Things To Do

Hattie Lloyd 03/10/23


Back in the day, Draughts rolled the dice on something new to London: the board game café.

And they scored a serious crit.

Five years on, their Haggerston railway arch was constantly packed with punters enjoying their indomitable combination of fast-paced tabletop strategy games and booze. And so… they made a move.

The new home for Draughts Hackney is an old pie and mash shop on Dalston’s Kingsland High Street. With room for 180 spread over six spaces, a private games room and a beer garden, it’s much bigger than the original, but with plenty of character thanks to the original tiled walls, intimate booths, and sleek art deco curves. There are more cocktails, delicious snacks (including pie and mash), and of course, hundreds upon hundreds of board games.

draughts hackney board game library


Once you’ve scored a table (booking ahead is a good idea), you and your friends are free to peruse the 1,000-strong games library and pick out something to play. Friendly, knowledgeable staff circulate the rooms, and are always happy to make recommendations or talk you through the rules of a new game.

The great advantage of board games over, say, crazy golf or rock climbing, is that you can have a glass of something while you’re playing (unless you’re playing You’ve Got Crabs!, in which case you’ll be temporarily indisposed by having a pair of rubber crab claws over your hands). And they’re not rolling the dice on drinks – there’s brews on draught (eh), cans of craft beer, wine, soft drinks and a couple of house cocktails, including margaritas and whisky sours.

draughts hackney

The game choices at Draughts Hackney run the gamut from the familiar (Settlers of Catan, Cards Against Humanity, Boggle) to the cult (Dixit, Codenames, Ticket To Ride) to games you’ve probably never come across in your life before; like Funemployed (which offers some great opportunities for some meta weekday enjoyment) and the action-packed Power Grid: North Europe/UK. There’s literally hundreds besides, including Hnefatafl (a kind of 4th century Viking Chess); Burn The Heretic; and the simple, but evocative, Beeees!*

*not a box full of bees.


NOTE: Draughts Hackney is open Tuesday – Sunday. You can find out more and book, HERE. Please note that there is a £7.25-8.50 cover charge per person.

ALSO NOTE: People love Draughts so much, there’s also a second branch in Waterloo.

Draughts Hackney | 41 Kingsland High Street, E8 2JS

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41 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, E8 2JS

07930 936237