Openings and Closings

Game On: Eat, Drink and Win at Board Game Republic

What do you get when you combine board games, sandwiches, milkshakes and other goodies? While a kid's birthday party is one answer, in the context of Board Game Republic, at 900 West First Avenue, you have the latest place for adults to grab a cocktail and a bite while playing various old-school games. This weekend is the shop's official grand opening at the Yard (a mixed-use center that's also home to Renegade Brewing and the upcoming Deviation Distilling), making it the perfect time to get your Yahtzee on.

"I truly believe board games make for a better community by bringing people together and opening up lines of communication and thought in a fun and casual way," says owner Keith Meyers, who has been in the board-game industry for about thirty years. "I've seen board-game cafes and pubs in different cities and thought this was the perfect manifestation of the concept." Plus, he adds, "Denver needed one."
On the food side, the venue serves sweet and savory crepes, a variety of meat and vegetable panini, grilled cheese, hummus, Caprese salads, grilled peanut butter and jelly, and a dessert featuring a salted caramel brownie with a pretzel crust topped with vanilla ice cream. Pair the meal with a Colorado craft beer or cocktail such as the Keith's Pimms Cub, with muddled cucumber, lime, Pimms and ginger ale, or the High Red Mule, with Colorado High vodka, lime juice, ginger beer and raspberry liqueur. The bar also whips up boozy milkshakes that beautifully meld ice cream, candy and liquor, almost like an adult version of the classic Dairy Queen Blizzard.

Then, of course, there are the games. With around 650 options, the shop offers something for parents with young kids, casual gamers, teens and hard-core players. Some of the most popular titles include Codenames, Battleship, Catan, Ticket to Ride, King of Tokyo, Sheriff of Nottingham and Loopin' Louie. "It's funny, but the most-played game in our pub is Rock'em Sock'em Robots," says Meyers. "It's quick, it's nostalgic and it's visually appealing, so it pushes all the right buttons." Also look for more off-the-wall and obscure selections like Heroquest and Happy Salmon — a game that Meyers says "people love but don't know about." And, while gambling is not encouraged, there's nothing wrong with some friendly competition in which the prize is a can of beer or a slice of strawberry shortcake.

To have complete access to the vast shelf of games, each player must pay a flat fee of $5 per person. Food and drinks run between $5 and $10. Kids are definitely welcome to join parents in the bright, festive venue. So the next time you're in the mood for a little classic entertainment with your friends or family, head to this 2,400-square-foot cafe, take a seat at one of the high tables and roll the dice, sink the battleship and have some good clean fun. 

Grand-opening festivities this weekend (August 20 and August 21) include appearances by local gaming celebrities, hourly drawings for prizes, pop-up tournaments, food and drink specials, and ticket giveaways for a grand-prize drawing. Call 303-954-9165 or see Board Game Republic's Facebook page for details.
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Linnea Covington moved back to Denver after spending thirteen years in New York City and couldn't be happier to be home, exploring the Mile High and eating as much as possible, especially when it involves pizza or ice cream.
Contact: Linnea Covington