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The Foundry: A Night Of Games In San Francisco
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The Foundry: A Night Of Games In San Francisco

Picture of Kimberly Le
Updated: 6 January 2017
On most days, Folsom Street Foundry, an old brass factory in San Francisco, California, plays host to art galleries, concerts, or private gatherings. On Tuesday and Thursday nights however, gaming organization, ShowDown, hosts game nights (6pm-12am) that take the Foundry to another level for visitors 21+ with a cover fee of $5. Featuring your old game console favorites circa early 2000s to tabletop board games, there’s something for everyone. And of course, there’s alcohol.
The Foundry | © Kimberly Le
The Foundry | © Kimberly Le

Upon entry, visitors are invited into a dimly lit living room atmosphere (if old warehouses typically had living rooms). But this isn’t your typical living room with cold television dinners and late-night game shows. The couches plenty, the screens bright, and the company bustling. This is a cool living room. Across from the entrance, an old saloon bar beckons all with signs of ‘Refreshments’ and ‘Delicious Cocktails.’ Several large round wooden tables fill the main floor, stacked with all sorts of card and boardgames including crowd favorites like Settlers of Catan, Cards Against Humanity, and Ticket to Ride, but also more lesser-known titles like Morels and Avalon.

The options are endless, making it a great place to try a game you’ve never played before. People are also more than welcome (in fact, encouraged!) to bring their own games and join in playing with others. Come with your buddies, or come to mingle. No awkwardness necessary. People are able to instantly connect by joining ongoing games like Rock Band, every living room party favorite. The match is projected onto a huge screen keeping a steady stream of an audience for your own benefit.

But most of the real party takes place in the next room, which looks like something to an effect of an airplane hangar: high ceilings, few windows, and exposed steel beams. But warm lighting, video games, drinks, and laughter fill up this otherwise industrial space. The walls feature various streams of video game tournaments, Warrior games, Twitter feeds, and live footage of the game night itself. For those looking for a comfier sit-down play, you can plop yourself on one of many old leather couches, each with their own flat screen and game consoles along the wall. Tabletop games fill the space in between like pong—both beer and ping. The opposite wall holds a large bar with friendly bartenders, a variety of cold beer and IPAs on tap. There’s even a kitchen in the back serving the essential fuel for a night of game play: hot dogs, french fries, and tacos. Food, alcohol, games, music, people. Everything you need to have a great night is all in one place.

The Foundry | © Kimberly Le
The Foundry | © Kimberly Le

Do MOBAs and MMORPGs mean anything to you? Because if they do, the Foundry has those too: Dota, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft and Guildwars. However among serious players in the gaming community, the biggest events of the night include the Super Smash Brother Melee tournaments on Tuesdays and the Ultra Street Fighter IV tournaments on Thursdays. Typically these events are streamed on Twitch, with channels boasting thousands of live viewers each game night. Crowds of people surround the rows of glowing retro television monitors, where the players are intently focused on the match because every split-second move counts. Time reaction is key when you’re competing at these levels.

The Foundry | © Kimberly Le
The Foundry | © Kimberly Le

Everyone is dressed casually in jeans and t-shirts, some with backpacks. Most are there cooling down after a long work day. Although the population is dominantly male, the atmosphere is very relaxed and there are more than enough girls to make it friendly and comfortable for any gender. The event attracts serious and non-serious gamers, and like we said, there’s something for everyone: the casual, the competitive, the childhood nostalgics, the sports and esports fans, and the like. Drop by and bring your game face for an awesome night of fun and drinks.

Folsom Street Foundry, 1425 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-795-3644

The Foundry | © Kimberly Le
The Foundry | © Kimberly Le