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12 of the best board game cafes in the UK you should visit

One epic tabletop tour.

A close-up image of the board game collection in Thirsty Meeples in Oxford
Image credit: Thirsty Meeples

Tabletop gaming is an inherently social activity, which is why board game cafes in the UK are some of the best places to visit if you’re into the hobby. Whether your library isn’t quite extensive enough or if you’re struggling to find people to play with, board game cafes can be a great way to fulfill both these desires. There are a good number of delightful board game cafes spread across the UK, both if you’re up north or down south, meaning that at least one of the entries on this list is bound to be within walking/driving/public transport distance.

Besides their geographical location, each of the gaming cafes on this list has something special about them – whether that’s a unique drink or snack, gaming events, well-stocked shops or libraries, or maybe just some kind of gimmick. Perhaps you already regularly visit at least one of the places on this list, but there are still plenty more that rely on the tabletop gaming community in order to keep their doors open and the lights on – so it’s certainly not a bad idea to pop over to any of these from time-to-time, even if it means going a little out of the way.

Best board game cafes UK

If you’re planning a trip to or around the UK, you’d be remiss to not pop to any of the board game cafes on this list and enjoy their hospitality and, of course, their impressive board game libraries. Plan a trip, book a table or attend an event at some of the best board game cafes in the UK.

1. Snacks and Ladders, Isle of Wight

The little island at the very bottom of the UK has its own board game café

Ice cream from Snacks and Ladders cafe
Snacks and Ladders also serves some delicious ice cream flavours. | Image credit: Snacks and Ladders

Just because Snacks and Ladders is based on the quiet Isle of Wight, doesn’t mean that it’s lacking in facilities. In fact, this board game café can measure up to any of those found on the mainland. Situated in a cozy little building in Newport, Snacks and Ladders is a board game café that contains a surprisingly large collection of tabletop titles from beloved family board games like Azul to lesser-known entries such as Wacky Races.

Perhaps the most attractive thing about Snacks and Ladders is its extensive menu, which includes a wide selection of snacks – such as mac and cheese bowls and loaded potato dippers – customisable pizzas and burgers, and a variety of sandwiches. What’s even more exciting is the build-your-own dessert option that features waffles, pancakes and ice cream. When it comes to drinks, Snacks and Ladders also comes up trumps thanks to its collection of luxury milkshakes that contain treats like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and honeycomb.

If you have any little ones they’ll be able to play entirely for free, otherwise there is a cover charge required – which is common in board game cafes to cover any potential damage that may happen to the games. There are even one-shot scheduled events like a Mean Girls-themed night and a night dedicated to raising money for the Cat’s Protection League charity. If you’re planning a holiday to the Isle of Wight, then Snacks and Ladders should be on your list of places to visit.

Address: 66 Upper, St James' St, Newport PO30 1LQ


Watch on YouTube
Wheels chats about five of the best family board games.

2. Dice Saloon, Brighton

A relatively new board game café situated in a refurbished church

An image of the store for Dice Saloon
Dice and other accessories are available to purchase from Dice Saloon, alongside board games. | Image credit: Dice Saloon

Dice Saloon is a recently-opened board game café located on a main road in the seaside town of Brighton. The building itself is immediately recognisable thanks to its bright blue exterior and the fact that it used to be a church – lending it its own unique architectural look with a tall ceiling and even an upper room with windows that look out over the main room.

The café's library is a decent one, with a good collection of heavier titles and more accessible ones arranged so that it’s easy to find exactly what you want. Food and drink are both served at Dice Saloon, including larger menu items like pizzas to snacks and cakes – the café often serves a particularly excellent Guiness cake. Hot and cold drinks can be ordered, as well alcoholic drinks such as beers and ciders.

Regular events are held at the café, from trading card game tournaments to wargame events involving Warhammer 40,000 and Star Wars: X-Wing. There’s even a little shed in the back room that players can book for their own private gaming sessions, with a button to press to order food and drink. Dice Saloon also has a store located at the front containing an impressive amount of board games, trading card games, TRPGs and skirmish wargames, as well as accessories like polyhedral dice. If you’re heading down south, be sure to pop into Dice Saloon.

Address: 88 London Rd, Brighton BN1 4JF


3. Dice Board Game Lounge, Portsmouth

A delicious cocktail selection and well-stocked store make this gaming café a must-visit

An image of the inside of Dice Board Game Lounge
The Dice Board Game Lounge has plenty of space for tabletop gamers to gather in. | Image credit: Dice Board Game Lounge

On the other side of the south coast lies Dice Board Game Lounge, a Portsmouth-based board game café that can be found on one of the city’s high streets. It often gets busy in the Dice Board Game Lounge, so booking ahead of time is almost always a good idea. There are several good reasons that this board game café is as popular as it is. One of those is the board game collection, which features plenty of favourites alongside several entries you don’t expect to see.

