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Cafes

Snakes and Lattes

Posted by Guest Contributor / Posted on September 3, 2010

Snakes and LattesSnakes and Lattes is a concept cafe by Parisian entrepreneurs and life partners Ben Castaine and Aurelia Peynet. The concept: hock the Macbooks, PCs and WiFi and bring out the good ol' fashion, batteries not included board games. For $5 per person, patrons are encouraged to play any game in the store -- a collection of 1,500 plus that ranges from the necessary (Monopoly) to the nostalgic (Jumanji) and the rare (Fireball Island).

The baristas at Snakes double as tutorial leaders, giving instructions on how to play the board games, assisting with strategies and from time to time acting as a third or fourth or even fifth player.

Snakes and LattesOn this occasion, my friend Jonathan Mainou (Jono) and I decide to compete at The Settlers of Catan on our charismatic barista's (Joseph Brosnan's) recommendation. As he explains, it isn't ONLY German Game of the Year, 1995, OR U. S. Board Game of the Year, 1996. BUT, boardgamegeek.com CONTINUALLY rates it one of the best games EVER! With Brosnan's assistance, Jono and I are quickly knee deep in a competitive race to build roads, towns and armies with the objective of earning 10 points using two dice as our only weapon.

Snakes and LattesWhile the board game half of the concept at Snakes and Lattes (the Snakes) is unmatched, the café half (the Lattes) leaves room for improvement. My iced latte ($3.40), although refreshing in the August heat, needs at least one more shot of espresso to pack a stronger caffeinated punch. Not to mention, the pain au chocolate ($1.90) I order is clearly a day or two old and what was once soft and buttery is now stale. Jono experiences a similar disappointment in his croissant ($1.90).

Snakes and LattesAccording to Peynet, the pain au chocolate and croissants are purchased from Patisserie Cocoa in Etobicoke while the rest of the baking is done in house. Although I didn't test the items myself, the savory quiches ($3.50) and sandwiches (Sm $4.75, Lg $6.75) look tempting while my sweet-toothed notes Peynet's clafoutis ($3.00), a flan-like cake originally from Limousin, France.

Beyond the baked goods, the café also sells a small variety of candies and chocolate bars which will pair well with the beer and liquor soon to be available when the café's liquor license is in order. Castaine says prices, portions and sale items are likely to change as the coffee shop continues to grow.

Snakes and LattesOf interest is the café's drip coffee brewed from a European brand called Cam. These specific beans are known for their deep, bold flavour and are normally ground for espresso however the shops leading duo are very proud to unconventionally use the dark beans in their regular cup of joe (Sm $1.75, Lg $2.00).

Snakes and LattesPeynet says the café will soon host themed nights such as an evening of murder and mystery (not to be confused with a Murder Mystery), and if interest is perceived the owners might arrange role playing nights. Other developments will include Brunch and Board Game Sundays, youth-focused initiatives and a rental system where customers can take board games home for a few nights.

Snakes and LattesFor the most part, Snakes and Lattes has already slithered its way into the hearts of Torontonian gamers, but the Bloor West café has a little work ahead if it wants to win over the city's coffee connoisseurs.

Oh! Before I wrap this up, I should mention (without too much ego, of course) I absolutely destroyed Jono at The Settlers of Catan and I will now be accepting professional invitations from local players via commenting below.

Snakes and LattesMon - Fri 11:00am - 11:00pm; Sat 1:00pm - 12:00am; Sun 1:00pm - 9:00pm
Writing by Carl Hiehn. Photography by Dennis Marciniak.

Discussion

105 Comments

Jeff / September 8, 2010 at 09:45 am
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Can you clarify the $5 fee to play the board games. Is this a pass that lasts for a year or is this EACH time? If it is each time then it is a rip off........ Are they currently charging or is it "trial" period now?

Jerry / September 8, 2010 at 09:46 am
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Ukraine is NOT weak!!

Im really looking foreword to checking this place out.
Scott replying to a comment from Jeff / September 8, 2010 at 10:16 am
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I went on Labour Day and it was packed during the afternoon. It's $5 per person per visit. But when I saw a group of about 8 teenagers sprawled all over a few couches and having no signs of drinks or food with them, I can see why the cafe does that - they aren't a public library. They don't pressure you at all to eat/drink. It seems reasonable to me since people will linger for a few hours. Also, where else are you going to find a lot of these games (so there's value inherent in that)? Seriously for a couple/few/several hours of entertainment and atmosphere (though I didn't totally dig the atmosphere when it was full and my seat was uncomfortable), $5 seems like a very reasonable prices at less than half the cost of a movie.
Gabe replying to a comment from Scott / September 8, 2010 at 10:45 am
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It's in interesting concept/business venture. But why are you comparing this to a movie they are two very different things? I don't understand why a movie is the testing bar.

