The Game Parlour Experience: San Francisco’s First Board Game Cafe

Entertainment Food Games Lifestyle Reviews

If you’re a board game fan and live in or around San Francisco, you’ve probably heard of The Game Parlour – a cafe and board game hybrid spot that boasts a selection of 700+ board game. For $5, you can sit and play as many games as you’d like. The Game Parlour also offers sweet and savory waffles, ice cream, and other snacks in case you get hungry during your gameplay.

The Game Parlour – Is it worth the fee?

Initially, I was a bit skeptical of the concept of The Game Parlour. I wasn’t completely convinced about the $5 fee and if it would be worth it. If I were to come with a group to stay and play, we would collectively be paying the same or close to the price of the board game we’d be playing. What else is this place offering that is more than just the right to borrow a game and a seat at a table?

Here’s what I experienced during a three-hour stay on a Friday night:

The atmosphere of being surrounded by the board game culture.

Compared to playing board games at a friend’s house, it definitely feels better to play board games at a large venue made for organized gatherings. It’s the feeling of being surrounded by others who are also having fun playing their own respective games that makes the game you’re playing even more enjoyable. Whether it’s a family spending the night out or a group of friends wanting something to do, anyone can enjoy the atmosphere at The Game Parlour.

The thrill of looking for and trying a new game.

Photo of the Game Parlour Library

With a library of 700+ games, it’s easy to find a game you’ve never played before. When I was standing in front of the wall of games, I felt like a kid at a toy store. There were just so many to choose from, but I can only pick one to play each time!

While playing a game, you can also glance over at the other tables and see what games they’re playing. It’s always interesting to see what kind of games other people are into. A game that’s being played by the table next to you might be the game you’ll discover next!

The convenience of having everything you need to enjoy uninterrupted gameplay.

No one likes to be interrupted by breaks when they’re immersed in a game. The Game Parlour does a good job of maximizing your gaming experience by reducing the usual disruptions: hunger, thirst, and bathroom breaks.

When hunger strikes, you can always order from their menu of sweet and savory waffles and snacks. When the food is ready, an employee will bring it to your table.

Feeling a bit thirsty from all the intense gameplay? There’s a water station just a few steps away from the gaming tables. They also have soda on the menu if you’re looking for something sweet to quench your thirst.

If you’re planning to stay for a few hours (which you should be if you’re paying $5), you’ll most likely be needing a trip to the bathroom. The Game Parlour has two bathroom stalls located next to the board game library in case you need to make that trip.

Room for improvement

The Game Parlour offers a lot of perks for board game fanatics, but I feel that it still has room for improvement. Some of the issues related to customer satisfaction while others were about the pricing of certain services.

When will it be my turn?

Photo of the Game Parlour Tables

It was a Friday night at 7:30pm when I went to The Game Parlour, and the place was packed. All the tables were occupied and there were still people coming in trying to start off their game night. That had me wondering about the new people coming in. How will the potential customers know when they’ll get a spot when there isn’t a clear time of when the next table will be free? It’s all-you-can-play so there isn’t a time limit for anyone, so how does The Game Parlour accommodate the new customers while still pleasing the current ones?

Good menu selection, but overpriced.

The food at The Game Parlour is quite good (shoutout to the savory waffles!), but some of the selections are a bit overpriced for what you end up getting. For example, the $5 root beer float got me a glass of coke with a tiny scoop of ice cream. The scoop was barely the size of an egg. For $5, I would think that the scoop would be a little bigger. You know, like a typical ice cream scoop size. This experience made me second guess if I wanted to order any more snacks.

Great potential staple to the community.

They’re still a relatively new spot so I’m sure the kinks are still being worked out. With the lively environment, their friendly staff, and a massive board game offering, this place could be a potential staple in the community for a chill night out with friends and/or family.

If you’re a board game fan or just looking for a couple of hours to kill with a group of friends, give The Game Parlour a try. You’ll definitely have a blast here!

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