Another is the café's drink selection which – besides including all the usual hot and cold drinks one expects from a decent café - contains a collection of unique cocktails that are too delicious to just have one. Other than that, a selection of tasty sandwiches, including several vegetarian options that aren’t complete garbage, as well as several snack options.

Local players can head over for frequent events hosted at the Dice Board Game Lounge, such as a weekly RPG night called Dungeons at Dice – perfect for people looking to get into a roleplaying group – and a tournament dedicated to the unique deck game Keyforge. Dice Board Game Lounge also has a well-stocked store filled with some of the latest releases, alongside some fantastic tabletop gaming décor - including a selection of beautiful, framed artwork inspired by board game box covers. Hop on a ferry over to Portsmouth and take a trip to Dice Board Game Lounge.

Address: 149 Albert Rd, Southsea, Portsmouth, Southsea PO4 0JW


Watch on YouTube
Wheels goes through five great trading card games that aren't Magic: The Gathering.

4. Chance and Counters, Bristol

The first location of a popular chain of board game cafes with a great draft beer selection

An image of Chance Encounters' library collection
Chance and Counters has an impressive collection of board games to choose from. | Image credit: Chance Encounters

Chance and Counters in Bristol is not the only worthy location in the board game café chain – in fact, there are two other Chance and Counters in the UK – but it was the very first one. First opened by a group of board game-loving friends in 2016, Bristol’s Chance and Counters is tucked away at the bottom of the city’s Christmas Steps and has plenty to offer players looking for somewhere to indulge in their hobby.

The board game café features an enormous collection of over 850 games, which players can enjoy alongside a selection of draught beers and ciders. The craft beers and ciders are possibly the biggest draw of visiting Chance and Counters, with a different selection available at any time depending on whatever the board game café happens to have – but you can guarantee there will be plenty of locally-brewed options. Besides this, the menu at Chance and Counters also includes a variety of cocktails – including one called Tiki to Ride – which students can get three-for-two every Wednesday for Boardsports. When it comes to food, Chance and Counters offers a selection of tasty-sounding toasties, various loaded items and several snacking options.

If players happen to enjoy any of the board games found in Chance and Counters’ collection they may be able to purchase them from the café's store. Chance and Counters also allows players to hire out the space for board game parties and events, which will include cover charge for those invited and food/drinks. Don’t miss this hidden gem in Bristol; the first location of Chance and Counters is a must-see.

Address: 20 Christmas Steps, Bristol BS1 5BS


5. Draughts, Waterloo

Located in the heart of the UK capital is an essential tourist location for board gamers

An image of Draughts in Waterloo
Play games undergroun in Draughts at Waterloo. | Image credit: Draughts

Snuggled next to the busy Waterloo station in London is Draughts, one half of a chain of board game cafes based within the UK capital city. (The other is in Hackney.) Though the Sea Life Centre and London Dungeons are located nearby, Draughts is easily one of the most important places to visit in the Waterloo station area – especially for fans of board games. Designed to look like an underground tunnel or dungeon, Draughts has a distinctive architectural style that makes it stand out amongst other board game cafes in the UK.

Visitors to Draughts will find an extensive collection of board games to play, from classic accessible tabletop titles such as Carcassonne to heavier entries like Great Western Trail. As they play, people can pick from a wide selection of food and drink including a variety of tacos – including vegan and vegetarian options – burgers and nachos, as well as sweet options like churros and chocolate fondants. For thirsty visitors, plenty of beers and ciders are available on tap, a selection of different wines and several classic cocktails.

Should you want to go the full distance with Draughts, there are options for booking various sections of the board game café. If you’re not quite ready to take that step, there are packages available that include food and drink for each guest – like canapes and beer/wine - perfect for a scheduled night of gaming. The UK capital has a fantastic board game café waiting for whoever pays a visit to one of Waterloo’s highlights.

Address: Arch 16 Leake St, London SE1 7NN


6. Thirsty Meeples, Oxford

Experience over 2,000 different board games at this Oxford-based board game café

An image of the outside of Thirsty Meeples in Oxford
You'll find a cozy little board game cafe at Thirsty Meeples. | Image credit: Thirsty Meeples

Found within the scenic and historical city of Oxford is Thirsty Meeples, is a board game cafe that’s part of a small tabletop gaming franchise. Besides being based in a beautiful location, Thirsty Meeples has plenty going for it - such as featuring a tabletop library of over 2,000 board games, which should provide plenty of choice for visitors to choose from. Players will need to pay a cover charge before they can get their hands on any tabletop titles, but there are game gurus at hand to assist in learning any board games that people aren’t familiar with.

