Talk about a monopoly!
Park Slope’s only board game cafe celebrated its grand opening last week, giving gamers young and old a chance to sip espresso as they play any one of more than 200 titles, according to the owner.
“We realized that Park Slope didn’t actually have a space where people could work and study in the morning hours while having a board game option at night,” said Jonathan Li, owner of Sip ‘N’ Play.
The neighborhood is already home to the Brooklyn Game Lab, but Li, 22, says the Seventh Avenue establishment is targeted towards youngsters, whose parents want them to harness the educational benefits of board games, as opposed to strategists of all ages looking for nothing more than a good time.
“We wanted to be different and go towards hobbyists or families that are just looking to have a fun family night out,” he said.
The Fifth Avenue shop offers board games for everyone from the experienced dungeon master to the low-level wizard, including the popular introductory strategy game Settlers of Catan, and the railway-themed Ticket to Ride, which Li says is popular among families.
A large draw to board game cafes is the affordable alternative they offer to other nightlife options like movies and drinks.
“All those options, especially in New York, are quite expensive,” Li said.
Sip N’ Play charges $5 per person for three hours of play, or $10 per person for unlimited play time, a good deal cheaper than the average $15 asked for a movie ticket, with a snack menu that Li says he hopes to expand on.
For Li, a long-time board game enthusiast and Bensonhurst native, opening a board game cafe was the logical step when he came across the site of a former laundromat in the heart of Park Slope, and he decided to bail on his planned restaurant in favor of what became Sip ‘N’ Play.
Board games have been steadily increasing in popularity in the face of competition from video games, with sales estimated to reach over $12 Billion globally by 2023, according to market researchers. Li attributes the industry’s popularity with its ability to keep pumping out fresh new games for people to try, and said he hopes to generate even greater enthusiasm for analog entertainment systems through his cafe.
“I want to spread awareness of board game cafes in general,” he said.
Sip n Play [471 Fifth Ave. at 10th Street, Park Slope, (718) 971-1684} 9 am – 11 pm daily, $5 per person for three hours.