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10 great places to hole up and play board games


March 2017


The Steaming Cup

Crummy weather? Bored of staring at the computer screen? Sounds like a great day to get a coffee (or perhaps something stronger) with a friend — or three — and unpack a board game. Here are 10 game-friendly places throughout the Milwaukee area.

1 Colectivo

Every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., chess enthusiasts take over several tables at Colectivo’s Humboldt Boulevard location. They’re easy to spot, slapping timers and scrutinizing the board for checkmate. It’s a great spot to sip a cup of joe and try out your Queen’s Gambit. Don’t be shy — all skill levels are encouraged to participate. 2999 N. Humboldt Blvd., (414) 292-3320,

2 The Steaming Cup

A busy spot in the heart of downtown Waukesha, “The Cup” — as it’s commonly known — has a warm, inviting atmosphere. Come for the coffee, tea, soup and sandwiches, and stay for the frequent live music and game selection, including cards, chess, Battleship and Life. 340 W. Main St., Waukesha, (262) 522-3605,

3 Art*Bar

Creative minds imbibe here often, and you’ll find a rotating gallery of art on the walls. In addition to pool, darts and pinball, a pile of games, including classics like Apples to Apples and unusual selections like The “I Love Lucy” Trivia Game, can be found tucked away in the corner. 722 E. Burleigh St., (414) 372-7880

4 Binary: Games, Foods & Spirits

You’ve hit the mother lode! This nerd-themed bar in West Allis has a main room filled with tables for gaming. The walls are lined with superhero imagery, and a display case shows off a collection of sci-fi and fantasy weapons. Most impressive of all is the board game collection, which occupies 20 full shelves in the main room alone. 9105 W. Lincoln Ave., West Allis, (414) 321-2600

5 Monica’s on Astor

Located on the Lower East Side near downtown, Monica’s is a cozy basement-level bar with a corner shelving unit filled with classics like Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and Connect 4. Bartender Nicki Vida says the most popular selection is the bar’s Jenga sets. Bonus points for comfortable leather chairs and a gaslit fireplace in the corner. 1228 N. Astor St.,  (414) 765-9402

6 Blackbird Bar

This colorful, rockin’ bar has a handful of board games lying around, including Monopoly, Outburst and the “Sex and the City” Trivia Game, and cushy booths are perfect for four to six players. Blackbird also boasts six pinball machines and team trivia Thursday nights at 7 p.m. 3007 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 486-1344

7 Silver Creek Brewery

Walk down a path winding along Cedar Creek and you’ll find the Silver Creek Brewery, a friendly place that’s brewed its own beer for more than a decade. The brewery hosts board game night on Tuesdays, with peak gaming time between 7 and 9 p.m. Gamers receive a dollar off taps for playing and are encouraged to bring in their own games. N57 W6172 Portland Road, Cedarburg, (262) 375-4444,

8 42 Ale House

A favorite hangout for gamers, 42 Ale House has gaming-themed cocktail and food menus, and a Magic: The Gathering session Monday nights. Tony Nilles, owner of the 42 Ale House, says standbys like Cards Against Humanity are always popular, and adds, “I’ve seen a lot of customers bring in Joking Hazard — that’s probably next on my list to buy a house copy.” 3807 S. Packard Ave., St. Francis, (414) 249-4952,

9 Riverwest Public House Cooperative

This collectively owned Riverwest pub features a large meeting table, where people often play games. The bar’s collection includes Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit and an “Anti-Monopoly” game. If you’re feeling brave, there’s also Twister. 815 E. Locust St., (414) 562-9472,

10 The Fermentorium Brewery and Tasting Room

A new, spacious bar with tables accommodating groups from two to a dozen, this tasting room has a little cabinet with board games in it, including Boggle and Cranium. The Fermentorium brews its own beer, displays local art, and offers both a dartball league and yoga events. 7481 WI-60 Trunk, Cedarburg, (262) 421-8593,


This story ran in the March 2017 issue of: