- What is a board game café? A board game café is a hybrid model of game space and food venue. We provide an extensive library of board and card games, as well as a coffeehouse café style menu of food and drink, all under the same roof.
- How does it work? For a flat cover charge for gaming/seating, you can play as many games as you want for as long as you want. Upon payment of the cover, you will get a dated sticker that lets the staff know you’ve paid for your gaming/seating (and so we don’t double-charge you should you get hungry or thirsty later on, and return to the front counter for food or drink). We have an array of sandwiches, cornmeal crust pizzas, and sweet treats (including our homemade pies). For coffee drinkers, we have a full espresso bar with coffee supplied by Los Angeles roaster Groundwork.
- Is food or drink included in the gaming/seating fee? The gaming/seating fee is essentially a cover charge; food and drink purchased from the café are additional expenses.
- How long is the gaming/seating fee good for? Customers can stay and play games for as long as they’d like in one sitting. We have people playing for an hour or two, or playing all day long; we do not impose a time limit on your visit.
- Do customers have to pay the gaming/seating fee if they are not playing? Due to our popularity, at peak times (such as during the weekends, or when we have waitlisted groups) customers are required to pay for the gaming/seating fee, even if they choose not to play games. This also includes situations where some members of a group may be gaming, while others are not. However, at slower times (such as during the afternoon on a weekday), the gaming/seating fee is not necessary if you are only stopping for coffee or lunch.
- Can customers play for a while, then leave and return later? Short of a break to stretch your legs, grab a cigarette, or run to your car for a jacket, we don’t allow in-and-out privileges; customers who leave for an extended period of time (such as to purchase food or eat at a different venue) will be required to purchase a gaming/seating cover charge again. Additionally, due to how busy we are during peak times, we could not guarantee that there would be seating space available once you returned.
- When are your peak/busy times? Usually Friday evenings, and Saturdays and Sundays are our busiest times. We often have a number of reservations or events on the weekends, too, so it’s best to arrive early to get a table to avoid landing on our waitlist.
- How does waitlisting work when you are at full capacity? During peak times, we can take down your name and party size information, and when a table becomes available, we will let you know as soon as possible. Due to the popularity of the venue and the large number of wait-listed groups that can accumulate on busy days, we do not take phone numbers to text or call when a table is ready; your group must be present when a table opens up. In order to avoid this on busy days, we highly recommend making a reservation ahead of time to avoid substantial wait times which might occur.
- What is the parking situation? Parking is available in the Seeley Studios Building lot (of which we are a part) with a cash-only valet during weekdays. On weeknights and weekends, the valet is not in attendance, so parking is first-come, first-served. Otherwise, there is plenty of street parking along Brand Blvd. and Glendale Ave. north of San Fernando, as well as on the adjacent side streets in the neighborhood. There are no parking meters within three blocks of our front door.
- Do you take credit cards? Yes, we take VISA, Mastercard, and Discover; unfortunately we do not take American Express. There is a $5.00 minimum on credit card transactions; there is no minimum on debit card transactions.
Food and Drink Questions
- Can customers bring their own food and drink into the café? No – because we are effectively a restaurant and make a good portion of our income through in-house sales, we do not allow any form of outside food or drink into the café. This also extends to baked goods such as birthday cakes, as we have an exclusive arrangement for sweet with our bakery partner, Tasteful Cakes.
- Do you serve alcohol? At present, we are not licensed to serve alcohol of any kind with the state of California, nor are we zoned for alcohol of any kind with the city of Glendale. We are actively seeking to establish it, and we hope to be able to do so in the future.
- Can customers bring their own beer/alcohol? The state of California precludes us from allowing BYOB, since we do not have a license for alcohol consumption. Also, our zoning use certificate prohibits the “sales, service, or consumption of alcohol without a conditional use permit.”
- Do you serve vegetarian or vegan foods? We have a few options that are vegetarian or pescatarian. For vegans, we can omit mayonnaise as well as substitute vegan cheese (depending on availability) for a surcharge. Unfortunately we do not currently stock vegan sweets but we plan to do so soon.
- Do you serve gluten-free foods? We usually stock gluten-free bread (pending availability) for our sandwiches, and can do a number of them “as a salad,” so to speak, without bread. We do not have gluten-free sweets. If your diet requires us to change the way we prepare our food due to gluten allergies, please let us know as soon as you order, so that we can make accommodations and ensure that the kitchen is promptly alerted.
- Do you have milk alternatives available for coffee and espresso drinks? We usually stock soy milk and almond milk, in addition to skim or fat-free milk.
- Can customers get food and drink to go? Of course – you can even call ahead to order, and we can have it ready for pickup.
Reservation and Event Questions
- Can customers make reservations? Yes – in fact, we highly encourage it on our busy days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) or on days in which you expect a large group of people (greater than six).
- How do customers make reservations? All reservations require a full pre-payment on the attendees’ gaming/seating fees. This is $5.00 per person on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and $10.00 per person on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Payment can be made in-person or over the phone via credit card. (You can call us at 818.937.9061)
- Why are reservations on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays more expensive? These days are usually very busy, and due to our business model, reservations require a good deal of management and engineering when it comes to seating during peak times. Plus, reservations guarantee customers are “fast-tracked” and seated for the reserved time, and not waitlisted like some walk-in or drop-in customers might be during those times.
