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The Loft: Ottawa’s newest board game lounge

By Maksim Apelfeld on May 20, 2014

This past weekend I got a chance to sit down with co-owners Alessandro Argentina and Mike Hopkins of The Loft Board Game Lounge, to chat about their passion for board games and their brand new lounge. In the midst of preparations for their grand opening this Thursday, the two partners explained their vision and the driving force behind their idea to open the lounge in downtown Ottawa.

Alessandro and Mike, both Ottawa natives, joined forces about a year ago in an attempt to introduce something fresh to the Ottawa nightlife scene. The two met on Reddit by a stroke of chance, as they were both working towards the same goal of opening a board game café in Ottawa. Driven by the idea that a restaurant, bar, or club may not be the only answers to the infamous question: what to do on a Saturday night in Ottawa, the two looked for an alternative hang out spot with a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. After an inspirational visit to Snakes and Lattes in Toronto, it became clear that the answer to Ottawa’s social woes could be as simple and satisfying as a board game.

With that in mind, Alessandro and Mike set out to transform their idea into reality. A year after first diving into the world of board games, and after countless hours of hard work, research and preparation, the two are now set to open their lounge at 14 Waller Street. Located steps from the Rideau Centre, on the second floor of a heritage building, the Loft sits right above the Lunenburg Pub & Bar (formally Minglewoods). Inside you’ll find a cozy rustic interior, with the original stone walls and wooden roof beams still intact. Gaming tables and couches are set up along the walls, and the board-game collection is on display, stretching from the bar to the fireplace.

Loft Board Game Lounge

Left: The Loft Board Game Lounge on 14 Waller Street. Right: The Loft’s extensive board game collection.


A $5 “Stay & Play” fee (added to your bill at the end) gets you access to the Loft’s collection of over 700 board games. Those looking to snack while they play, will find a variety of flat-bread pizzas on the menu, as well as appetizers, grilled-cheese sandwiches, and some New York style cheesecake for dessert. Hot beverage options include coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate and flavoured lattes. For the thirsty bunch, there are two local beers on tap: Kichesippi Heller Highwater, and Flying Monkey Hoptical Illusion, in addition to Bud Light and Heineken in bottles. Cider and wine are also available, for the more refined gamer crowd.

Co-owners Alessandro and Mike passing on some board game knowledge to the staff.

Co-owners Alessandro and Mike passing on some board game knowledge to the staff.


With the grand opening set for this Thursday, the Loft Board Game Lounge is looking to put its own unique mark on Ottawa’s social scene. So if you are looking for something new to do in Ottawa, this might be the spot to check out!

The Loft Board Game Lounge (14 Waller Street) opens its doors on Thursday May 22 at noon. ‘Stay and Play’ proceeds collected all day will be donated to charity. Follow them on Facebook as they release more details about the grand opening event.