For The Win Cafe
For the Win is the latest board game café to come to Toronto - this time in the neighbourhood of Yonge and Lawrence. The café is large and bright, with many comfortable tables and leather covered seats.
Immediately, when you walk in, you're presented with a see a bookcase full of new games for purchase that just hint at the selection they have in the back, games like Camel Cup ($29.95), Bio Shock ($29.95) and fan favourite Settlers of Catan ($37.95). These and so many more are available to play while you are there, including classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, Operation, Sorry, Clue and Battleship, and strange ones I'd never heard of like, Genoa, Trollhalla, El Grande, Mondo and Android.
Gaming is free from 8 am until 11am; after that, the gaming fee is $2.50 an hour for adults, and $1.50 for kids 4-10, or you can join their VIP membership for $12 a year.
Owner Michael Chung is passionate about the café as he is about the board games. At the counter sits a brand new La Marzocco machine, and he uses Pilot Coffee Roaster beans for the brew and espresso-based drinks. The latte I enjoyed was smooth, nutty and delicious, with an espresso starting at $2.75 and moving up to their Nutella latte for $4.55. A "fluffy" - essentially, just steamed milk - can also be made with vanilla ($2.95)
The menu also features several kinds of bubble tea (small $4.95, large $5.95). I tried mango, but the menu of bubble teas and milk teas features lychee, aloe, honeydew, kiwi and more. Cold drinks, like Jones sodas, bottled water and juices are available as well.
For treats they carry La Rocca cakes, squares and whoopee pies, and muffins (carrot, banana and blueberry $1.95), cookies ($1.95) and scones (like orange cranberry, and cheese $1.75) from the nearby Phipps Bakery.
When I arrived some kids form the neighbourhood had just gotten out of school and were already there, picking games, having snacks, lining up players and having fun. Soon, grandparents and moms and whole families were coming in, getting food and drinks to go with the games.
They have a few staff members who know all the rules of all the games, and can help get you started on one you haven't played before. Even though it had just recently opened, I could tell For the Win was already becoming a neighbourhood favourite.
Photos by Jesse Milns.