- How far in advance do reservations need to be made? Because of the stay-and-play nature of our business model, customers need to make reservations at least the day beforehand. Same-day reservations are impossible to accommodate. Due to the popularity of our venue, we highly encourage reservations being made as soon as you know how many will be in your group.
- Can reservations be made for groups who don’t know their final headcount? We highly encourage customers who make reservations to get as accurate a headcount as possible before reserving. This is to ensure that we can best accommodate the group size and place them in appropriate seating based on this. There is no refund or rebate on un-used reserved seats – should you reserve for a group of ten and only nine of your guests arrive, you have still paid for space for ten.
- What happens if more guests arrive for a reserved event than originally anticipated? ? If we can accommodate the overflow, we make arrangements with the person who made the reservation to also pay for the additional guests. The rate for these additional guests is the same as the original rate for the remainder of the party’s reservations ($5.00 per person on Tuesday through Thursday, and $10.00 per person on Friday through Sunday). However, we encourage people making reservations to get as accurate a number as possible when reserving, to avoid situations where we cannot seat the additional guests in the best possible way due to how busy our venue can become.
- Do you host private events like birthdays, anniversaries, etc.? For special events please call us at 818.937.9061 during business hours and we can help you with planning your event.
- Are there package events to choose from? At present, we do not offer any form of package deals for events or parties, but it is something we are considering for the future.
- Do you offer memberships or other special perks? We offer a monthly membership for $25.00, which covers the gaming/seating fee for one person for an entire month. (Example – if you purchase a membership on April 10th, it would be good up to and including May 9th.) Membership cards are issued upon purchase, and are non-transferrable. Here’s a complete list of membership rules and guidelines.
- Do you do fundraiser events? At present, we don’t host fundraiser events at our location; in the past we have donated goods/services to certain charities which are important to us, or are in some way or form connected to the boardgaming hobby. If you would like to be considered for a charity donation, please email us here (LINK) and we can review it to determine if we can help. We have a fixed budget for charity allowances, so please understand that we cannot accommodate all requests.
- Do you allow film shoots at your location? We have done so in the past; depending on the circumstances and size/scale/scope of the production, it would require an appropriate location fee as well as some other logistics worked out. We usually cannot film on weekends (Friday night through Sunday night) unless other arrangements can be made well in advance. For larger film shoots and/or those involving substantial equipment (expensive camera gears, lights, etc.) we require a certificate of insurance naming our business as additionally insured, as well as that of the property owners and building management companies. If you are interested in shooting at our location, you can contact us directly to discuss the project and how we might be able to accommodate.
- How many games are in your library? We started in November of 2013 with 650 games, and we now have over 1200 individual titles!
- Is there a list of the games in your library? We don’t maintain a printed inventory of the games, since we are constantly adding to the collection. We do have our entire library logged at Boardgamegeek.com – check out this link for the most up-to-date list of titles in our library.
- Do you have games that are good for kids? We have a number of those familiar family favorite games that parents grew up playing when they were kids (Clue, Monopoly, Sorry, Life, etc.) as well as a small section of games for children aged seven and up. Please note, though, that a good portion of the game library is geared to high school/college aged or adult audience in terms of complexity and length.
- Do you sell games? At present, we do not have a retail element established with our business. It’s definitely something we would like to institute in the future; if you are looking for certain titles, we could recommend a number of local games stores or sources which might have them in stock.
- Do you host tournaments, tutorials, or other gaming events? From time to time, we will host tournaments and feature demos or tutorials of popular titles, as well as playtest events for local designers to try out their unpublished games. We encourage people to subscribe to or check our social media for announcements of these events.
- Can customers come “solo” and get into games with other players? It varies – sometimes customers can drop into “pick-up” games with other groups, but we usually cannot guarantee that those opportunities are available at any given time. It is usually more difficult during the weekend, when we have little flexibility when it comes to table space and seating. We hope to schedule more solo-gamer nights for pick-up gaming in the future.
- Can customers bring and play their own games? Yes, we encourage it, especially if it’s a title which we do not stock in our library. We highly suggest for people to mark or tag their games with their name if they are titles which we also stock. The gaming/seating fee still applies, though, whether you play games from our collection of your own.
- Can customers request games that aren’t in your library? If there’s a particular game you think might be great for our collection, suggest it to the staff or management; it very well could also be on our “to-get” list, or may be a title which we are planning on adding to the library in the future.
The Business of Board Games
- Is there a contact for television or print interviews, news articles, and other media inquiries? Sure, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to get in touch.
- “I want to open a board game café, and I need advice. Can you answer some questions?” Sometimes – however, please understand that we are often very busy, so we cannot accommodate all requests of this nature, nor be able to provide answers to every question. Inquiries regarding specific cities or areas (such as other countries) are especially difficult for us to address, since we may be unfamiliar with standards, zoning, and regional government regulations. Also, we are unable to share information of a sensitive or confidential nature, which may include financial or cash-flow projections, profit-and-loss records, balance sheets, etc. Depending on what you might want to create, we highly recommend that people considering this sort of business do a great deal of research into the food service industry, as the bulk of expenses, maintenance, work, and day-to-day effort will revolve around that aspect of it.
- Are you planning on expanding or opening additional locations? Expansion is always a topic of conversation with us; when we do expand or open additional locations, we will be sure to let everyone know via our social media channels.
- Are you set up to franchise the business? At present, we are not; however, it is something we have begun researching, so anything is possible.