“More than a year after a successful crowdfunding campaign, Bonus Round Game Cafe is preparing to open in Lakeview. The space will serve coffee, food, beer, and wine to give board game fans a place to commiserate and play games like Settlers of Catan and Raiders of the North Sea. Co-owners Drew Lovell and Courtney Hartley want to focus more on new and potential board gamers and to provide an interactive option where friends can gather versus a movie or loud bar where conversation is difficult.
Lovell and Hartley, who are married, have conducted Bonus Round pop-ups in places like Logan Arcade and Beermiscuous over the last two years. Those experiences have readied them to open their 1,700-square-foot space at 3230 N. Clark Street. They’re about four weeks from opening, Lovell said, and they’ll be able to fit 50 to 55 people.
“It’s kind of interesting — a lot of what we’re trying to do at the cafe is not necessarily catered directly at traditional gaming crowds,” Lovell said. “We trying to open it up a lot more to other people.”
Lovell explained that his favorite customer is someone who tells him that they don’t want to play the games, that they’re just content to watch. Those customers show the open-mindedness that they’re interested in learning and just need a push. Bonus Round’s staff will be ready to help those customers and indoctrinate them into the world of gaming. They’ll have shelves of games for customers to try and staff will teach visitors how to play the games if needed. The gaming library will start with 300 titles. If there’s a game that’s not at the cafe, Lovell said they’ll order the title or visitors can bring their own. Just like most games — from basketball, to cards, to ping pong — players need enough resources and people to play.”