$5 seems like a lot to me it's more than double the price of a head of lettuce.
Leann / September 8, 2010 at 10:46 am
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You think $5 each time is a ripoff? Think of it as when you go into an arcade you are paying per game. If you play a game of Settlers, you are going to be lingering for a couple hours at least. I don't think paying $5 to do that is so bad, especially if they are not expecting you to buy any food or drinks.
JT / September 8, 2010 at 10:47 am
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Settlers. Great choice. Better choice? Cities and Knights. What's that you ask? It's a Settlers expansion. That's right, I said it. Expansion. Meaning, Settlers gets bigger and better.

Thanks for doing this write up. My wife and I will be sure to check this place out!
Nick / September 8, 2010 at 10:55 am
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I'll be the first to bite: Carl, if you ain't kidding, I've got wood for sheep and I'll take you anytime.
Gloria / September 8, 2010 at 10:55 am
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If you're looking at it as an "afternoon" on the cheap or you want to play looooooooots of different games, $5 is reasonable. I imagine it not only covers the room and board you're taking up, it helps the cafe maintain the cost of games (lost pieces, etc) or buy new games. That said, if you're going each time with friends, you're probably better off just buying the darn game. A copy of Settlers is about $35-40, tops.
Donna / September 8, 2010 at 10:58 am
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Settlers of Cantan $49.95 at Chapters Indigo
Buy a house in the Annex $800,000
Have 6 friends over to play
Total costs $800,049.95

OR 6 friends x $5 = $30
Jeff / September 8, 2010 at 11:07 am
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Just would like to see some kind of "frequent user" option. Or, some kind of discount if you buy more than $5 worth of food or drink (although, from the review, sounds like you should skip and food and drink.... at least until they get their fix that part of their business).

Jules replying to a comment from Jeff / September 8, 2010 at 11:14 am
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I agree with Jeff. There should be a 6 month pass or a 4 player for $15 pass or something.
Skiggy / September 8, 2010 at 11:23 am
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Paying $5 to sit in a cafe and board games is totally a sustainable business model, 40 years ago.
Sasha / September 8, 2010 at 11:23 am
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Bring on the game tournaments!!! and the all- nighters!!! and the off site sponsored tournaments in a park or gymnasium!!! I can see a place like this making it happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RichAsshole / September 8, 2010 at 11:25 am
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Guys... it's 5 bucks. Relax.
Will / September 8, 2010 at 11:27 am
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So as a student if I pay $5 to enter and play, can bring my own pop and homemade sandwich? Can I run out grab a subway $5 footlong and bring it back in
Will / September 8, 2010 at 11:30 am
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Relax its only a $5 foot long, I paid your fee - let me bring it in!!!
Will don't be cheap / September 8, 2010 at 11:34 am
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Will, get a job, by their sandwiches and stop being so cheap!
Andrew / September 8, 2010 at 11:56 am
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Anyone else notice the big box of Fireball Island on top of the games shelf? How cool is that? Who has Fireball Island anymore?

I also see some Axis & Allies. Couldn't spot a Twilight Imperium though. Still, place looks awesome.
Annie replying to a comment from Jules / September 8, 2010 at 12:08 pm
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Agreed, as the cafe gets going I hope this is something they embrace. They could go lots of directions with this, a 'frequent player' card (come 5 times get the 6th free), food combos (order $10 of food/drink and play for free) or the other ideas already stated are great (4 friends play for the price of 3, a monthly pass) etc.
Matt / September 8, 2010 at 12:12 pm
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If this place is anything like those those toy/game stores that host Magic the Gathering and similar games, expect the B.O. factor to be massive.
Mei / September 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm
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Bring on the themed nights! (plus the alcohol = winner)
CD / September 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm
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I was excited to check out the place and went last night... I must say I was VERY disappointed. Yes, $5 charge per person isn't going to break the bank, but its pretty steep as a 'cover charge' to play board games in a cafe. The coffee was sub par (not to mention it took over 10 minutes for it to be made.)

Sure, there is a huge selection of games... but its not a good selection, or really organized well for that matter.

I don't want to knock the place, as I'm sure the owners are lovely people, but this is not being executed well whatsoever. If you are going to go, enter with low expectations.
superbien / September 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm
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@CD : did we come in the same café????
The selection of game is just AMAZING (1500+), the best of Eurogame includind Settlers of Catan of course and a great collection of recent and funny games!

And Yes, the owners are lovely :)

Love,

J.
Rachel / September 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm
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I went, liked the concept, but am disappointed by the "cover charge."

$5 for a table of 4 is more reasonable, or even $5 for 2 people. If I am sitting in a cafe that long, I am definitely eating and drinking, as I did. In under 2 hours, my table went through sandwiches, coffees, and desserts, but the games added $20 to that for 4 people and the group decided it would have been better to put that extra $20 towards a pitcher of beer and play the free board games at Clintons.

There is no incentive for me to go back without some kind of price revision or as has been mentioned, a food & game price combo.
Will replying to a comment from Will don't be cheap / September 8, 2010 at 12:46 pm
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They need to make good food in order for it to be worth it.Good quality food. There are lots of Pubs in the city that have board games available and trivia cards and peopel actually use them because the food and drink is good. Heck if the food and drink is good people will come for that and some may not play any games at all.

