By Kevin Collison
It took a move from the Crossroads, but downtown board game enthusiasts now have a relaxing space where they can have a drink and good food while escaping their screens and interacting with a live person.
Pawn & Pint relocated from Southwest Boulevard last October to a former nightclub space at 613 Walnut St. The move came with a liquor license to open a full bar and a next door neighbor, The Homesteader Cafe, where players can order a meal.
In short, it’s paradise for sessions of “Dungeons & Dragons” or “Cards Against Humanity.”
Self-described game guru Sam Mousa, who moved here from Ottawa, Ontario, to help open Pawn & Pint, said its proven popular with downtown residents and people from throughout the metro.
“We don’t have any TVs in here,” he said. “We provide the ability for people to sit down with friends in a family-like environment. Your guests in our house, and you can connect and bond and get to know people here.”
Owner Edward Schmalz originally was a teacher and wanted to create a place where people could ditch their smart phones and laptops and enjoy one another face to face.
He started with 500 leased board games, and the inventory has now expanded to more than 1,000.
The business originally opened in October 2016 at 221 Southwest Blvd., with the goal of being a place for “bites, beers and boards.”
But getting a liquor license approved in the competitive Crossroads market proved daunting and then he reached out to the owner of the building at 613 Walnut.
The space was formerly occupied by the Seven nightclub and had been empty for a decade.
“The landlord was looking for a crowd with no problems, and we’re conducive to being a good community bar,” Mousa said. “We shipped all our games here basically overnight.”
The Pawn & Pint attracts a diverse crowd, from “college Greek Life” to “people playing heavy strategy games for four to five hours,” he said.
The rarest game in the collection is “Starcraft,” a board game that’s been out of print for 10 years. One of the more obscure games is “Justin Bieber, Truth or Dare.”
It costs $5 per night for unlimited gaming. A monthly individual membership is $25 or $40 for couples. The monthly regulars range from 100- to 200 people.
Hours are Monday through Thursday from 4- 11 p.m.; Fridays from 1 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
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