New London’s coffeehouses need more board games.
OK, so it’s not the most pressing issue facing the city today. But it’s also one of the easiest ones to remedy.
Just over two years ago, in one of the earliest appearances of this column, I logged my first impression of the city’s coffeehouses. I was a relatively recent transplant from a small Maine town, where only one such venue was available and had only been just recently opened. So I was impressed with the number of coffee shops and the variety of offerings in New London.
Incredibly, the number of coffeehouses has only increased since then. The New London Antiques Center opened a small cafe space inside their business, and Bean and Leaf’s relocation to the bottom level of New London Harbour Towers opened up its old space to Washington Street Coffee House, which is fast becoming a stopping point for downtown workers and residents. City News and Muddy Waters are also still going strong, and though Passion Coffee House and Restaurant closed again after a brief reopening its place has since been taken by the lunch spot Kelly’s on Bank. Where, like plenty of places around town, the coffee refills are on the house
Yet of all these sites, Muddy Waters is the only one with an appreciable board game library. With their comfy chairs and plentiful tables, it just makes sense that you’d have Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit at hand. But they also close before the sun sets.
Even though I’ll occasionally hit the town to see a concert or other New London attraction, at times I just like to join friends at a coffeehouse with later hours to play a game or two. Sometimes we’ll bring our own, sometimes we’ll peruse the collection. On one occasion, a couple of friends were so disappointed with the updated version of Clue that they had purchased that they promptly donated it to the Bean and Leaf’s game library.
This collection was especially impressive, taking up a multi-tiered shelf with everything from a Harry Potter adventure to a bizarre little addition called Pong-cano. Yet when the shop moved from Washington Street to Bank Street, these games were apparently all lost in the shuffle.
There’s still hope for the future. A spot at the new site has attracted a few puzzles and the odd game or two. Asking a barista about it at one point, I found that they’re just waiting on gradual donations to restore the game library to its former glory.
Washington Street Coffee House also seems ripe for game donations. The business has started holding a happy hour closer to the weekend, complete with discount coffee prices. What better way to spend an early release from work than with a cup of joe and some friendly competition?
So if you have an old but usable Monopoly or Risk or any other good group game you’re thinking of getting rid of, check with the local coffeehouses to see if they’ll take it.