King and the Pawn

Tucked away along Purvis Street is the homey 55-seater King and the Pawn Board Game Cafe & Bar, with a solid menu of hearty grub, artisanal cocktails and locally brewed craft beers—and best of all, no imposition of a time limit.

Owned by board-games-enthusiast couple Grace and Yixian, here, board games are naturally the biggest draw. And with a veritable list of more than 300 board games—of which a good chunk were painstakingly imported from the United States—expect to find a heady mix of choices, ranging from ‘abstract strategy’ to ‘hard strategy’; and more than a few breezy party games in the mix. The staff are well-versed enough with games to recommend options depending on your preference or party size, which can be as small as a two-player team to as large as a ten-people party.

Easy crowd favorites include the Riff Raff Balancing Ship game that tests your dexterity when you have to balance tiny game pieces atop a precariously swivelling ship; and Cards Against Muggles—a clear Harry Potter twist on the notorious Cards Against Humanity (also available)—that’s bound to have Harry Potter fans and non-fans alike in stitches. For the completely uninitiated, whet your appetite with classics like Monopoly, though it would be a waste at a board games haven like King and The Pawn. Best part: There is no time limit, which leaves room for trying your hand at heavier-hitting games that can take up to hours. Instead, all the cafe asks for is a “cover charge” of $8 per person (Tues-Thurs) and $13 (Fri-Sun) for whoever’s playing.

Not just a one-trick pony, King and The Pawn also boasts an impressive menu of hearty eats and drinks. Still largely in sharing portions, the must-tries include the Popcorn Chicken Duo ($14) served with dipping sauces; Tomato and Roasted Grape Bruschetta ($10) that comes with a generous tub of feta cheese; as well as the aromatic Truffled Honey Croque Madame ($22), a full-sized main you won’t want to share. If you’re coming with a lot of friends, get The King’s Nachos ($23)—freshly made to order, big on flavors, and heaped with mozarella, guacamole, salsa, buttered corn and jerk chicken. The cherry on top is a full menu of artisanal cocktails ($15-$16), wines ($11), and bottled craft beers (five for $60) from the likes of Rye & Pint and Blue Moon; served from the bar, an unlikely but pleasant surprise for a board games cafe. 

Aside, attention to detail is evident in every aspect here, from the lovingly crafted scrabble-tile coasters, to the larger-than-life Snakes & Ladders wall deco. A well-thought out place that’s both cozy and conducive to while away the hours? Check(mate).