LONG winter nights are not a problem when you love board games, but it’s tempting to just stick to the classics: Monopoly, Scrabble, snakes and ladders, chess etc.

Investing an unspecified amount of time - learning a new set of rules in a pursuit that could all end in tears - can be a bit of a gamble. That’s why it is great news that a new café dedicated to board games, which encourages you to play before you pay, and teaches you the rules, has opened here in Liverpool.

For an afternoon or an evening, you can escape the world and spend an hour or two being a bean farmer, an epidemiologists or even a werewolf.

Sugar and Dice is the brainchild of married couple and board game enthusiasts Vanessa and Jason along with their board game obsessive friend, Rachel, who used to work in a similar café in Oxford and held regular pop up events.

They opened the community-driven café thanks to help and business advice from Liverpool’s Chamber of Commerce and a successful Kickstarter campaign which helped to raise £12,752.

The idea was to create a space where friends, family and strangers could all feel free to interact with each other without technology, loud music or lots of booze – although they have applied for a licence. All three co-owners have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of board and card games and have installed 300 of their own collection onto shelves spanning the whole back wall. Fifty more games are due this week and the collection will be constantly updated.

A cover charge of £2 per hour per person (capped at £5) gives customers access to the library of games and to play as many as they like. This also allows Sugar and Dice to further expand the collection and to cover missing or damaged pieces. The menu includes a selection of toasties, quiches, filled baked potatoes and bagels as well as freshly baked cakes, brownies and flapjacks. To drink, there’s a chilled range of canned soft drinks as well as hot drinks such as coffee from local roasters, Joe Blacks. 


“We were absolutely blown away by the response during our opening weekend,” Jason told us over a game of Battleships, “we almost had a queue but in the end, customers just invited people waiting for a seat to share their table and even join in their game.”

The cafe is on the corner of an apartment block in Cornhill, an area Jason describes as being ‘misleadingly central’. He’s actually timed how long it takes to walk over from Liverpool Bus Station (3 mins) and John Lewis (4 mins 11 secs.)

Sugar and Dice hope to mainly run on reservations, so call in advance on 0151 345 6031 to book a table.  The café is open Wednesday-Monday 12pm-10pm (Closed Tuesdays.) 

Sugar and Dice, 33a Cornhill, Liverpool, L1 8DP.