On a Saturday night in February, getting a table at the Game Lounge means you have to arrive early. With a vibe that is a cross between your favorite retro basement hang-out and a family-friendly bar, the place is hopping by 6:30 pm, as people of all ages try to best their companions on board games while enjoying tasty treats and cocktails.
Former stay-at-home dad Adam Alleman opened the Game Lounge in September 2018 because he wanted to create a space where families and friends can gather to play rounds of everything from Scrabble to Settlers of Catan. A full bar and diverse array of menu options also mean that everyone can relax and enjoy a good meal without having to worry about cleaning up.
Alleman sees board games as bringing people together in a way that video games cannot. “The whole point is to get away from being connected to technology. The less digital the better. We have WIFI—we’re not total Luddites—but we really want to promote community and family, and we have nights dedicated to both.”
Alleman had worked in restaurants and had opened one with a similar concept with a partner, but finds being a solo business owner has its advantages. He admits, however, that financing was a challenge. He launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2018, but confesses that “it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped.”
Though he didn’t raise the revenue he’d wanted, the effort did suggest Alleman’s values and vision for the Game Lounge. Fully 10% of proceeds from the campaign were designated for the Delores Project, a local shelter for “unaccompanied women and transgender individuals.” In this respect, Alleman’s background (he earned an M.A. in Social Work from Metro State) informs his business practices. The Game Lounge seeks to host “dine and donate” events for area schools and nonprofits every Wednesday evening as part of its commitment to the community.
The updated space has a cozy, neighborhood feel, enhanced by music played on vinyl rather than a digital streaming service. He hopes that not only families but also book clubs, scout groups, athletic teams, school groups, and others will use the Game Lounge as a gathering spot for food and fun. The venue can also host private parties, campaign events, team-building activities, and other gatherings, with capacity to seat about 76. Local breweries periodically take over the taps to promote their beverages and give away goodies.
The Game Lounge is located at 1490 Eudora Street, just off of East Colfax. The building has, in the past, been occupied by DJ’s Café, Cork House, Tante Louise and, long ago, the Normandy. Alleman added recycled AstroTurf to the patio area, and plans to install a screen to show outdoor films in the summer. The menu changes seasonally, and includes vegetarian options. Staff wear Game Lounge bowling shirts, and the overall feel is relaxed and fun.
“I’m trying to make the world a better place, one board game at a time,” says Alleman. If your nonprofit or school would like to host a Wednesday night fundraiser, go to: https://www.denvergamelounge.com/contact.php