Board game cafe Mochanopoly off to winning start in St. John's
A new cafe in downtown St. John's is offering something a little different than just the usual hot beverages and snacks.
Mochanopoly is a brand-new board game cafe open on Water Street.
Leon and Erich Chung are board game-loving brothers who have always dreamed of opening a cafe.
They visited a popular board game cafe in Toronto called Snakes and Lattes and thought it was "the perfect idea" to bring back to Newfoundland.
"We want to offer the city of St. John's something more than just sports bars and going to George Street," said Leon Chung.
He added the city is lacking when it comes to recreational spaces that aren't based around alcohol.
"I think board games are a great way to connect for Saturday night, Friday night and any other night really. It's kind of a timeless tradition of connecting with people."
Customers pay $2.50 per hour to hang out at Mochanopoly and play any of the cafe's 170 board and card games. There are also drinks and snacks available for purchase.
The Chung brothers said that although they've only been open a few days, the cafe has been packed with a broad range of customers every night.
"We've got people coming on dates, we've got big groups of board game enthusiasts, some people who just want to come in for a casual game," said Leon Chung.
"St. John's has been really welcoming."
Encouraging local game designers
The brothers said most of the profits will go back into expanding Mochanopoly's board game collection. The cafe has 170 games already, but they're hoping to reach 250 games by this summer.
"Board games are non-stop. People are always constantly making new board games," said Leon Chung.
"They're really making a comeback."
To encourage local board game makers, Mochanopoly will host a "designers' night" once a month.
The evening will be a chance for local designers to test out their creations — and for the public to try out new games.
Socializing without screens
The Chungs said they're happy to create a space where people could socialize face to face, without the use of screens.
"Personally I find that it's kind of a shame that a lot of youth these days, they're always on their cellphones, they're always on their iPads," said Leon Chung.
"But I think it's great that people can connect with board games and card games. It's much more of a way to be face to face, talking with another."
"You get to be a lot more social, you get to break the ice with new people," added Erich Chung.
Erich Chung said several people have already donated board games to the cafe to help support the business, but added they'd be happy to buy board games off of people.