The Board and Brew: a New Way to Play in College Park

By Riley Brennan

The Board and Brew is one of many cafes in College Park, but it’s the only one where you can choose from hundreds of board games to play while you eat. 

As a board game cafe, it offers customers the opportunity to enjoy a warm drink or meal while playing one of the many board games they have to choose from. Whether it’s childhood favorites like Monopoly, or newly released games, the restaurant offers hundreds of board games for customers to play. 

The Board and Brew was opened in 2014 by two University of Maryland graduates, Brian McClimens and Ben Epstein, and is currently owned and run by McClimens and Epstein, as well as Michael Chmar. As a co-owner of the business, Chmar oversees the ordering of product, managing of employees and handling of data relating to the business. 

According to Chmar, the business strives to create a comfortable environment where people can connect over games and quality food. They also host weekly events, including Monday Meetup, where customers can learn to play games from their “game guru;” Terrapin Tuesdays, which offers discounts to University of Maryland students; Wine Wednesdays and Trivia Night Thursdays. 

“It’s a neat gateway for people to be able to communicate with each other,” said Chmar on the idea that the cafe encourages people to spend time and interact with each other. “In general, when you go somewhere you have your phone, and most of your friends are probably sitting on their phones … and people don’t do that here as much because they’re playing games.” 

Caroline Pugh, a sophomore biology and German major, has frequented the cafe numerous times due to its close proximity to her apartment. Pugh has found the restaurant to produce good quality food in a timely manner, adding that “the prices are affordable, especially if you plan to stay for a while and play games. It’s a unique concept for a restaurant and it executes it well!”

Other customers of the business, like sophomore environmental science and technology major Melody Lirazan, find the cafe to a fun place to hang out and play games, but a more difficult place to study. “For studying, it’s a bit hard when it comes to long-time studying because you aren’t always guaranteed a spot with an outlet,” said Lirazan.

According to Chmar, the goal for the Board and Brew is to continue to expand as a business and open up various locations. “Our plan is to have multiple, multiple, multiple units, but slow responsible growth,” said Chmar. This plan is already in the process, with a second location in Philadelphia in the process of being constructed. 

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Board and Brew’s Facebook page.

Riley Brennan is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at rbrenna1@terpmail.umd.edu.

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