Hand on heart, we’ve all spent some pleasant hours playing Ludo, Cluedo, chess, or another board game, either as kids or as grown-ups during a game night with friends or relatives. And although we sometimes had the strong urge to smack the monopoly-board into the face of one of our fellow players, we have to acknowledge that board games are in general a great social activity and an awesome way of spending time with our loved ones when it’s raining cats and dogs. Nevertheless, board games are not exclusively to be played with people you’ve already known from before, but playing them is also an ideal opportunity to get in touch with like-minded folks. If you’re in Budapest and feel like enjoying a good game of Risk, Uno, or something more exotic with friends or hitherto unknown fellow board game enthusiasts, you should consider going to a public board game place. In the following, we’ll introduce you to the best board game cafés and bars around town where you can hang out, get some refreshments and play games of any kind in English as well.
Board Game Café
As its name already suggests, the Board Game Café is a place where you can not only immerse yourself in games, but also enjoy some snacks while doing so. In fact, this café has a lot to offer in both regards, as guests get to choose between more than 20 different hot beverages, countless cold drinks with or without alcohol, appetisers ranging from home-made cakes to savoury paninis, and, most important, more than 600 exciting games that include the latest novelties as well as good old classics. Play time is from early afternoon until the middle of the night. For a small fee of 500 HUF per 3 hours (half-price for children up to 14 years), you can occupy a table and play as many of their board games as you like. Since the selection at the Board Game Café is quite extensive, picking a particular game might turn out to be quite a task. Fortunately, the skilled employees will help you find one that suits you best, based on the number of players, their experience and preferences and the planned playing time.
What to expect: a cosy place with a welcoming and especially family-friendly atmosphere; highly-skilled “gaming masters” who are on hand with help and advice for all guests
Game Up Pub
300 board games. 250 different drinks. 50 dishes and snacks. That’s the Game Up Pub in bare figures. Since 2016, this place has welcomed thousands of guests who were eager to play board games, just have a drink, or went for a combination of both. The pub’s wide selection of beers, wines, and cocktails will lift your spirits and set the perfect mood for a round of whatever game you pick, be it a simple but fun party game, a complex strategy game, or something else – the extensive collection leaves nothing to be desired! To keep you well-fed and the game going, the Game Up Pub offers hot sandwiches, tasty wraps and many more delicious snacks. The play fee amounts to 300 HUF per person for each interval of 3 hours, but if the consumption of someone exceeds 2000 HUF, this fee gets waived. And considering the pub’s well-stocked bar, this goal can easily be reached!
What to expect: a combination of drinking and playing that will result in boozy board game fun
Társa ‘s Játék Bár
Another place where you can publicly unleash your inner board game freak is Társa’ s Játék Bár. With a collection consisting of more than 200 board and card games and friendly staff ready to advise you, you will certainly find something that makes you want to stay for a while. Booking a table there costs 800 HUF for 3 hours, allowing you to consume food or drinks worth 400 HUF. As to not let you get distracted from playing by hunger or thirst, Társa ‘s Játék Bár namely has both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages as well as some small snacks like popcorn and candy bars in stock. Apart from the typical board game services, this place has a couple of special offers: On Thursdays, students only pay 400 HUF for 3 hours of fun. Also a special bachelor/bachelorette party package can be booked, on which the last night in freedom will be celebrated with tailor-made programs and games that are everything but safe for work!
What to expect: an ideal location to spend a relaxed evening far from Budapest’s usual hustle and bustle with interesting special offers (students, bachelor/ette parties)
Designed in the style of the vaults in the popular dystopian game series Fallout, Vault 51 truly is a place that makes a nerdy heart leap for joy. Nevertheless, not-so-geeky guests will feel at ease as well, as Budapest’s largest and newest gamer bar aims at providing a space to relax for everyone. The available gaming arsenal does not only include more than 100 board and card games in the traditional sense (among them also a couple of exotic table top games), but also a wide variety of video games. No matter if you’re belonging to team PC or prefer consoles, you’ll get your money worth at Vault 51, as they have not less than ten powerful gaming computers, an Xbox One, a PlayStation 4, an Xbox 360 and, for retro lovers, a Super Nintendo. Immersing into virtual reality is also possible, either via PlayStation VR or HTC Vive. Naturally, guests can order drinks, snacks and vault-themed burger meals.
What to expect: a nerdy gaming bar equipped with a vast collection of board and video games