The region’s crop of board-game cafes — where social-minded friends choose among hundreds of games to play, perhaps over food and drink — is expanding with this week’s opening of Queen & Rook in Queen Village.
Philly’s first game cafe was Thirsty Dice, which opened last year at 1642 Fairmount Ave. Also, there’s the Basement Board Game Cafe in Roxborough, which also opened in 2018; that one does not have a liquor license.
Queen & Rook is at 607 S. Second St., in the former Hikaru just off South Street.
Owners Edward Garcia and Jeannie Wong — he works for the city Commerce Department and she’s in nonprofits — have more than 1,000 games packed into the intimate Queen & Rook, which looks similar to the Japanese restaurant it replaced. You can even sit in a tatami room.
Here is the twist: Menu is vegetarian (with vegan and gluten-free options), and though they’re selling fries and mozz sticks, they’re also going for something a bit fancier than pub grub: blistered shishito peppers with tamari glaze and black sesame ($5), jerk or barbecue seitan rinds ($6), and three-for-$10 tacos (jackfruit carnitas or Salvadorean sea fry). Beers are in cans; there are two $5.50 wines by the glass, and a few mixed drinks.
Garcia, who with Wong has two small children, says he wants to make it easy for families to come out without breaking the bank.
It’s free to come in and play Monday to Wednesday; you pay for food and drinks, of course. The rest of the week, it’s $7 for three hours plus food and drink. Initial hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday.
And stand by for more: University City is expected to get a game cafe this November. It’s Board & Brew, out of Maryland, going into the former coZara at 32nd and Chestnut Streets.