4 Places to Play Board Games in the Big Apple


It comes as no surprise that New Yorkers are all about the mind sports…chess, bridge, poker, and board games, I’m talking to you!  These can all be enjoyed from the comfort of our apartments, of course, but if you’re looking for a group of like-minded gamers to play (or learn) with, check out one of these places to get your game on in NYC—ranging from the iconic to under-the-radar.

Marshall’s Chess Club

Located in Greenwich Village in a beautiful brownstone, Grandmaster Frank J. Marshall founded this historic chess club in 1915.  Many of the country’s top chess players are members, both adults and fast-rising young players.  The club offers classes, private instruction, tournaments, and lectures by leading players.

Other popular places to join a game of chess in NYC are Washington Square Park, Bryant Park, Union Square, the Chess and Checkers House in Central Park, and The Village Chess Shop.

Honors Bridge Club

Coined as “Manhattan’s premier bridge club”, Honors was founded in 1993 by Gail Greenberg and for the second year in a row is the largest bridge club in the country. To put their size in perspective, Honors offers more games just for the developing player, than 95% of the other bridge clubs in the country have games.  If you are looking to learn the game of bridge, their entry level Beginner 1 course is unique in that it is limited to six students per teacher, so you are guaranteed lots of one-on-one attention.

You can also learn/play the game of bridge at Aces, which pitches itself as NYC’s newest bridge club, or The Cavendis, which claims to be the friendliest bridge club in NYC.

New York City Poker Tour

While poker isn’t widely publicized in Manhattan, be assured that there are games happening daily.  You are required to text an RSVP which will then give you the exact location of the games.

Board Games At Uncommons

You can pop into NYC’s only board game cafe for unlimited playing time of your favorite board games…ranging from the classics (Scrabble) to the trendy (Cards Against Humanity).  All while sipping a latte and eating a wrap. If playing board games while sipping a cold one is more your scene, here’s a great roundup of NYC bars with board games.

Whether you choose chess, bridge, poker, or classic board games at any of New York’s game hotspots, you are sure to hone in on your ability to sharpen your mathematical calculations, as well as increase your social awareness.  As leading poker professional and member of team PokerStars Daniel Negreanu, who’s on top of the all-time money list of poker players, said: “If I haven’t played with a player before and I don’t know anything about them, the more they tell me about themselves, the better I will be able to judge how they think and how they play.”

Just like any physical muscle, the brain benefits from being stretched from time to time. If you can find a way to do that in the company of like-minded people, also enjoying the social benefits, so much the better. The good news is that in New York, you really shouldn’t have to work that hard to make that happen. It is the mind sport capital of the world, after all.

Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York...as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
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