Customers utilize Bastard Café as a community-gathering location for food and games in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo/Niyati Patel)

Cultivating Copenhagen’s Community Through Games: Bastard Café

Thousands of board games line the walls, coupled with loud music and colorful art that sets the ambiance of the establishment. Along with the food and drinks that one would typically find at a coffee shop, games are available for patrons to browse before settling down to play.

With over 10 board game cafés in Copenhagen, Denmark, Bastard Café is just one source of entertainment. People can take a break in their day to indulge in refreshments and an activity at the same time. 

 Why It’s Newsworthy: Board game cafés are available in many parts of the world, giving customers a new perspective on entertainment during their travels.  

“Our goal is to make like, to try to get everybody to relax,” said game curator Ole Andersen. “Our idea is that there are board games for everybody.”

Marked by a red neon sign reading ‘Huset,’ Bastard Café is located in Denmark’s first culture house: Huset KBH. The vibrant sign can be seen around Rådhusstræde, Copenhagen’s largest square, which is how I conveniently stumbled upon the premises. 

The founder, Bo Thomasen, opened the shop in 2014 with a mission of making the world play more board games, according to the Bastard Café website. He was inspired by the board game group he met with at a café on Thursday nights when he was a student, Andersen said. 

The global board game market is expected to grow 13.27% in the next five years. Simultaneously, the prominence of game cafés has increased, specifically in Europe, marking the conjunction as an innovative form of entertainment. 

People get the chance to experience a new environment while also interacting with locals, which is why Andersen says he believes the establishment adds to Copenhagen’s sense of community and culture. 


A Look Inside

Groups can reserve tables or simply walk in and choose from a collection of over 5,000 games.  There are around 100 games that are free to play. The rest of the collection can be accessed through a small fee or a Huset KBH membership. 

Around 50 ‘game gurus,’ typically people who have found a hobby in board games, volunteer at the café. From their table placed in the middle of the shop, they suggest games to patrons and teach them how to play. 

Sally Thorsen, a Danish high school student, said she frequents the café with her friends Nanna Pavelsen and Rosa Andersen. Thorsen said the café supports youth culture and is “always packed to the brim.” 

Sally Thorsen, Nanna Pavelsen and Rosa Andersen begin their game after ordering from the café’s menu. There is a selection of coffee, alcohol and snacks for customers. (Photo/Niyati Patel)

“I mean, like I said, we have quite a big drinking culture in Denmark, so this is kind of a place to just chill and do something with your friends,” Thorsen said. “So it’s just entertainment in a very wholesome way.”

Walking into the café, a distinguishing feature is the number of languages and accents you can hear. Pavelsen describes the spot as a place where it is easy to meet people as there are “a lot of international speakers.” 

Gatherings, language and food are often at the forefront of a community’s cultivation. Bastard Café combines the three, creating a new first-hand experience of a city’s culture and community.

“And like, the entire board games are culture just like theater, and cinema and so on,” Andersen said. “This is just another version.”

Niyati Patel is a junior majoring in journalism and political science at the University of Georgia.



  • Show Comments (1)

  • aastha

    A good, informative read! I’m always looking for fun cafes while I travel-will be visiting in the future.

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