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Draughts

Things to do, Games and hobbies Haggerston
4 out of 5 stars
(25user reviews)
 (© Rob Greig)
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© Rob Greig
 (© Rob Greig)
2/3
© Rob Greig
 (© Rob Greig)
3/3
© Rob Greig

If the phrase 'Let's play Seven Wonders' means more to you than a Fleetwood Mac-related DJ request then you're going to be pretty darn excited at the prospect of Draughts, a bar and café with more than 500 board games available to play at customers' leisure. Entry is £5 per person, but that buys you unlimited play and, crucially, the help of a 'game guru', who'll offer guidance on which will suit your group best and how the rules work. The library includes everything from Articulate and Cranium to newer (and more complex) classics Carcassonne and Pandemic. Food, craft beer, ale, cider and wine are on sale all day.

Read our blog post about Draughts

Posted:

Venue name: Draughts
Contact:
Address: 337 Acton Mews
London
E8 4EA
Transport: Overground: Haggerston
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Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:12
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|25
2 people listening
tastemaker

Super fun place to come for an afternoon of games! The food and drinks are lovely and I like that they are served straight to your table while you are playing. It's a cosy environment and conveniently located near the Overground station. 

tastemaker

Name ANY board game, they've got it! This place is amazing! You can literally spend hours here with friends or even on a date and let your inner child out. Whats even better is that you can order snacks and drinks whilst you play and its all relative cheap. Great way to spend an afternoon with family or friends and learning to play games you've never heard of, uncovering skills you didn't know you had. Win win!!

tastemaker

Great place for board game lovers, vast library to choose from with excellent atmosphere.


One negative is the food is slightly too expensive for what you get however you can tell they are trying to get food you can still play games with.


Worth a trip with a bunch of mates looking to play new games.



Tastemaker

Draughts is a quirky little bar and cafe which focuses on the playing of board games. It's great to grab a bunch of friends and head down but equally on a solo venture you will find you have no shortage of willing players. It's a fun way to meet people and play your favourite games, and also find new favourite games as they have I we 500 to go at. So grab your counters, deal your cards, spin the wheel and don't forget the dice as before you know it you'll be on a roll!

tastemaker

As a board game geek I'm so happy this place exists!


Before I moved to London I frequently organised board game nights with my friends in my living room. We brought our game collection together, had comfortable amount of space (up to about 8 people) and always had a lovely time. Then I became a Londoner without a living room and not big enough room/kitchen to continue this tradition and I lost a fun part of my life.


Then I discovered Draughts!


This place gives me back the old game night vibes: a collection which gives me chills (in a good way), a nice sized table (up to 8 people) and the good times.


It has flaws of course (the venue can pack up easily (especially on weekends) and become noisy also the quality of the table service has some ups and downs), but overall Draughts is one of my favourite places in the city.


Visit and discover/rediscover the benefits of play!

tastemaker

In love with this venue! Brimming with board games, grab a table with some friends and get the drinks in! Perfect for a rainy day in or for a date with that special tinder match! Loved discovering new games and crying with laughter as we attempted to draw the most hilarious clues (Gutterhead).

Hours of fun!!!


I went there on a rainy Saturday afternoon, and had a great time. From the familiar to the unknown, you can pick any board game you want. Staff is always available to explain you any game you wouldn't know, and there are so many games that you wonder how they can know all of them. It gets busy on weekends and the square woody chairs are not so comfortable...

if you want to discover new games, this is the place, but it will never replace a board game moment at home with family or friends.

tastemaker

I had a really great time here when I first moved to London. Since then I tried to take different groups of friends here and each time we were greeted with a very strong and foul smell. It may be the cheese they are serving or just poor ventilation, but the group always opted to do something else instead.


I love to go here mainly because I love boarding games, I've been here multiple times and always had a lot of fun, both with friends and work colleagues. The staff is very helpful with suggestion about games to play and to help you understand the rules quickly. 

They could improve the service and the food that are quite average. It's difficult to get their attention, the food is overpriced for what it is.

Tastemaker

Draughts has been on my list of top London things to try for a long time, so it's perhaps not surprising that in the end it was a disappointment. It's not the easiest place to reach or find, but when you finally arrive you're greeted by a large, bright and welcoming room under the railway arches. The board game selection is excellent, and it's fantastic that you can have a look at the options online before your visit. That's where most positives end. On a Friday night, the place was packed - not always a negative but at Draughts the tables are so closely crammed together that when it's busy you're constantly moving and squeezing to allow people to pass. The frenetic atmosphere was heightened by the fact that people waiting for a table were crowded by the bar - and the noise was pretty prohibitive for actual gameplay. Draughts sells itself on its game guru staff members, who can help you choose the right game and assist with the rules. Not on this occasion - they were too rushed off their feet serving food and drink, which incidentally was slow to arrive (but was tasty when it did). Perhaps most frustratingly many of the games we tried were missing key components, and looked like they would soon be in the £5 bargain box at the front of the shop. In summary, if what you're after is a fun game of tipsy Articulate, then Draughts on a Friday night is a great bet. If you're looking for something a little more strategic, and perhaps to explore some new games, then I can't recommend it based on my experience.