I want quality food cooked on site. If I get something that was made somewhere else and just brought there. I might was well make my own and bring it they way I like. This needs to be the perfect marriage of food, drink and games. Imagine enjoying some wine and playing scrabble... this would be great at futures!
amandacoish / September 8, 2010 at 01:11 pm
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The Settlers of Catan is the best game ever. People play it for hours and hours. I guess you would have to charge. It would be cool if you could bring your own bottle of wine :)
Swift / September 8, 2010 at 02:57 pm
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I think the point of this place is the wide selection of games, like an arcade, the food is just an added bonus. Not the other way around. As a business starting out $5 per person sounds incredibly reasonable. I'm sure with time they will put a sort of membership or muliple player deal in place.
I don't own a single board game. This seems like a perfectly good outing when I have the urge to get into "Trouble"
The Lam / September 8, 2010 at 05:03 pm
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Yah, the $5 per person seems a bit much. I'd be into it if say the large coffee was $3 instead of $2 and that allowed you to play any game you want, but that's me, being a cheap mofo I suppose.
Gabe replying to a comment from Swift / September 8, 2010 at 05:32 pm
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Yes the point is the wide selection of games BUT running a lasting business is another thing. Food will bring the money in when those rent bills start piling up...
freddie / September 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm
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I think this is a super interesting idea and has legs to grow. However, I sure wouldn't have opened it up in the Annex. The amount of people here complaining about $5 just goes to show that the cheap students in the area aren't going to support it.

Side rant:

Annex... I don't understand what anybody sees in that area, unless you're a U of T student. Once you grow up, get a job and make decent money, it's a terrible area to live.
Fervidus / September 9, 2010 at 12:16 am
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I have not been yet, but I plan to go this Friday with some friends (so pls pick a differnet day to go, otherwise we'll be competing for space, haha!)

It seems that people have mixed reviews depending on what their expectations are. It sounds like the people who don't like it are those who expect good food and drink, or those who aren't really serious gamers.

My friends and I will be going for the games, and the food and drink will just be for when we get hungry and thirsty. The benefit of this place compared to other places which sell games and host game nights is that S&L will let you play any of their games, while other stores make you buy them or bring your own. This allows us to playtest new games and get help from staff (apparently) before we make the decision to buy them. So I can see myself coming here a few times to test new games, then probably buy the ones we like for ourselves. After that, we'd host our own game nights and play for free. Another advantage is the social aspect and meeting other gamers.

I'll write back after Friday and let you all know what we thought.
Sasha / September 9, 2010 at 12:29 am
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Bring IT!!!
Joee / September 9, 2010 at 12:53 am
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We own a board game cafe in Thunder Bay ON and we have a huge amount of food. Burgers, fries, salads, etc and we have a rental fee setup... which I never use. The rental fee is only if people don't purchase food which in the 9 months weve been open we've never had to use.
LJ replying to a comment from Gabe / September 9, 2010 at 10:06 am
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Gabe says "$5 seems like a lot to me it's more than double the price of a head of lettuce"

I know, and almost 20 times the price of a sour key candy!
get a life
Gabe replying to a comment from LJ / September 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm
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I know $5 is alot, it's like double the price of a bag of apples!!
Stu / September 10, 2010 at 11:47 pm
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when us $5 not $5?



































When its OSAP $5!!!
Hans replying to a comment from LJ / September 11, 2010 at 01:30 am
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$5 to get in!!!???!!! I could get 500 penny candies down at the general store for that, are you crazzzy???!!
Hans replying to a comment from LJ / September 11, 2010 at 01:30 am
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$5 to get in!!!???!!! I could get 500 penny candies down at the general store for that, are you crazzzy???!!
Rena / September 11, 2010 at 10:52 am
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I've been to this place three times this week! I love the atmosphere there. For the people who wonder why you should pay $5 when you can just buy the game and play at home, it's the same reason why you pay $5 for a beer that you can get for $1.50 at the LCBO- because it's fun to go out.

I was a little put off by the cover charge at first, but considering every time I've gone I've stayed for at least three hours, it makes a lot of sense. A five dollar cover for that much selection and that atmosphere and that much fun is money well spent on a night out, in my opinion.

The people who work there are super nice and help you find games if you can't find them, and will come and play with you or show you how to play a new game. Hooray for Snakes and Lattes!
Sean / September 13, 2010 at 01:12 pm
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Bring on the FOOD!!!!
Jonah / September 13, 2010 at 02:43 pm
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Do they clean the games so germs aren't passed along from people putting cards in their hands, up against their face, sneezing etc?
susie replying to a comment from Jeff / September 14, 2010 at 04:48 am
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I have to disagree--$5 for an all day rental of board games, a warm venue and helpful staff is not a rip off.
Brendan / September 14, 2010 at 02:53 pm
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Sounds like Toronto is full of a bunch of cheap skates. I think they should charge $5 for only a couple of hours. I personally don't think they will last. It's a neat idea and something that could work but I went to go and check it out and waited for 30 minutes for a space to free up, and ended up leaving because there were a bunch of people (student's mostly) that had apparently spent the entire day there without so much as a coffee to be seen on their table.
hugestNERDever replying to a comment from Matt / September 15, 2010 at 10:23 am
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it's nothing like those stores. as a matter of fact they discourage magic the gathering from being played during peak hours.
get it together / September 15, 2010 at 01:12 pm
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Owners were nice, food was so-so but the front counter service was AWFUL! Ordered two espressos. They made one right away, gave it to my friend and she sat down. When I inquired about mine the guy behind the counter (who was now talking to his friends)rudely told that there were other orders ahead of me and that I had to wait. I agree with CD's comment above
"I'm sure the owners are lovely people, but this is not being executed well whatsoever." I won't be going back.