Should you take a fancy to any particular board game you play whilst at Thirsty Meeples, you’ll be able to acquire them at the café store, which is kept regularly stocked with recent releases. The menu at Thirsty Meeples is a tea lover's dream, featuring around 10 different types of tea to choose from. The menu also features a wide selection of cocktails, draft beers and even a selection of spirits – from whisky to gin – to take your pick from. Food offerings include snacks like sausage rolls and crisp bowls, to several different types of sandwiches.

If you happen to live in the local area, you’ll be able to pop along to weekly events at Thirsty Meeples including competitions for card games like Android: Netrunner to miniatures titles such as Star Wars: X-Wing. There’s also an open gaming night for anyone looking to find regular groups to play with. Thirsty Meeples is well worth a visit if you’re ever passing through Oxford.

Address: 97-98, Oxford OX1 2DF


7. Socialdice, Swansea

A relative newcomer to the board game café market is making waves in Wales

An image of the inside of Social Dice board game cafe
Dive into a game of Dungeons & Dragons in Socialdice, Swansea. | Image credit: Social Dice

Socialdice in Swansea, Wales, has an interesting little story to tell. A group of friends who love tabletop gaming figured that they should open their own board game café. However, disaster temporarily struck when the COVID-19 pandemic put their ambitious plans on hold. Nevertheless, when restrictions were eventually lifted, the group were able to fulfill their dreams and open up Socialdice – Swansea’s first-ever board game café.

Featuring a well-stocked library of board games – from classics such as the family board game Articulate, to something a bit more off-the-wall such as Secret Hitler – and menu, Socialdice has plenty to offer its guests. Food found at Socialdice includes a selection of small plates, such as homemade beetroot hummus, to larger items such as hot dogs and burgers, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options as well. When it comes to drinks, alcohol drinkers and non-alcohol drinkers are catered to alike. Whether you’re looking for fancy cocktails, draft beers or hot coffee, you’ll find something to enjoy.

If you’re based in or around Swansea, Socialdice hosts several events throughout the year – with some upcoming examples being an event to bring together the local LGBTQ+ community and a D&D-themed murder mystery with special cocktails. Regardless of whether you’re nearby or just visiting, Socialdice is one of the highlights of Swansea for tabletop gamers.

Address: 43 Wind St, Swansea SA1 1EF


8. Sliced and Diced, Birmingham

Based within a diverse city lies a board game café serving homemade food and great games

The board game collection from Sliced and Dice board game cafe
There are some absolute classics in Sliced and Diced's collection. | Image credit: Sliced and Diced

Whilst the majority of board game cafes out there feature a traditional café-style layout – tables and chairs – Sliced and Dice in Birmingham does things a bit differently. In service of providing a comfortable and casual environment for visitors to relax in, Sliced and Diced contains a collection of soft seating with tables set to the side for whenever players need them. The layout, combined with the overall friendly vibe of the café, makes Sliced and Diced a laid-back kind of location for board gamers.

The selection of tabletop titles on offer at Sliced and Dice is very broad, from family board games to heavier strategy titles. Any board games that players particularly enjoy can be purchased from the café's store, which also includes Sliced and Diced T-shirts for anyone looking for a souvenir. When it comes to food, Sliced and Diced has a menu featuring larger options such as filled jacket potatoes to lighter selections like tortilla chips and dips.

There is a regular calendar of events held at Sliced and Diced, with examples including a playthrough of the social deduction game Blood on the Clocktower to a book club for those people who like to read a little alongside their board gaming hobby. One important thing to remember about Sliced and Diced is that it’s a good idea to book in advance and that it is a cashless café, meaning that you’ll need to remember your cards and mobile payment app.

Address: 850 Bristol Rd, Birmingham B29 6HW


Watch on YouTube
Wheels and Johnny highlight some of the best social deduction games on the market.

9. The Dice Cup, Nottingham

The first and largest board game café in the city

The inside of The Dice Cup board game cafe
There's more than enough space to space inside Nottingham's The Dice Cup. | Image credit: The Dice Cup

Based opposite the Victoria Coach Station in Nottingham, The Dice Cup is a landmark location for Nottingham as the city’s first and largest board game café. Whether players are after board games, trading card games or more, then The Dice Cup library contains plenty of options for visitors to indulge in, alongside a shop for players to purchase tabletop titles.

If you’re hoping to meet new people to play particular games with, The Dice Up hosts a number of regular events as well as special, one-off events for people to come to. Some examples of unique events include an organised play for the Digimon Card Game and tournaments for the miniatures game Star Wars: X-Wing. The community for The Dice Cup is supported by the board game café staff and the regular visitors who go there, with there being an emphasis on veganism – with the café menu being entirely vegan.