Had a REALLY good time at Draughts! very fun atmosphere and great game choices. Highly recommended

tastemaker

This place is amazing and I can’t get over how many board games there are in the world!  This is a great way to spend a free day and is relatively cheap at £5.  The staff are excellent, especially the Canadian guy who was an encyclopaedia of board games but also very patient at helping us choose a suitable game and explaining the rules to us.  Go!

tastemaker

Draughts is great fun and is one themed bar worth visiting of the many that are out there right now. For just five pounds you and your friends can transport yourselves back to childhood with a game of Kerplunk, Hungry Hippos or Frustration. Besides being insanely fun, Draughts provides a brilliant opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, with classics such as Monopoly, Cluedo and Connect Four, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble for trivia fans and wordsmiths, and for the filthy minded amongst us- Cards Against Humanity. Enjoy a fun-filled evening of nostalgia, your inner child will love you for it.

Tastemaker

When it's raining and all you want to do is play board games, go to draughts where there are boundless. 4 hour slots on the weekend or unlimited during the week, the staff there are so helpful and knowledgable you could listen to their recommendations forever. They made sure we didn't have to wait long (it was a Sunday night) and even asked some people to move table so the 6 of us could fit around a table. Board games and Bad Brownies (the brand) you could be here all night!

Tastemaker

Draughts cafe is just so very much fun for the inner kid! I went there with 3 friends not knowing what to expect, full of slight trepidation that everyone would be super competitive about board games and I would be left feeling like an idiot. Of course if I won that would solve everything. :) We waited briefly for a table to open up as you can't book at weekends, as it was pointed out, and then sat down at the comfortable table with the convenient little wire shelf under the tabletop. A 'game guru' asked us what we were in the mood for and guided us toward a fun game for our group of 4 which is called 'Ticket to Ride.' She was great at recommending the best game and very good at explaining how to play it. She also brought us drinks and bar snacks which made me very happy. We spent a fun couple of hours strategising through train building and I nearly won, which is important. We then played a bit of Cards Against Humanity and I did definitely win that one, proving only that I have the sickest sense of humour of my friends. 

Tastemaker

You may think you love board games. And you may think you have already mastered your favourite games. But Draughts opens a whole new world! Literally walls covered in games - everything from your typical Articulate! (my favourite!) to random fantasy games that could take you hours to complete! What makes Draughts great is that the people who work here really know their shizz. Just tell them what kind of game you'd like to play and they will come back with options, talk you through how to play each game and even sit with you through the first few minutes to make sure you've really got it! This is a great spot for a date, catching up with friends and could even be good for small team socials. There is a bit of a wait at times (we waited about 30 minutes for a table) and you do have to pay £5 but it's worth it for endless fun (restricted to 4 hours)! I'd definitely recommend it here, a nice change from all those pubs that have a few tatty looking board games shoved in the corner.

Tastemaker

Really unique and valuable addition to the London alternative activities scene. The variety of board games is highly impressive - as a board games geek I could not think of a single game I enjoy playing that wasn't present. There also seems to be a bit of community feel about the place with peoples' birthdays listed on the blackboard, and regular visits from board game experts. Only issue is that this place is perhaps too busy - I popped in once on a Saturday at 5pm and had a 3 hour wait for a table for 2!

Tastemaker

I’m a big fan of Draughts. They don’t take weekend reservations but you can put your names down and hope for the best - we popped in at around 5.30pm on a Saturday and were told to return at 9.30 when they did manage to save us a spot. We stayed until close at midnight and could have happily played for hours more. Grab a drink and enlist the help of the game gurus to help you choose - even with their colour coding system there’s a pretty overwhelming offer! Also much more fun to have someone explain the rules to you rather than leafing through yourself.

Tastemaker

Nestled under Haggerston's railway arches is a little tardis of modern culture coupled with a flashback to your youth. For the princely sum of £5 you can game to your heart's content. The corner of the cafe houses a whole library of games from classics such as Cluedo, through to Cards against humanity and new kids on the block, Fun Employed. If you want to test your brains, head for the strategy section. However, if you're up for some mindless fun (as we were), grab a cocktail from the appetising menu and get stuck into a simpler offering. After testing our wit with Cards against humanity, we lowered the tone further with a renegade version of Banagrams topped off nicely with Hungry Hippos. The food on offer is OK, tasty, but small portions, but after all, it's all about the games. Staff are really informative wizards of the gaming world, on hand when you need them with plenty of tips and recommendations. I like the concept of this place, it's a refreshing break from the monotony of a standard bar and it encourages you to actually interact with each other without the need to be permanently attached to a phone. A great spot for an evening with mates or a novel place to while away a Sunday afternoon. Highly recommended.


I am in love with this place, if you like cool staff and a cool atmosphere to go with it, this is the place for you. The staff are pretty attentive which i love and there are literally hundreds of board games to choose from. If you have a little nerd in you then this place is perfect! I went with my best-friend and we stayed here for hours!

