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101 Things To Do in London: Draughts

5 perfect places to play board games in London

Bored? You won't be after you’ve played one of the many board games London has up its sleeve

Written by
Ashleigh Arnott

Once upon a time board games were synonymous with boredom; something you only dragged out if the internet was down or if your nan was over on Christmas Day. Not anymore. They’ve had something of a cool makeover in recent years, and as we all get more and more sick of staring at our phones all day long, board games are a great way to connect with friends and let off some steam IRL.

When Draughts opened in London all the way back in 2014, board game cafés and bars started popping up all over the capital, making it possible to enjoy a game while getting boozy – just how your nan intended it. Now, they’re here to stay. Here are some of the best – although we should warn you, tensions can tend to run high over Monopoly.

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Where to play board games in London

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Haggerston

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 800 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.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Dalston

You don’t always have to plan your game session ahead of time. London now boasts several board game cafés, but Scenario’s the only one to boast game-themed cocktails. The cosy downstairs has plenty of consoles, but it’s their library of over 100 board games that will have you stuck there for hours.

Chess in Norfolk Square Gardens
  • Attractions
  • Public spaces
  • Paddington

Beautiful Norfolk Square Gardens, tucked just off the main road in front of Paddington Station boasts formal lawns, floral beds and ornamental shrubs. Also, a giant chess set. Will playing with rooks that come up to your knee help your strategy? Possibly not, but at least you’ll get a bit of fresh air out of it.

Beer & Boardgames at The Beer Hive
  • Bars and pubs
  • Breweries
  • Brixton

The wonderful Clarkshaws brews its beer in this Loughborough Junction co-op, and these monthly events are a chance to challenge your pals to a, well, challenging game while you drink your way through the beers.

The Library Pot
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Richmond

This Richmond games café has a selection of 505+ games (at last count) plus a bar serving everything from beers to absinthe. On a weekday the first two hours are free providing you buy one drink an hour, then afterward it costs just £2 per hour to play. At the weekend, it costs £5 per hour.

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