Swan replying to a comment from Brendan / September 15, 2010 at 11:09 pm
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Sounds like Toronto is full of people that think twice before shelling out its cash. $5 here $5 there, Torontonians know it all it adds up!!!!!
Jerrod / September 16, 2010 at 09:05 pm
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$5 dollar footlongs!!!
Don / September 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm
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If they lower the cover charge to less than $5 per day per person I doubt if they could stay in business. People who are only going to play games without ordering anything would fill the place up and then what's going to pay the rent? If they lower the price to $4 that could, (worst case scenario - the one that you have to plan for if you want to stay in business and based on Brendan's comment it looks like it's already happening), around $3,600 a month. That's probably not enough to even pay their rent (that's not a cheap section of Bloor)); never mind hydro, salaries, cleaning supplies, taxes and licensing fees, wear and tear on assets and taking out the trash.

I can't think of a single other downtown venue, other than the Salvation Army soup kitchen, as cheap as this. If you can't afford this you can't afford anything. Time to stay home with the crossword puzzles from the free subway papers!
Alan / September 26, 2010 at 01:32 am
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I've gone four times now and never once balked at paying the $5 cover, and never will. The food is fantastic and the staff is wonderful, having recommended and taught my group and others many games in the time I've been there. Sometimes the counter service is a little bit on the slow side, but it gets that way at any busy restaurant or café during peak hours. Also, since this business is still pretty new, they're likely still trying to figure out how much staff they need to have around on/at any given day/time.

Earlier, someone compared it to a night out at the movies, and I believe that it's a great comparison to make.

Movie ticket: $12.50 (1.5-3 hours) No talking
Café cover: $5 (as long as you like) Talk to your friends
Movie food: $5-10 for popcorn and pop, maybe some candy.
Café food: $2-10 for fresh coffee, sandwiches, quiche, cupcakes, etc.

And, as a gamer, I'm sure I'll save myself loads of money by getting to try out games before I lay down the money to buy them. I've already been able to cross one $50 game I was planning to buy off my list. I love Snakes & Lattes and wish the owners all the best.
Steph / September 26, 2010 at 08:09 pm
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Just went there this afternoon and I think this is a great atmosphere and fun place to hang out. I had a great time.

I know this place is relatively new, but I have to say that the service and food needs a lot of work. Some great service people were there to talk about the games, help out, etc. but the guy working at the front mumbled a lot and wasn't very friendly. That was fine, but then when we ordered more food it all kind of went into a big mess. The servers had no idea what we had ordered and asked us multiple times, and the food took a ridiculous amount of time to get. A cup of coffee even took 20 minutes and we had to ask for it twice.

I'm going to give the cafe some time to get settled and they had mentioned they were understaffed. They need to get their butts in gear, but in general, I will definitely be back with a group of friends in tow!
zooey / September 27, 2010 at 10:46 am
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do they have stratego?
M. Cera replying to a comment from zooey / September 27, 2010 at 05:45 pm
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If they don't. I do we can make it a date.
Rabbit Dildos / September 27, 2010 at 09:00 pm
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I wonder how often they have to replace the games due to missing pieces/damage. It's still a cool idea to check out. I'd rather pop in here than start spending money on my own home collection of games. As if I have place for that stuff. And $5 is really not a lot. Going out to the movies costs $50 these days for two people! (I like popcorn)
Laura / October 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm
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The problem with this place is they don’t know how to treat customers. Is it because they are so busy they feel the ones in the door are most important and potential ones do not matter. I tried to make a reservation and after a month of calling I finally get a human. He tells me they cannot take my group of eight and that we should go else where. What did I hear that correct? He just said my group of eight people should go else where? Yup, that’s good business savy! Now I’m posting it. I will go else where with my group of eight, tonight and every night!!!
Dallas / October 5, 2010 at 07:06 pm
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Super rude and super horrible coffee.
didn't stick around to play any games b/c the owners were so mean that i left without finishing my horrible espresso.
the guy wrapped my brownie, that i had to remind them i paid for, in a huge piece of waxed paper and an oversized brown bag.
Will never go back!

I recommend Holy Oak Cafe, amazing coffee, chill and nice people and tons of board games.
they have been hosting a regular board games night since opening in April 2009
Sav replying to a comment from Swan / October 7, 2010 at 12:02 am
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If the food sucks and the employees are rude, then fine. That's fair. It should be a nice homely environment, not some sketchy unhappy place that happens to have board games.