Perhaps the most notable thing about The Dice Cup is the fact that it is an openly dog-friendly café, with visitors able – and even encouraged – to bring their furry friends inside. Even if you don’t have a dog of your own, The Dice Cup is a place for players to be around other peoples’ dogs - yet another reason to pay a visit. If you’re ever around the Nottingham area, The Dice Cup should be on your radar to visit.

Address: 68-70 Mansfield Rd, Nottingham NG1 3GY


10. Goodtime Games, Manchester

A sustainable and low-waste independent board game café based in a bustling city

An image of the outside of Goodtime Games in Manchester
You'll immediately recognise Goodtime Games thanks to its bright orange paint-job. | Image credit: Goodtime Games

Despite being situated in the relatively large city of Manchester, Goodtime Games prides itself on being a small and independently-run board game café. Located in the southern part of Manchester, Goodtime Games specialises in offering an ethically-focused board game café - with the staff being paid a national living wage and receiving 100% of all tips.

Another way that Goodtime Games adheres to ethical standards is by providing an entirely low-waste, vegan and vegetarian menu to reduce their environmental footprint. Goodtime Games’ vegan and vegetarian menu includes meat-free, hand-stretched pizzas – including one called Seitanic Panic – as well as smaller snacking items such as nacho sharing plates and desserts free from animal products. You’ll also find a collection of hot and cold drinks on offer, including a selection of smoothies and milkshakes.

Besides the edible elements of Goodtime Games, visitors can peruse and play a wide selection of tabletop games – whether that’s a classic two-player board game like 7 Wonders Duel or something more unusual like Cheating Moth – as well as purchase them through the café's store or website. Regular visitors to Goodtime Games can also take part in a variety of events like the weekly Mindful Mondays event, which promotes good mental wellbeing through games, and an introduction to Dungeons & Dragons. Give the environment a chance and take a trip to Goodtime Games.

Address: Goodtime Games, 212 Burton Rd, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 2LW


11. Meeple Perk, Newcastle upon Tyne

Based in the North-East, this board game café offers a warm and welcoming environment

An image of the inside of the board game cafe Meeple Perk
You'll be able to buy board games, as well as play them, at Meeple Perk. | Image credit: Meeple Perk

If the pun in the name doesn’t give it away, a visit to Meeple Perk should be enough to convince you that this is a quirky little board game café. Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Meeple Perk presents a relaxed environment for tabletop game enthusiasts to fully indulge in their hobby. The extensive library of board games provided contains all sorts of titles, including some community favourites such as Terraforming Mars, Root and Scythe.

Those looking for something delicious can find a selection of milkshakes, with vegan options, frappes and several different types of chai lattes – including a dirty chai latte. When it comes to food, Meeple Perk offers a wide range of well-filled sandwiches such as a big breakfast sandwich and a steak-and-egg sandwich. Otherwise, there’s even heartier offerings like fried chicken and waffles or salsa and eggs.

Like most board game cafés, you’ll have to book in advance if you want to pay Meeple Perk a visit. If you want to go that bit further, you can even hire the venue out for parties and the like. There is a selection of events that Meeple Perk hosts, such as Werewolf and Two Rooms and a Boom nights. Whatever you’re after, Meeple Perk is a great place to kick back and play some board games.

Address: 89 Clayton St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 5PZ


Watch on YouTube
Johnny explains why you should play Scythe.

12. Highlander Board Game Café, Dundee

A real board game café treasure is hidden away in Scotland

An image of the inside of the Highlander Board Game Cafe
The walls of the Highlander Board Game Cafe are adhorned with various weapons and fantastical decor. | Image credit: Highlander Board Game Cafe

The aptly-named Highlander Board Game Café is a tabletop gaming hideaway based in East Scotland. Featuring appropriately fantastical décor - such as Lord of the Rings artwork and wall-mounted weaponry – Highlander Board Game Café is a neat little place for anyone wanting to escape into other worlds. Easily the most impressive thing about the Highlander Game Café is its extensive online store, which features everything from Magic: The Gathering releases to the latest Warhammer 40,000 miniatures.

The café itself hosts a large number of events to support these particular games, with regular Dungeons & Dragons evenings alongside miniatures painting classes for those wanting to give their Space Marines a paint job. A variety of food and drink is served, such as a selection of paninis, hotdogs and even Greek Mediterranean pastries. The café also offers several sweet treats like banana bread and chocolate cookies.

Besides the solids, the liquids found at Highlander include a collection of milkshakes – including premium ice cream milkshakes – and a variety of hot drinks as well. No matter if you’re local or paying a visit up north, Highlander Board Game Café is worth going off the beaten path to visit.

Address: 98 Annfield Rd, Dundee DD1 5JH


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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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