Games are central to Boards & Brews, but at the heart of it all is community

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Boards & Brews bar manager Liz Scott, left and bartender Wil Hebert. Photo/Lorraine Angelo

Timely Writer

 “The first two years are key to any new business,” said Liz Scott, bar manager of central downtown Manchester’s Boards & Brews. “It’s kind of a miracle that we survived after opening in 2018.”

For the board game headquarters – and Boards & Brews has approximately 2,000 board games to choose from – one of the largest selections in the country, the two-year mark came smack dab in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Board games are divided into 16 categories including Children’s, Abstract, Classic and Hardcore. The website selection list is 86 pages long. A game master can help to navigate the selections. During the pandemic the gaming station and restaurant offered to-go meals and board game rentals.

From A to Z the restaurant and gaming locale has everything from 10 Days in the Americas to Zombies! Scott cites Ticket to Ride and What Do You Meme? as well. She says the latter two are among the most popular games. With game time-to-play running from 10 minutes to a presumed several hours for Game of Thrones, it’s safe to say there are games for all tastes.

Boards & Brews is open 4-10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday with Friday and Saturday hours 4-12. They offer a full-service a la carte and entree restaurant and bar. I had a Caprese sandwich with sweet potato fries. Tasty indeed, if a bit pricey.

The 941 Elm Street business consciously makes itself welcoming to all. The gaming and café business offers a weekly Tuesday meet-up group, a night for millennials of color, and space for gamers not yet of drinking age. There is also a bi-weekly trans night.

“We don’t put out an ‘Everyone Welcome’ sign, Scott explained. “We just make ourselves welcoming to everyone who comes through the front door.” She pointed out that many of the approximately 15 staff members are LGBTQ. Scott has worked at Boards & Brews since 2019 and was just recently promoted to bar manager.

The beer offerings range from 11 brews in bottles and cans, including two non-alcoholic offerings, and six choices on tap. For my weekly recreational drink I had a Tuckerman’s Pale Ale. Lorrie had her standard whiskey sour. 

There is a $5 fee to access the board games which are played on the large dinner tables or in a small alcove. Reservations are recommended, though not mandatory. According to Scott, the tables were obtained through crowdsource funding for the business. Small metal labels reveal table names such as Asparagus for Three and Her Sage Thought. The Queen Mary room, designed for large groups such as bachelor parties, has a rental fee of $150.

The business is not affiliated with several other Boards & Brews around the country.

More information is available at, through the businesses’ Facebook page or at 603-232-5184.

The business is always looking for game donations. They try to have two copies of more popular games. Most donations have all the pieces, though donated sets can also be cannibalized.


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About this Author

John Angelo

John Angelo’s humor has appeared in “Publisher’s Weekly,” “Writer’s Digest,” and “American Bookseller.” He is a frequent contributor to the “New Hampshire Business Review.” For a Christmas concert at his Catholic grammar school, the nuns told him to mouth the words and that he’d better not make a sound under any circumstances.