I'm also concerned over the sanitary issue. The $5 is likely a fee to pay for Lysol to maintain the cleanliness of games. I hope anyway.

I don't see why so many people are having an issue with the price, and I'm rather broke and complain about such fees myself.

A movie out is usually around $13 minimum for 1. A movie varies from around 1.5 hrs to 2 or more. You sit and watch, not really socializing with anyone who accompanied you and the quality of the movie will vary.

Now here, we pay $5 per head playing a board game, socializing with your friends for the same [varying] length of time. Which sounds better is entirely up to you and the mood you're in that night, but financially, socially, even intellectually [game dependent] the board game cafe wins on all levels.

But I completely understand the argument of, okay my group paid $30 for a $45 dollar game and we will have to play again should we want to play it again, and I get that. That's something I would certainly say.

But there aren't a lot of decent ways to TRY a bunch of previously unknown, and possibly expensive [see:expansions], board games without paying for the entire thing; What happens if you don't like it and you can't find anyone who will take it off your hands?
Phil / October 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm
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The idea/concept is good. 5$ to help maintaining the board games sounds fine for me.
The problem, the food and the owners.
Food is frozen and/or several days old and the owners don't give attention to this. They are not very into cleaning tables and the place and I'm not really sure the kitchen might be as clean as we can expect... And what about cleaning the games after a party ??

It will be a NOGO for me despite the fact that I found the idea is great but hygiene is not really a top priority for the owners...
John / October 28, 2010 at 08:58 pm
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C'mon guys, the $5 is to justify taking up a whole table and playing games for 1-3+ hours!

I'll admit though that when a whole table pays for the admission and then also buys drinks and food, it does adds up. Maybe they could make it a cheaper admission IF you buy food or drinks?

The service was a little slow, but the coffees were superb. Food was meh. Game selection's amazing and the environment is super comfortable!
Mike / November 25, 2010 at 10:41 am
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Five dollars per person is amazing.

To all the fools who think five is way too much, there is a reason why you don't own a business. If they were to charge 5 bucks for a table or 15 for a month, they would be in the red very fast.

You pay 10 for a movie and receive 2 hours of entertainment. You pay more for that for a concert and receive 2 hours of entertainment, if you're lucky. You want to play a few holes of golf, you end up paying a small fortune and only get around 2 hours of fun. You come across an arcade that actually still exists! Five dollars lasts you 10 minutes. You want to play board games for as long as you want in a friendly environment, with a chance of making new friends, you pay five bucks and can stay as long as you want. Oh yeah, what a horrible deal!

There is a cost of entertainment. It's not just paying for a table and drinking coffee. If you don't enjoy board games enough to understand the deal, than stay home, or go to some other venue of entertainment and pay more for less time.
Raph / November 25, 2010 at 03:25 pm
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To the people who think $5 is too much, please don't go! It's too busy as it is and the last few times we went we had to wait too long!
Maria / December 30, 2010 at 10:10 pm
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This past Monday was my second time there. Had a great experience the first time, but this time the host (I think he was the host?) was slightly condescending. When he asked for someone's number, one of my friends, Lisa gave him hers. We were about eight Indian people. In what I think was some sort of attempt to connect with us, he asked if her name was "Lisa like Lisa Ray."(Lisa is not specifically an Indian name) He then said "very very nice" in a mocking Indian accent. I realize that he probably meant no offense by this; it actually came off like he was completely unaware of what it sounded like. However, it was offensive to me and members of my group, and left a bad taste in my mouth. It made us feel singled out and like we did not belong. Canada, and especially Toronto is supposed to be a cultural mosaic, and I feel that we are supposed to accept other people's cultures not mock them. None of us even really had an accent, and we have all grown up with Indian parents so we know what they sound like. And although something like this may not have caused that much damage, how much ignorance is acceptable or palatable before it starts to cause harm? I am in no way accusing the establishment of being racist or prejudice, and realize that one employee's behaviour is not representative of the owner's viewpoints or biases. But I don't know that I'll be back to find out.
Franky / January 3, 2011 at 01:34 pm
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"To all the fools who think five is way too much, there is a reason why you don't own a business. If they were to charge 5 bucks for a table or 15 for a month, they would be in the red very fast."

I am heeding this sage advise and opening up Cafe Water in the Annex. At Cafe Water, you pay $5 per person for all the tap water you can drink. Some might complain that tap water is free at other establishments, but to them I say this: how else would Cafe Water stay in business if we didn't charge the $5? You just don't have a head for business, kids.
Mercury / February 4, 2011 at 07:11 pm
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This sounds like a very unique concept. It seems as though everybody has mixed reviews about the food. What if they offered finger foods like a tub of popcorn for you and your friends to share while playing? Anyone have any comments about that?
Lodo / February 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm
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I went there for my birthday party back in January.

I had been once before (with a boy, on a date) and found some bad coffee but a nice atmosphere, so I thought I'd go back for a fun group activity with my friends.

