Berlin is often touted as an adult’s playground, boasting a club night every day of the week and a flexible work culture. And with a café and bar scene that never stops growing, proprietors in Berlin must find a way to differentiate themselves, leading many to offer a variety of games – be it drinking, card, tactical or role-playing board games.
Many cafés and bars in Berlin now offer a selection of board games that’s just as solid as their drinks and food menus. Berlin-based writer Lisa N’Paisan speaks to Jenia Semenova, co-founder of craft beer bar Muted Horn, about the best places to play the likes of Monopoly, Scrabble, Catan and Risk. Let the games begin!
Play your favourite board game at Muted Horn Courtesy of Muted Horn
Restaurant, Bar, American, $$$
This Mitte spot takes customers on a nostalgic journey with vintage arcade games such as Point Blank and a Star Trek pinball machine. Board games including Cards Against Humanity, Jenga, Secret Hitler and Battleship will also keep you entertained for hours. If you’re feeling competitive, come on the first Sunday of the month for the beer and board games night, where you’ll get a chance to reflect on the good old days while enjoying a craft brew, pizza and buffalo chicken wings. For the vegetarians, a battered buffalo cauliflower is offered as a substitute.
Frollein Langner is a candlelit bar with an eclectic interior that offers classics such as Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Taboo and Scrabble on its shelves of plentiful board games. Founded by three students who sourced a way to fund themselves through university, the name pays homage to the mysterious ‘Frollein Langner’, a woman who kindly furnished their entire bar through donations. Brush against the velvet decor or sit back and relax in a bathtub as you sip on the bar’s take on a moscow mule, which comes with ginger beer and crushed cucumber.
Choose from coffee and beer, Sonar and Catan at this café-bar. Inspired by the founder’s Norwegian roots, Kaschk serves a wide selection of Nordic craft beers – order the tasting board to get a feel for what’s on offer. However, what really sets this place apart is its huge shuffleboard court. Venture downstairs to discover this Nordic delight, with prices ranging from €9 (£7.50) per hour before 6pm to €18 (£15) after 6pm.
On a cobblestone street in the heart of Neukölln lies the dimly lit café-bar k-fetisch. Attracting a more alternative crowd, this LGBTQ-friendly spot offers comfy vintage sofas and plush chairs to accompany a night of board games, drinking and good times. Scrabble, Monopoly, Labyrinth, Connect 4, Uno… you name it, k-fetisch’s got it. The vegan cakes here are excellent, while a carafe of the house red will set you back just €8.50 (£7).
Schankwirtschaft Laidak is the antithesis of sceney bars, drawing an unpretentious and politically engaged crowd. The drinks are reasonably priced, and the vintage sofas and assortment of board games make it the perfect spot to spend hours and hours with a beer or two. Its collection includes the likes of Monopoly, Scrabble, Backgammon, Cabo and Smellory, a German game in which players’ memories of scents are put to the test. Whether you want to focus on your chess game in the quiet room, argue about politics under ceiling-high bookshelves or chatter away in the smoking room, Schankwirtschaft Laidak is always a crowd-pleaser. Just don’t miss out on the delectable quiches.
Follow the pink neon sign above the door and you’ll be led to Muted Horn, an independent craft beer bar by co-founders Jenia Semenova and Corbin Crnkovic. “We are a beer bar, so the focus is very much on craft beer. We have a rotating selection of 22 different styles of beers on tap and 180-plus more in cans/bottles,” says Semenova. And with beer names such as All the Things They Say, Tell Us All the Things They Are (blood orange and passion fruit sour with vanilla), don’t hesitate to ask the knowledgeable staff for recommendations. If you’re still undecided, you can always take one of the taster trays of four different beers. Challenge friends to a game of Trivial Pursuit, Cash ’n Guns, Pandemic, Jenga, Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, Dominion or King of Tokyo. For an extra incentive, task the loser with ordering a food delivery – since there is no kitchen on the premises, Muted Horn suggests ordering food from elsewhere, for which the bar will happily provide cutlery and plates.
Spielwiese is the definition of eat, drink and play. With snacks and grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu, affordable beers and teas, and shelves piled with around 1,800 games, Spielwiese is Berlin’s first game library with a café and store. Indulge in a spot of Settlers of Catan, Risk or Cluedo, or spend hours playing tactical games like Scythe or Twilight Imperium. You can also bring the kids along to this family-friendly joint to play games such as Mouse Trap and Hungry Hungry Hippos. At just €1.50 (£1.25) per hour for adults and with no Wi-Fi, it’s easy to switch off and get lost in hours of fun. It can get quite busy, so making a booking in advance is recommended.
Head to Spontan Coffee if you’re a serious coffee enthusiast or tactical board games player. Titles such as Jaipur, Sonar, Dungeon Fighter, Qwirkle, War of the Ring, Catan and Dominion barely scrape the surface of its extensive collection. The café has also teamed up with two of Berlin’s best roasters, The Barn and Fjord, to serve some of the best speciality coffee in Moabit. For those looking for a decaffeinated alternative, select from fine organic teas by Rhoeco. There are also pastries, vegan banana cake and chocolate brownies for when you’re feeling a little peckish.
Sip bold cocktails over a game of Cards Against Humanity, Uno or chess at Twinpigs. The brainchild of a Chilean architect and a Swedish filmmaker, this stylish bar, with its candlelit rooms, is perfect for a flirty date or group gathering. Treat yourself to a classic cocktail with a twist, or enjoy a pulled pork burger or tofu burger. On weekdays, it hosts live jazz and film screenings, while weekends see top DJs take to the decks.