Where to Play Board Games and Card Games in Chicago

Updated June 16, 2017

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Backgammon Chess Euchre Jenga

Board Games in Chicago

Connect Four, Jenga, Operation, Scrabble, Boggle, Battleship - there are hundreds of great games to play while enjoying a bevv. The Bonus Round Game Cafe hosts pop up board game nights at bars and coffee shops around town, join the meetup here. There is a free weekly board game night at MTG Card Market but BYOB is not allowed. Want to find a Magic the Gathering tournament or get weird with friends playing Cards Against Humanity?

Game night doesn't always have to be a night at home, especially with the selection available at Chicago's bars, breweries, and coffee shops. When you're looking for some light competition, look no further than these establishments, where you can enjoy a good beverage and play board games or card games.

Photo: Guthrie's Tavern

Guthrie's Tavern has a tower of board games including chess, Yahtzee, Balderdash, Pictionary, Monopoly, Scrabble, Life, Battleship, Stratego, Boggle, Connect 4, Apples to Apples, Jeopardy, Risk, Candyland and Sorry (to name a few). If you're not playing a game, you're an anomaly at this local hangout serving micro brews and beer flights.

Pair craft beer with the game selection at Vice District Brewing in South Loop, where you can also bring your own food and four legged friends.

The Blind Robin in Ukranian Village has a selection of games including Connect Four:

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A photo posted by Abby Wynne (@abbymwynne) on

 

Scrabble, giant Jenga, and Twister are among the game selections at 3 Greens Market in River North:

 

Jenga

An intense game of Jenga at Keenan O'Reilly's (Photo: Keenan O'Reilly's)

In addition to traditional Jenga, giant Jenga has made its way into our lives.

giant jenga wrigleyville

The Full Shilling is not only a great spot to watch a Cubs Game or cheer for the Clemson Tigers, they also have giant Jenga (above).

Giant jenga streeters tavern chicago

You can really get into giant Jenga at Streeters Tavern

Weeds Tavern also has a giant Jenga set:

Jenga fun at weeds tavern! #chicago #jenga #allfallsdown #fireball

A video posted by Margaret Haag (@margaret.haag) on

 

As does Wise Owl:

100% Jenga completion

A photo posted by Chris Brom (@ccbrombrom) on

 

Backgammon

What do Chicago, Monte Carlo, Brugges, and Porter, Indiana have in common? Monthly backgammon meetups. This is probably how they do it in Monte Carlo:

Photo: Maryland Pink and Green

Nordstrom Michigan Avenue was featured in our post about where to shop and drink, and is also home to the Chicago Backgammon Meetup group’s monthly session - the first Wednesday night of the month in the Nordstrom Cafe. In addition to weekly gammon, American Tap is a great place to watch the Hawks, UFC, or play video poker. See the map below to find the best places to play a pickup game in Chicago - keep in mind World Backgammon Day March 20th. Alibaba Hookah Bar is the only place we found to pair backgammon with bevvs (BYOB, tea…) and belly dancing. For organized events and meetups in Chicagoland and beyond, check out the Chicago Point calendar. Chicago Point is the best local authority on all things Backgammon, and holds weekly and monthly events at Giordano’s in Morton Grove (among other locations). They also hold charity events such as a benefit tournament for the Anti-Cruelty Society.

Chess

Chess not only a strategic endeavor, but a bonding community activity for all ages. Chicago is home to many great coffee shops and other venues where you can play chess with a cup of coffee in hand.

 

 

Chessing on the over the hump Day O.T with That Rose on deck!

A photo posted by 804 W. Washington (@804harolds) on

 

Harold's Chicken in West Loop is a great place to catch a game of chess, some fried chicken and Rosé!

Photo: Game Room

The Game Room at the Chicago Athletic Association downtown has a very nice row of chess/checkers tables.

play chess at Dollop coffee shop

Photo: Dollop Coffee & Tea

Dollop Coffee & Tea in Buena Park/Uptown has both chess AND chess pie, not to mention Battleship. Dollop brews local Metropolis Coffee, and has partnered with Hoosier Mama Pie Company to sweeten your day.