BIG MISTAKE. We were shoved right at the back, the servers ignored us all night, we had lacklustre game explanations/suggestions for our party and they kept forgetting our orders.
At the end of the night they messed up our bill and overcharged us. When I asked for an itemised bill they said they 'couldn't' do that and we each had to just go to the till individually and remember what we'd each ordered. They accused us of lying about what we'd bought (a lot of drinks, might I add) and demanded that one of my friends pay his cover charge again.
Our server was rude and complained to me that he'd worked eight hour shifts 'every day' that week. It was a Friday: I'm fairly sure that the majority of the room had worked 'every day' that week.

Very unprofessional, overpriced ($5 for a tiny bowl of crappy chips?) and the staff don't know how to deal with groups of more than three people. We won't be going back.

EM / March 10, 2011 at 10:59 am
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The place is not a charity or a library or a student hall - it's a business where turnover and volume mean you are paying the bills. $5 is extremely reasonable considering you get to try a ton of great games, from the newest releases to the ones that are hard to find, and stay as long as you like.

In fact, I think $5 a visit is too cheap if you camp there all day and don't purchase food or drinks. I think $10 per hour for a table is more like it, similar to a pool table or bowling alley type pricing system.
Anonymous / March 11, 2011 at 12:39 am
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Loved the place, and they have the most amazing rare games. BUT the staff was quite RUDE and inattentive. I understand its super busy especially on a crowded night, but if they were nicer the place would be even more Amazing then it is! :)
Anonymous replying to a comment from Lodo / March 11, 2011 at 12:41 am
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I fully agree about the Rudeness and the complete and utter caos behind the counter. They have no idea who's getting who and who's ordered what. It was quite off putting!
Hue Jazz replying to a comment from zooey / March 11, 2011 at 08:00 am
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Stratego anyone? I need some practice before heading to the State championships in Florida.
Zooey replying to a comment from Hue Jazz / March 11, 2011 at 10:11 am
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State champiosnhips?? whooaa!! I wish I could go. Watch out for this girl Emma, shes a promising underdog. Good luck!!
jaybee / March 14, 2011 at 09:30 am
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We were going to come today...but then I found out about the 5 dollar admission and I not only think its slightly obnoxious, but I can't afford it....there are many cafes that I sit around for hours on my laptop but I buy lots of coffee and food so its worth it...they didn't have to buy that many games....

I don't' think you should have to pay 5 bucks to sit and drink a $3 coffee then buy a 2-3 dollar treat...chances are that you are going to pay the 5 bucks to sit around anyway....

If anything entering into the very competative cafe business gives you an edge from the large investment of purchasing the games....so be happy to have the customers.....

to me the attitudes that '5 bucks is not a lot of money', is an insult to those who it IS a lot of money....and makes me not want to support that business..
h / April 5, 2011 at 05:36 pm
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To those quaffing at 5 dollars cover. Go purchase the games yourself. Holy lord, it’s a business. I also notice anyone whining about the staff is also crying about the 5 dollars… again, go purchase the games yourself.
Antony / April 8, 2011 at 06:21 pm
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This whole thread is a big LMAO!
Can a conversation keep going in anymore circles?
J / April 26, 2011 at 11:34 am
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When I first came to Snakes and Lattes, five dollars as cover per person put me off guard. However, after spending hours with friends playing games we've never heard of, five dollars is worth it.