Tastemaker

I know, I know… You’re all fed up with hispter cafés. But wait, Draughts is actually pretty fun. I mean, who doesn’t like an afternoon of board games with your best mates? You can play whatever you like for how long you like, this is how cool that is. I recommend choosing a game at least one of you knows though. Because, believe me, spending 30min trying to figure out the rules of The Hobbit is a bit shitty. You can order drinks and have food platters and other nibbles served at your table if you need refuelling. Pretty cool!

Tastemaker

An excellent place to spend a lazy Sunday's. £5 to play the games (unlimited time). We stayed for a couple of hours and played a few games we'd never heard of. It would be a huge shame to go here and just play monopoly. The guys that work here will help you pick the perfect game and are super patient enough to sit with you until understand. The table next to us decided on a Game of Thrones and has a member of staff with them for over and hour! Simple but good food and a decent bar. Happy to have this one in the area and will be back over Winter I'm sure!

Tastemaker

I visited Draughts in a group of six people on a Friday evening- we were all aware of London's new board game café through word of mouth and its highly publicized quirkiness in blogs and social media. The primary concern was that we could guarantee getting a table for a group, as lengthy waits and snaking queues are to be expected with this ilk of trendy London venue. Draughts only takes reservations during the week, so we ditched our original plan to meet up for a Sunday afternoon of retro games. Instead, we made the latest possible reservation on a Friday, which was at 19:00. We had a table waiting for us and we remarked that there wasn't an empty table for the duration of the evening, so I would avoid chancing it. The café actually can't sit that many large groups- maybe about 20 in total- and the nature of the activity on offer encourages people to arrive and stay until closing time.


The café is open and there's a fair amount of space between tables, which is advantageous for groups who opt for games that require concentration. However, we did remark the strange tone in the room for a Friday night, as there were many groups who had committed themselves to role play/strategy games that were not as social as the games that we happily engaged in (yes, there were no fewer than three rounds of Hungry, Hungry Hippos and Moustache Smash respectively). Our revelry was met with stern expressions and disgust from one table of very serious looking hipsters.


The café works like this: there is a wide selection of board games, ranging from tried classics to esoteric curiosities (Salmon Run or Cards Against Humanity- tough call). Games are displayed on shelves in the back of the café, categorised under sections such as 'family', 'strategy' and 'group-friendly'. The staff mingle around and will offer to help you find exactly what you're after- a board game crack dealer if there ever was one- and they bubble over with boundless enthusiasm over each game.


You pay £5 as an entry fee (our fees were just applied to our table's tab) and there is a bar with some good local beers- Camden Brewery and Meantime are represented and Crate cider was a nice local touch. There are small dishes- mostly compact but appealing sandwiches for about £5 each or a meat or mezze sharing board that looked appetising. Be aware, though- between entry fees and about three drinks each, we managed to spend about £50 between two people!


It was novel and we did have a great time- the nadir was the fact that the version of Mousetrap on offer was alien to our entire table and looked like a cheap knock-off of the version we played as children. We were very curious about the games that other groups were playing and I feel that a second group outing is warranted for more adventurous choices.


It's maybe not as cheap for a night out- outside snacks are discouraged, for instance- but everyone should spend a soggy afternoon here. If they could improve the Friday night ambiance, it would be even better for a bit of silly fun after a long working week.


It's just a shame about weekend reservations!

Tastemaker

East London gets saddled with lots of eyerolling at the veritable abundance of themed cafes that have mushroomed up in the past few years. If your jam is cats, then Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium near Brick Lane will definitely be your conserve. Not too far away on Brick Lane, is the target of much mockery, Cereal Killer Cafe. And now, Draughts is here to cater to all your gaming needs. Whether you're the kind of gamer who comes armed with a cape and a ten-sided die or you're after the simpler delights of the more traditional family board games, Draughts caters to all. For those not so au fait with the modern board game scene, the array of games might seem dizzying but all the staff there are incredibly well-versed in all the games and they can even save you the headache of reading the rules leaflet and walk you through the gameplay! The only drawback to the fun of Draughts is that the no-bookings fever has hit Haggerston and you aren't able to book a table at the weekends. Having chanced my arm twice on a Sunday and succeeded in scoring a table, it's definitely worth a bet. 

0 of 1 found helpful

Avoid Avoid Avoid! We had a really bad experience at Draughts and I'm really disappointed to have taken my friends there. We waited for over an hour for our food and weren't given any updates on when it would arrive even after enquiring several times. We waited until after our (very delayed) dinner to start playing board games, and the three games we tried to play all had pieces missing or no instructions which was really frustrating as we arrived in a big group and deciding on games wasn't that easy. When we asked for the bill and complained about the wait and the incomplete games, the management "generously" offered to take a whole £5 off our £150 bill - when we argued this further, the manager basically threw us out. Such a shame, as I had already planned on spending my birthday here but won't ever be back after the terrible experience we had.

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