Snakes & Ladders may not be the most exciting board game of all time, but it certainly has fuelled the names for two of Toronto's hot spots. Snakes & Lattes gave an alternative reason to frequent a coffee shop, rather than just using smooth surfaces to place a laptop. In February 2014, the owners expanded by taking over 488 College Street in Little Italy to house Snakes & Lagers. You can guess what their specialty is. (But if guessing is not your thing, we will give you a hint: it starts with "be" and ends with "er.")
Snakes & Lagers asks for $5 of your pocket change for all-day gaming, although it is certainly possible to pay much more than that on the craft beer. Nineteen beers on draught and five rotating taps showcase local favorites like Mill Street Brewery.
The main floor has tables for two, and it may be an ideal place to bring an early date that is not quite at the point of long, uncomfortable silences. A resounding "Boo-yah!" might shake things up in the romance department, and if things don't go well, there is always more beer (or cocktails) to be had. Like your mother always said, there are plenty more gamers in the sea of Toronto.
The stakes are high at Snakes and Lagers — Photo courtesy of Snakes and Lagers
If you have a rowdy group, you are relegated to the second floor, which has booths where you can spread out and make room for the food. The menu is snack focused to give you a quick bite in between maintaining your poker face. Highlights are the trio of sliders (including a petit Big Mac that respectfully improves upon McD's classic) and spiced duck fat popcorn that will make it hard to go to a movie theatre in the future and feign satisfaction.
Mason jar desserts are not only trendy but also incredibly satisfying for the sweetest of teeth. Whipped marshmallow and chocolate-covered pretzels? Come on!.
Spiced duck fat popcorn — Photo courtesy of Snakes & Lagers
Owner Aaron Zack is enthusiastic about this local gem: "What we've found is that board games fill a need in our busy modern lives. Board games allow us to disconnect from our phones and reconnect with our friends. By coming to Snakes & Lagers you can learn more about your friends in an evening than you might normally learn in a month. To us, this is a universal concept, perfect for tourists and locals alike."
Snakes & Lagers is open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., and last call means something entirely different when it brings the dramatic conclusion to a nostalgic game. Or you could just admit that the Battleship has been sunk, down your pint and extend a sportsmanlike hand. There will be other days to war cry: "Game on!"
Who wants to be the top hat? — Photo courtesy of Snakes & Lagers