JACK STRAWS GAMES CAFE
 

"LIFE IS MORE FUN IF YOU PLAY GAMES"

Well if Roald Dahl said it, it must be true. Right?

A few weeks ago in the thick of the cold weather and in need of some food and fun (one of us might have had a hangover), we checked out one of Belfast's newest additions - Jack Straws Board Game Cafe on the Upper Newtownards Road.  

Spoiler alert: bad loser tantrums aside, it was an awesome few hours craic - definitely one I'd recommend and will surely be back.

 

Quick bit of practical advice - book ahead. We reserved a table for 3 hours which was perfect given we planned on eating there and having lots of coffee either side. There's sufficient parking in front and on the street up the side of the cafe - or if you want to reduce your carbon footprint there was a bus stop right outside (I think it was the 4a and 4b route). 

Arriving at the cafe, it was clear that taking their advice for booking ahead was definitely a smart move - the place was packed with people of all ages and stayed that way until we left.  

I really liked the layout of the place. A nice spacious room but still close enough to nosey at what the tables next to you are playing.

This little flow chart on the back of the menus was a great help - though we ended up not needing to use it as the staff their were friendly and helped us pick out a range of games. 

First up, old faithful: Cluedo. Only we mixed it up by going for the London Edition.  And with bellies rumbling we ordered grub right away - the club sandwich was MASSIVE and tasty; I ended up making it MASSIVE-ER by throwing the tortilla chips into it also. Rock star.

Quickly realising that I had only played Cluedo once before, suddenly things got a bit stressful as I noticed my board-game-playing-friends were taking no prisoners. I may have temporarily fallen out with everyone at several points. 

With food inhaled to allow for better concentration, "Would I Lie To You?" was up next. Aha! I've been told on many occasions I can waffle on, so I should be good at this, right!?

Wrong.

More huffs. 

But still good banter and the time was passing too quickly.

 
 

With so many options at hand, it would be wrong not to try something new.  I mean, just look - the shelves are stacked! I'd definitely recommend zooming in on a few of these pics, Googling a few of the names and figuring out what they're like. 

A few of these ones are on the list for next time...

After listening to the laughter of the table next to us, we grabbed 'Cookie Box' as soon as it became free.

Basically each player gets 9 discs; each one has a little food symbol on both sides and you must lay them out in front of you, 3 rows of 3.  In the middle of the table is a deck of cards, each one containing an image showing a 3x3 set of discs, with the symbols in a certain order.

One person quicky turns over a card and the first person that can rearrange their discs to match it must hit the bell in the middle of the table. Oh yeah, forgot to tell you about the bell. You'll quickly grow to hate this bell if you aren't the first to ring it each time.  

And yes, I hated the bell.

Many games later, our time was up and it was back to pretending to be an adult again.

Here's a link to their Facebook page - make sure to follow them as they're always organising themed events.

Til next time!

....oh and definitely order food.  I only just had a look at their website again and saw their evening platters - class names, no doubt tasty too. 


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