Road Trip Close to Home: The Sip & Play café in Brooklyn

Board game companies Hasbro reported a 20% growth in sales in 2020 amid the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that socializing in-person is returning, a local board game café is keeping the fun alive.
If you walk into Sip & Play on a Thursday night in Park Slope, you might see an unusual sight: people sitting around a table with no phones in sight. That's because they're too busy kicking their friends' butts at Monopoly.
Jonathan Li is the creator of Sip & Play, and he's always wanted to open his own café.
"We actually ended up opening January 2020, and as we all know, things didn't go super well," says Li.
But throughout the pandemic, the café managed to stay afloat by pivoting to board game rentals instead. Two years later, the business is one of the most popular and diverse spots in the neighborhood.
The game selection ranges from classics like Uno and Scrabble to niche ones like the Greek war game Cyclades.
Li says there's something special about connecting with others through this sometimes-forgotten pastime.
"We all love our phones. We love our laptops, but I feel like what's great about Sip & Play is that you have a time where you and your friends can come in and have a great time but focus on one another," Li explains.
Gamers say the café is bringing the neighborhood together, one card at a time.