Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Board Games & Beyond

Originally published on Couch Assassin.

Do you like board games? Of course you do. Well, Ottawa, you’re in luck because Monopolatte is in town.

Monopolatte is Ottawa's only board game café. According to CEO David Narbaitz, the city was lacking a place to play board games that was inviting to new people. “There are a lot of places to play board games but they tend to be in the basement of comic book shops and they’re not exactly open to first time board gamers,” said Narbaitz. “I wanted to create [that] space.”

Bringing his idea to life was not as easy as Narbaitz expected. It took a year to find the ideal location for Monopolatte, and then it took another year to renovate the space. “Because the space was classified a residence, and not a commercial space, we had to deal with the City of Ottawa in order to reclassify the space,” explained Narbaitz. The initial plan was to open in the Fall of 2012, but the reclassification process took seven months. After a long wait, Monopolatte finally opened its door on June 18th.

Monopolatte's collection of board games began with Narbaitz’ personal collection of 150 games. It now includes over 720 board games. Narbaitz has traveled and hit up every Value Village from Ottawa to Toronto to stock up on games. He also attended the Great Glebe Garage Sale for a few years. Overall, the hunt for all these board games took between 2 to 3 years. As for the newly released board games, Narbaitz buys them new.

Other than board games, Monopolatte offers food and coffee as well as other drinks. "We do have people who don't play board games who just come for the food, so that's a good sign,” shared Narbaitz. The cafe will soon serve alcohol.

Patrons must pay a $5 cover charge to participate in the fun. "Where other restaurants make money by turning tables quickly, we can have a table that stays here for five hours," explained Narbaitz. "This helps cover some of the costs, including acquiring new games, and having staff available to teach the patrons the rules of the games." Monopolatte currently has nine staff members, with up to four employees working during busy evenings.

After being in business for over a month, Narbaitz has noticed a trend. "As of now, the cafe is busier between 6:30pm to 9:30pm," he said. "During the day, it's quieter." Narbaitz explained that it's good to have fewer tables during the day. "We have more time to sit down with [patrons] and teach them a more difficult board game that could take 20 minutes to explain. Unfortunately, that's not the type of individual care that we can give every table during the busy times. During that time, we get to explain the shorter games that might take five minutes to explain."

On Tuesdays, Monopolatte hosts a special event called Beats and Boards, where a DJ sets up in the cafe while people play board games. The event is in conjunction with Raw Sugar Café, who have been hosting this event for a while. Both locations have a different DJ and a different set of games. "We also plan to do other events in the future," shared Narbaitz.

Some of the more popular games include Cards Against Humanity, King of Tokyo, Tsuro and, of course, Settlers of Catan. Settlers of Catan is not your thing? Don't worry. According to Narbaitz, Monopolatte will have a game for everyone. "Anyone can come in and find something in the collection that they like," he said.

Be sure check out Monopolatte, located at 640 Sommerset Street West.


Beats & Boards
Every Tuesday 6pm to 11pm
Monopolatte & Raw Sugar Café

Image by Nathalie Freynet

No comments:

Post a Comment