Before the age of downloading apps like Angry Birds, Temple Run, and Flappy Bird, old-fashioned board games brought family and friends together. While some get more competitive than others, everyone has a chance to reconnect with family and friends over conversation, laughter, and, if it’s Monopoly, a bit of resentful competition.
This conviviality is the spirit that drives Troy’s new board game café, Bard & Baker. So, what does that mean? In a society that is electronically driven, guests are encouraged to put away their phones and play a board game with a couple of friends.
It’s all thanks to Charlotte Guyton, owner and general manager, and Bryan Connor, kitchen manager and head game curator, who partnered to create a unique social experience that brings people of all different ages and backgrounds together.
Photo by Charlotte Guyton
“At all the cafes we visited around the county we saw a wide range of ages, families of young children, students, and young professionals all coming together through games,” says Guyton. “It was the feeling of community that we really fell in love with.”
Through Guyton’s market research, she concluded that the most successful board game cafes are in high density cities, near college campuses, and in high foot traffic areas with accessible ride sharing transportation.
“Once we started researching cities around the area, Troy made the most sense for our concept,” says Guyton. “Troy is known for its great food and beverage locations but doesn’t have a lot of casual entertainment. This café combines both.”
The best part is that a visit to the Troy space is only $5 for the day. The cover charge includes unlimited access to all the board games during the hours of operation. The money goes towards protecting the board games to make them last longer. For example, cards are sleeved to prevent tearing and boards are sprayed with varnish to protect against spills and normal wear-and-tear.
Photo by Charlotte Guyton
In addition to a surplus of games, customers can enjoy a menu full of comfort food items.
“We wanted to create a menu that evokes a return back to your childhood with cozy items that make you feel good when playing games,” explains Guyton.
Some of the menu items include pizza bagels, sandwiches on house-made ciabatta bread, baked goods made on location, and fresh salads.
They also have a full liquor license. Visitors 21 and over who are feeling adventurous can enjoy a “boozy” milkshake made with bourbon and Irish cream. If that’s not your speed, the café offers beer, wine, cider, and cocktails as well.
“The cocktails are really fun and silly,” says Guyton. “We are not trying to take ourselves so seriously. We just want to find new ways to make cool cocktails.”
For those under 21, the café serves a wide range of drink to choose from that are non-alcoholic as well.
“We want the café to be a welcoming environment that all ages can enjoy,” says Guyton. “The goal is to bring the community together and re-connect.”
501 Broadway, Troy