Three East Bay Gaming Cafés
At Berkeley’s Victory Point Cafe, select from hundreds of games to pair with locally sourced food and drink.
By Antonio Uriarte
Characterz Cafe and Coffee Roasterz
A group of geeks took over Pleasanton’s Coffee Co. last May, adding comic book figures to shelves and superheroes blasting through quaint wall murals.
Games: Weekly themed gatherings include card games, board games, and trivia, with most evenings ending in Cards Against Humanity or Dungeons and Dragons. A bookshelf filled with games is available for open play.
Grub: Coffee, Italian soda, and baked goods such as muffins, scones, and coffee cake are available.
Bonus point: Go retro with the café’s small selection of arcade games, including Centipede and AC/DC pinball.
5424 Sunol Blvd., Ste. 7, Pleasanton, (925) 462-5567, characterzcafe.com.
This 12-year-old game store in downtown Oakland was slated to expand in January to add its own café, meeting a need for eats at the store’s popular game nights.
Games: Magic, Infinity, and other weekly themed gatherings are in the works. Plenty of games are available to play, and the 2,500-square-foot retail selection ensures you’ll bring one home, too.
Grub: Grab a cup of joe from Berkeley-based Supersonic Coffee, plus locally made sandwiches, salads, and pastries.
Bonus point: The café will also host live music, improv comedy, and author readings.
921 Washington St., Oakland, (510) 465-3637, endgameoakland.com.
Victory Point Cafe
This modern space, which opened in September near Cal’s campus, offers access to its game library for $5 per visit.
Games: The collection of more than 800 titles is divided into categories, including nostalgia (Mouse Trap, Operation), party games (Apples to Apples), and strategy (Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders).
Grub: Look for locally roasted Artís coffee, craft beer on tap, sandwiches, and themed snack bowls, such as the Cal Bear: Teddy Grahams, golden raisins, pretzels, vanilla-almond granola, and chocolate-covered blueberries.
Bonus point: Designer’s Night offers meet and greets with local game designers.
1797 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 982-6325, victorypointcafe.com.