Living in London is harder than it sounds. Sure, it’s one of the world’s best cities with everything you could ever want within a tube ride — but it also costs so much that you won’t be able to do a lot of that stuff, and there’s so much going on at any given time that it’s hard to know what’s worth your time and (precious little) money.
I’ve lived here about ten years now, and while there’s no shortage of ‘best in London’ lists or websites for ranking restaurants, there aren’t many written by internet nerds like me. So here are my top 3 geek-friendly food and drink emporia in our lovely capital. Let me know what you think if you you try any of them out — and of course recommendations are always welcome too.
Going by the nickname of the Overground, this brilliantly bonkers group puts on regular dining experiences that are as unpredictable as they are fun.
One such event is ‘Chambers of Flavour’, in which lucky diners get to enter a sort of eating machine that moves through periods of time (our review). Next up is The Grand Expedition, which seems to involve some kind of hot air balloon.
It’s a Secret Cinema-type deal, where you get tickets and come along on the day, but don’t use your phone during the experience. Ideal if you’re completely sick of going for dinner and waiting for everyone to finish Instagramming their food and taking selfies before you can pick up a fork. Also, the food is really, REALLY good, and there’s some excellent cosplay involved.
Loading has come a long way since it was a tiny bar inside another bar in Soho, but I’ve been a big fan through its entire journey and it only gets better.
With branches in Stratford (East London) and Dalston (plus one on the beach in Brighton), Kotaku is spot on when it describes Loading as “The most popular and least intimidating gaming bars in Greater London.” The staff are so nice that they even let us get takeaway delivered to our table during an event (but probably check before you do that, just in case).
Basically, it’s a nice, down-to-earth bar with board games, consoles/arcade machines, and an amazing menu of videogame-themed cocktails. Oh, and it hosts videogame karaoke — aka Marioke — which we mentioned in our roundup of the best gaming events in London because it. is. amazing.
Situated in an atmospheric railway arch, Draughts is exactly what you’d want from a board game café. It has an enormous library of games both mainstream and obscure, plenty of tables, and really tasty snacks on the excellent food menu.
The original is in Hackney, but there’s now a branch in Waterloo as well. Whether you want somewhere to play Scrabble while you wait for your train or a welcoming location for a five-hour epic Catan battle, Draughts is your place.
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Main image courtesy of Draughts Board Game Café.