Whether you love board games or wish you did, Victory Point Cafe is for you. Berkeley's board game cafe lets you pay a flat rate and play them all. For $5 per player (weekdays) or $7.50 per player (weekends), you can stay as long as you like, play hundreds of games and not leave with any of them.
My husband and I visited Berkeley's Victory Point Café, the Bay Area's first board game cafe, and had a great time. We had lunch, nibbled on snacks, and checked out a few new-to-us board games. Since our first lunch date, I've returned for special one-on-one time with each of my kids, ranging in age from four to fourteen. While Victory Point is not specifically for families and children, they are always welcome.
Founders Derek DeSantis and Areg Maghakian wanted to combine their favorite things into a single destination: board gaming, community-building, coffee, and beer. With more than 800 games to choose from, it helps that they've labeled the games in clear categories and have an enthusiastic staff to guide you toward a selection.
If you've heard about a new game for your family, but aren't ready to commit to owning it and storing it, come on in and take it for a test run. My husband and I were looking for a good game for two players that we could enjoy during the span of a reasonable lunch break. The owner suggested Tsuro and explained the set up and strategy to us as we finished our sandwiches. After two rounds, we were hooked and bought it on the spot. If you buy any of Victory Point's (limited selection of favorite) games while you're there to play, you can save 10%. Shop local.
While eating and playing, you can request table service by clipping a little clothespin on a special table stand (pictured above with one of my favorite games, Fluxx). It seems they've thought of everything.
Plan your visit to Victory Point Cafe
Location: 1797-A Shattuck Ave, Berkeley between Francisco and Delaware
Pricing: $5 per person for all you can play games during a single visit on weekdays or $7.50 each on weekends. And if you don't play, you don't pay. If you aspire to be a frequent visitor, you can level up and buy multi-visit passes to save as I have. There is also a cafe menu for you to purchase food, treats, and drinks.
Reservations: For $10 per person, you can reserve a table spot in advance. This is useful for busy evenings and weekends especially. All guests joining you will also pay $10 each.
Parking: Metered, it can be a bit of a pain in that part of Berkeley.
[photos by Heather Flett and Whitney Moss]