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Board Gaming in Birmingham, AL (Cafes & Bars)

birmingham board games

When you’re looking for a board game gang in Birmingham, AL, you’ve got some options.

You can check out B’ham gaming groups on meetup.com, or get thee to one of Birmingham’s board game cafes or bars.

As far as board gaming spots go, Birmingham has a handful of places to play.

Here are some spots where you can go get your board game on in the city:

Birmingham Board Game Cafés

Board game cafes are for players of all ages. (Or most ages. You may find some age restrictions for the youngest of children due to the small pieces in board games.)

These cafes typically charge a cover charge to play and have a large variety of games.

Here are Birmingham’s café offerings:

Domestique Satellite

200 41st St S
Birmingham, AL 35222
(205) 703-9546

Monday: 7 am – 4 pm
Tuesday-Saturday: 7 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 4 pm

Cover: None (Buy a drink)

Board Games? Tons (100+). Plus, video game stations and a pinball machine.

Thirstea Cafe

170 Inverness Plaza
Birmingham, AL 35242
(205) 995-7788

Monday-Thursday: 11 am – 8 pm
Friday-Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday: Noon – 8 pm

Cover: None (Buy a drink)

Board Games? Sufficient. Several simple standards and a handful of strategy games.

Birmingham Board Game Bars

Like other bars, most bars with board games only admit players over the age of 21.

They typically have smaller game selections (though not always), but no cover charges. (Though, you are expected to buy a drink or two.)

Here are the ones in B’ham:

Mom’s Basement

4411 3rd Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35222
(205) 774-6667

Monday-Friday: 3 pm – 2 am
Saturday: 2 pm – 2 am
Sunday: 4 pm – 2 am

Cover: None (Buy a drink)

Board Games? Sufficient. Retro.

Valhalla Board Game Cafe

Roving Café/Changing Venues
(205) 547-0677

Facebook: Valhalla Board Game Cafe Facebook

Valhalla is a roving board game cafe that works with local venues to hold regular gaming events.

For now, their events are mostly in bars.

Board Games? Pretty decent. From the simple to the strategically-demanding.

Board Game Café & Bars FAQ

How do board game cafés work?

True board game cafés work on a cover charge. (Though, there are also coffee shops and other cafés with free games available.)

Basically, you pay a fee to play all the games you want for as long as you’re there.

Most true board game cafés do not have in-and-out privileges. (You can’t leave and come back without paying again.)

Food and drink are available for purchase while you play, just like at a normal café.

How much is the cover charge at a board game café?

The cover charge for most board game cafés is between $5 and $10.

Some cafés have lower covers on weekdays and higher covers on weekends.

Many cafés also count any food or drink purchased toward your cover charge. (Though, not all of them!)

When did the first board game café open?

Places where patrons could eat, drink, and play the popular games of the day were likely open all the way back into ancient history, so we’ll keep things a little more current.

As for the modern idea of board game cafes, Schaakcafé Het Hok in Amsterdam has to be one of the first.

Opened in 1972 (according to I amsterdam), Schaakcafé Het Hok features chess and backgammon among its offerings, and, though sparse, we think two board games does, in fact, a board game café make.

If you think chess alone is enough to constitute a board game café, you’ll have to go back at least as far as the 1700s to Café de la Régence in Paris.

The café was so much of a chess hotspot, the café eventually became about the game and only about the game.

How many board game cafes are there in the U.S.?

Today, there are believed to be more than 800 board game cafés across the U.S.

You can find them in almost every major city.

Can you go to a board game café alone?

Absolutely. You might even find a game that needs an extra player.

But, if you don’t, that’s okay too. Almost all board game cafés have some single-player games.

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