Coffee and board games cafe to open in College Park

Jasmine Song, special to

WASHINGTON — Before Brian McClimens and Benjamin Epstein graduated from the University of Maryland in 2001, the young entrepreneurs thought there was “not much entertainment available for students in the area.”

Hoping to merge the feel and atmosphere of a typical independent coffee house with their love of board games, McClimens and Epstein started developing the concept behind The Board and Brew three years ago.

“There are several bars which are fine bars, but there’s no other real form of entertainment in the area,” says McClimens, co-owner of the establishment. “There used to be a coffee house just down the street called The College Perk that had a pretty good atmosphere … but they closed down five years ago and nothing has really come up in its place.”

The Board and Brew, at 8150 Baltimore Ave., College Park, will offer customers a full line of specialty coffees and tea drinks, along with a menu of homemade treats and small plates.

“This was the fifth space that we negotiated a lease for,” McClimens says. They signed the lease late last year.

board games

The Board and Brew will offer customers about 500 different board games to choose from when it opens later this year. (Courtesy Board and Brew)

Despite delays in the establishment’s opening date, McClimens and Epstein plan to work out the kinks and open The Board and Brew by June 9.

Targeting a customer demographic of students and young adults in their 20s and 30s, McClimens and Epstein expect to use their idea of a board game cafe to provide locals with a different form of entertainment.

The Board and Brew is equipped with about 500 games, some of which they received in donations, but most in mint condition, and has a fixed price of $5 to play games for an unlimited amount of time.

Customers can swap out games, or even just come in and order food and drinks without playing at all.

“There’s a lot of different [board game] genres and they really hit a wide range,” McClimens says. “We say that whether you’re familiar with games or not, no matter what you’re looking for, what type of person you are, we have a game that’s kind of set for what you want to do.”

With the help of a small business loan and about $200,000 from friends, family, and investors, the pair spent a year setting up their business.

“There’s really not many places to compare our business model to nearby,” McClimens says. “We would hope to expand, but really we have to make sure that this location is a success first.”

This article has been modified to correct the opening date of The Board and Brew.

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