I've been here a couple of times and I've never had a bad experience. The staff have been friendly, humorous, and accommodating every time I've visited. This cafe is a place to check out if you're in the mood for good games and quality time with your friends.
Evan / June 9, 2011 at 06:03 pm
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Went last night with my girlfriend, she had been dying to go for a while I never heard of it. I was worried that we wouldnt be able to play much with only 2 people, a lot of people were there in groups of 4 or more. The back of the cafe is a round table of couches fit for at least 8 people and they were playing a version of pictionary called constructionary with lego. this alone is enough for me to come back. but their game guru jonathan was able to find lots of games for our date. We started with Blockus Duo and moved up to more complex games like Hive (which is now my favourite) and Quoridor. He took the time to find games suited to our needs and carefully explained the rules and answered all of our questions with enthusiasm and without looking like a tired employee of any other cafe. 5$ is cheap for this kind of service not to mention value. Go for dessert after dinner in the annex. I suggest Guu Sakabar down the street
Jess / July 4, 2011 at 07:56 pm
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I ADORE Catan. Pick me.
Brandon / July 15, 2011 at 02:16 pm
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Some of you are actually complaining about paying $5? It's called getting a job. I fear for your spouses when you have to make a purchase such as a car or a house.
JLankford / July 23, 2011 at 06:49 pm
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We've not ventured into Snakes & Lattes yet. The concept sounds inviting, $5 is not terrible for an unlimited stay, but the comments on lackluster coffee / food / service make me hesitate when there are other options.
Ron P replying to a comment from Gabe / August 19, 2011 at 02:20 am
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Umm someone was actually critical of someone comparing one entertainment (going to the movies)to going to a board game cafe then compared the cost to go to a certain boardgame cafe to buying to heads of lettuce. Talk about comparing apples to orangatangs.
Joy / August 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm
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I visited Snakes and Lattes yesterday with a couple of family members. My experience was eh... it was alright. We didn't buy food since we were going out afterwards, but their selection didn't look bad from what I saw. The staff was friendly, a bit disorganized when they tried to find us seats but it was okay in the end. Their bathrooms however were smelly... But at least they flushed well LOL. I would go back (but not in a heart beat) hopefully expecting that we actually get taught board games :P
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lol
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Free Surprise / December 10, 2011 at 10:06 am
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I wager that most of the people complaining about the entry fee wouldn't think twice about paying more than $5 for a pint of beer. What you get for this price at Snakes & Lattes is unlimited access to a vast library of board games that you probably wouldn't be able to play anywhere else without actually buying them. If you can't understand or appreciate what you're paying for, then you shouldn't be there in the first place.
New girl / December 16, 2011 at 12:25 am
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I went tonight with my work holiday party for the first time and had a lovely time. I didn't see any stratego though.
fanny / December 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm
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It is a wonderful idea that make people more social rather than be sitting at the front of a computer.The cover charge is cheap,people should stop complaining,you can stay there as long as you want.Do not forget the owner have high cost to pay to run the place,maintain it and pay the staff and replace the games that get damage or lost.The food could be improve,our coffee was cold,but otherwise it is a lot of fun...
random / January 5, 2012 at 09:41 pm
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Everyone should switch their viewpoint. Isn't it a little bit shallow to always drink and eat and go to the movies all the time? It's nice to do something a little... different. The $5 is paying for the experience. You wouldn't even look at board games at home. I thought it was nice to feel like a kid again.
Me / January 8, 2012 at 02:09 am
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On a weeknight, around 8, we were told it would be a 3 hr wait. They took our number and never texted us, as they said they would, when a table would become available. They practically made it seem like that was a normal wait-time. We walked back there after the 3 hrs had passed and we were still like 10th on the waiting list. Guess I'll never get into this place to actually check it out.
Steve / February 13, 2012 at 10:09 am
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Full disclosure: I am an employee at Snakes, but before I started working there, I was a regular customer from day one, so take these comments as you will.

Most of the negative comments about our food, coffee and slow service are from the first couple of months we were open and they have been addressed: we have take great pains to improve our cofee and when goods are stale, we don't sell them. If you haven't been since 2010, you'll find out just how much better that situation is. We've also vastly increased the number of staff and implemented a new, high-tech POS system to improve serving efficiency, so we are constantly trying to serve our customers better. If you had a recent experience of poor or rude service, I invite you to email our manager with the details of your experience so it can be investigated contact@snakesandlattes.com

A lot of people on here take umbrage with our $5 gaming charge and I'd like to address those concerns. $5 is too much, it's a rip-off, I'll open a water cafe, etc. These comments seem to make the bulk of the complaints against Snakes & Lattes and, if you are too poor to afford a $5 cover, I am sorry for you and nothing I can say will fix your poverty. If you are too cheap to pay $5 to come and play games with us, let me explain precisely what that money gets you. I doubt my explanation will change some of your minds, but it just might, so listen up:

Why is $5 worth it? First of all, you can play for as long as you like. We are open from 11am-2am Sunday-Thursday and 11am-4am on Fridays & Saturdays. You could potentially stay with us for 16 hours straight (during which time you are under no obligation to spend another penny on food or drink - but outside food and drink is prohibited). That's a potential entertainment cost of less than 32 cents an hour. read that last sentence again. That's worth it alone, but there's more.

Secondly, your time at Snakes isn't spent using your own laptops or books. You get unlimited access to our 2,000 title library of games, many of which are out of print and therefore impossible to play anywhere else. In that respect, we are like an interactive museum. Try to touch the exhibits at the ROM and see where that gets you! These games cost us money to acquire and maintain, so your $5 helps us keep all these games available to play.

Thirdly, if you are connoisseur of games, your $5 lets you try the new hotness for a fraction of the ticket price. I have close to 200 games in my own personal collection, and BELIEVE ME, if I'd had a place like Snakes to try them out before buying them, there are a LOT of games that I wouldn't have bought and I'd have saved myself hundreds of dollars in the long run.

Fourthly, if you know next to nothing about games, your $5 gets you the expertise of our game gurus who will find out what your tastes are and then recommend games for you and teach you how to play them. That is something that you absolutely do not get at any of the numberous pubs and cafes that have a box of trivia cards on the table or a shelf of a dozen Hasbro games from 1994 in the corner. Snakes has two published game designers on staff to help you get the most out of your gaming experience. Universities charge thousands of dollars a year for the game design and history knowledge that our little cafe contains, and you are balking at $5 a visit?

Lastly, that $5 fee to play helps us keep the wait times down. Do we have long waits to get in? On a Thursday-Saturday night, absolutely we do. Six-hour waitlists are not uncommon on our busiest nights. Now imagine how long the waitlist would be if every person who complained about having to pay $5 didn't stay home and also wanted a table?

