50 Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 27, Board game-themed Snakes and Lattes is a success

50 Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 27, Board game-themed Snakes and Lattes is a success

No.27, Coffee tastes better without Wi- Fi
(Image: Nikki Ormerod) 

At Snakes and Lattes, the board game–themed Annex café, the most competitive task isn’t winning at Risk, Fireball Island or Settlers of Catan—it’s scoring one of the 20 tables before another group of game players settles in for hours of analogue entertainment. The hangout has been packed since its August 2010 opening, and proprietors Ben Castanie and Aurelia Peynet, eager to expand, leased the former electronics store next door and will bust through the wall this month. They have also recently added 500 new games to their collection of 1,500. Five bucks per person buys all-day play, and to keep the mood convivial and discourage laptops, there’s no Wi-Fi available. Here, a look at the players on March 26.

“My table was playing Dominion, where competing monarchs vie to create the largest kingdom, and one of my friends was making this really rare move. One of the servers noticed, and suddenly the whole staff was crowded around the table to watch what would happen.”
DAN ROMITA, 26, CHEMICAL ENGINEERING MASTER’S STUDENT AT U OF T

“Before this place opened I wouldn’t have spent Saturday afternoon playing board games. There’s a sense of nostalgia here. I haven’t played board games since I was a child, and the little plastic pieces are cute. It’s also kind of a bonding experience, not like one person plugged into their iPhone playing Angry Birds (although I do that, too).”
MONIQUE MATHEW, 30, EDITOR OF RE:VERSE, A YOUTH POETRY MAGAZINE

“I was going to propose this place for our first date, but Jamie suggested it first. I know a lot of people who come here for first dates because if you have absolutely nothing to talk about, you can at least play a game. It was a good date, so that wasn’t the case.”
MIRA BRELAND, 23, MARKETING STUDENT, GEORGE BROWN

“I grew up playing board games, but I live alone so coming here means I can meet with friends and I don’t have to buy all the games myself.”
KRYSTLE RUEDAS, 26, CULINARY MANAGEMENT STUDENT, GEORGE BROWN

“There’s less of a stigma to playing board games in public than in someone’s basement. I’ve bumped into friends here; it’s very social. Plus, I came in on a date—it’s a good way to find out how smart she is.”
JAMIE KATZ, 23, SERVER AT THE PICKLE BARREL

“I didn’t grow up playing computer games, so to me board games are still fun (although I don’t actually own any, which is why I come here).”
IVAN LOUBIER, 27, CHEF AT TABOO RESORT IN MUSKOKA