made from a retro 1957 Faema espresso machine, and pick a game from their stack of classic to while away the hours. Thankfully, the space is open late.

    132 Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London SE1 7AE
    Nearest tube stop: Lambeth North

  • Westow House in Crystal Palace, London

    This beautiful, traditional pub has lots of games stashed away behind the bar to play on its comfy old Chesterfield sofas and vintage tables. 

    79 Westow Hill, Gipsy Hill, London SE19 1TX
    Nearest station: Crystal Palace

  • The Book Club, Shoreditch, London

    This popular, laid back bar is a great spot to play games, from your classic boards to ping pong to pool, all the while sipping on delicious cocktails.

    100-106 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 4RH
    Nearest tube stop: Liverpool Street

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