Two of the most common complaints we hear at Snakes are about the cover and the waits to get in. These two problems are diametrically opposed and if we do something about one, the other just gets worse. Lower the price or offer frequent guest passes and the wait times shoot up. If we want to lower the wait times, we have to make ourselves LESS attractive a business - the easiest solution to that is up the cover to $10 and then we hear nothing but lamentation about how it's too expensive.

We are constantly tinkering with our waitlisting system to make it more efficient and reduce wait times for tables, but as long as we are as popular as we are, your best bet to avoid long waits is to plan ahead. we are not the sort of place that you can just decide to drop by on a Saturday night on the spur of the moment. Our weekends book up two to three weeks in advance. Book early.

Pm99 replying to a comment from Gabe / February 19, 2012 at 09:12 am
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Haha the comparison thing is pretty funny.
I suppose the argument could be made both ways.
So for a family of four like mine, I'd pay $20 for price of entry. Settlers of Catan (base game) costs like $30 bucks. So you'd be like a third way to outright purchasing the game in retail.

BUT I can't put a price on the look on my ten year olds face when he enters the store and sees a wall of games he can play! Plus it's nearly darn impossible to get my wife and daughter (14) to play with me and my son.

Families unite and long live the board game!
Pm99
moochi2000 / April 26, 2012 at 04:17 pm
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This, ladies and gentlemen is where all the cheap people gather to comment. $5 to play for an unlimited time? If you are going to compare $5 with candy or all those other stupid things, then please stop going to snakes & latte. How cheap can you get? The complaints about food are valid and really, every restaurant will get comments of that sort. But for you to complain about a mere $5, please get a job!
Dee K replying to a comment from Jeff / June 6, 2012 at 05:06 pm
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S&L is a wonderful place to go to!
Raj K replying to a comment from Dee K / June 6, 2012 at 05:08 pm
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Where is it?
Anshoo Kaul replying to a comment from Jules / June 6, 2012 at 05:20 pm
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You guys realize this is a business, right? Not a charitable organization...
Anshoo Kaul replying to a comment from Jules / June 6, 2012 at 05:22 pm
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You guys realize this is a business, right? Not a charitable org?
Annie / August 13, 2012 at 11:31 pm
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Every time I go to Snakes and Lattes with my friends, we all have a blast. $5 is really reasonable considering games are expensive to buy and over the course of a few hours, we tend to play 3 or 4 games. The service is OK. The staff comes by often enough to ask if we want anything to eat or drink. Their milkshakes are delicious!
Ethan / August 18, 2012 at 06:23 pm
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Steve - What you guys really need to do is set higher rates at peak times, shortening your wait list at the times there are wait lists but still making yourselves attractively priced when there isn't a lineup. You'll also make more money; plenty of other businesses do this.

I realize the occasional 'that guy' will try to game the system and show up at 11AM on a Saturday so he can be there during the evening rush for only $5, but whatever, those guys will be few and far between, and they'll probably still buy drinks.
Leon replying to a comment from Jeff / October 20, 2012 at 05:50 am
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This isn't a rip off. Sure as a custumer you go well hell I dont wanna do that EVERY time but guess what people arent really there to eat or drink coffee. In a business perspective they need to make income and coffee and some foods just aint going to cut it. Also you are in there for the ENTIRE day if you so choose doing social activities playing over 1500 of their games. Its like going to the bar minus booze and dancing.
Torontogamegoer / January 3, 2013 at 01:39 am
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Wow I can't believe how completely cheap some of you people are!! $5...really?? Get a grip. If you go to this awesome place and have a great time with your friends it is totally worth it. If you won't spend $5 to go out and have fun for the day with your friends I wouldn't want your cheap ass in my establishment either. It costs a ton of money for the lease of a space of this magnitude and look where the location is...very very expensive to run a business there. If you don't want to go to Snakes and Lattes and pay a mere $5 sit in your basement and play D&D and stop whining about $5...rediculous and cheap cheap cheap!!!
Susan / January 24, 2013 at 05:47 pm
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I'm going here to try out some games with my son to decide which ones to buy. $30 is a lot for a game, so I want to make sure we like it before we buy it.
Lizebeth / February 1, 2013 at 09:18 pm
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I went to Snakes and Lattes for the first time the other day. Living in the area, I had always heard about the place, but had never actually checked it out - and boy, have I been missing out! At first, the 5 dollar cover fee might seem a bit steep, but, after spending about four hours here without even realizing it, i realized it's quite a deal. there are tons and tons and tons of games to chose from - my favourite being Crimes Against Humanity. On top of that, the food was excellent. I suggest buying a chocolate-chip muffin here, as it's the best muffin i've ever had!

cannot stop singing my praises for this place. will be sure to visit soon
Adam / March 11, 2013 at 04:42 pm
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I noticed that they stopped taking reservations on the website. Can you call ahead to reserve a spot? Or, if it's a busy day, do you just have to go in and give your number then find something to do for a couple hours?

Thanks!
MB / July 28, 2014 at 05:57 pm
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If you think $5 for a few hours of gaming is a "rip off" then you are clearly brain dead, and nothing is going to change your mind.

Good luck doing anything fun for $5 someplace else.

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