Kristoffers cafe Chicago, play chess with cup of coffee

Photo: Yelp

Pilsen's Kristoffer’s Cafe & Bakery is a quiet, homey place to play chess. It's difficult to say which is more delicious, the tres leches or specialty coffee drinks, but we can all agree that Kristoffer's is one of Chicago's best coffee shops, particularly for relaxing with a good book or moving that rook. Brewing Intelligentsia Coffee, Kristoffer's has a full menu to try while you ponder your next move with a cup of joe in hand.

Julius Meinl play chess drink Viennese coffee

Photo: Center Square Journal

Julius Meinl in North Center is be the best place to have a Vienna Game. After your opening moves, peruse the menu of traditional Viennese coffee and pastries - this authentic cafe has such a great ambiance it's like being transformed to the imperial city!

Java and mug cafe with board games and chess

Photo: Yelp

Java & Mug Cafe specializes in desserts and other sweet treats such as Patbingsoo, a Korean shaved ice dessert. Java & Mug hosts a wide variety of board games to play and is a great family-friendly destination in North Park.

Cafe Ballou Chicago, chess and coffee

Photo: Timeout Chicago

If you're looking for a friendly neighborhood destination, Cafe Ballou is a guaranteed place to get a cup of coffee and a smile in the Ukranian Village/West Town area. In addition to the cozy, cheerful atmosphere, Ballou serves Intelligentsia coffee and offers chess and other board games to play.

Bru Chicago play chess with cup of coffee

Photo: Chicago Foodie Girl
Whether you're after stand up comedy, yoga, art, or playing board games, Brü Chicago has a great selection of activities paired with Sparrow Coffee. Grab a cup and be entertained!

cafe mustache coffee and chess Chicago

Photo: Chicago Reader

Cafe Mustache has made the transition from beloved local coffee shop to coffee shop + alternative music venue + bar. Check out their transformation into their neighboring Logan Square space here. Despite their love of live music, you can still find a place of solitude to catch a game of chess while sipping a cup of Bridgeport Coffee. You can also wash down their signature homemade chili with a local craft beer. Cheers!

Bridgeport coffee shop Chicago chess with drinks

Photo: Yelp

Speaking of Bridgeport Coffee...visit any Bridgeport Coffee Company for great coffee, and specifically the flagship location (in the Bridgeport neighborhood) for playing chess, reading on the patio, or coworking.

Jackalope Coffee & Teahouse is another Bridgeport option with Metropolis Coffee and a whole lot of personality. Check out their musical performances, featured local artists, and fun events - at a recent 'Drawmageddon' a local artist offered to draw patrons as a Simpson character! Grab a Doh!nut or something from Pleasant House Bakery to accompany your chess match. They also have Stumptown cold brew to enjoy while you play.

Emerald City Coffee Chicago chess cafe

Photo: Yelp

Any pacific northwest transplant will love this Seattle themed cafe in Lakeview, which rocks nonstop indie music. Emerald City's food menu is nothing to be ignored either - their breakfast tacos go great on your plate while you seek check mate!

Play chess with a cup of Dark Matter coffee

Photo: Tripadvisor

Around the corner from Dark Matter's roastery in West Town is a multi-story wonderland of coffee shop greatness. Star Lounge boasts a fantastic outdoor patio (pictured above), and has plenty of room to tuck into a sandwich, write a novel, or of course, strategize your next chess move.

Last but certainly not least is Iguana Cafe, a European coffee and sandwich shop where you can also find delicious crepes (Nutella anyone?). While you can catch a chess game any time, this location has also been used as the official Chicago Chess Meetup destination.

You don't have to be a chess players to check out the Bevver game map, which has board games, card games, and more.

Did we miss one? Send us your favorites!

Related: Bars that sponsor adult rec leagues in Chicago

 

Use the filter and select 'Board Games' to see all venues with board games,or enter your game of choice in the keyword section (e.g. "Battleship"). Game on!

 

Bar games in Chicago
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