SAINT JOHN – The city’s board game cafe is making the Wheelhouse in Waterloo Village its home for the summer as it gets ready to move to its new location in uptown Saint John.
Susan Pass, the owner of Offline Board Game Cafe, says the business recently moved out of its location on Rothesay Avenue because they could no longer operate to a standard that they felt their customers and staff deserved.
Pass recently purchased a building in uptown Saint John on Prince William Street but is keeping the address under wraps as the current tenant makes arrangements. An official opening day will be announced later.
“I’m extremely grateful because I could not pick my dream location more than this place,” says Pass. “If I had to pick an exact spot, this is it. I’m super excited about where it is.”
In the meantime, Offline will be hosting board game nights twice a week at The Wheelhouse, a new co-working space that recently opened in the Waterloo Village neighbourhood in uptown Saint John found by Owen Green and Haley Adams. Pass says when she approached them with the idea, they were immediately on board.
“It’s a very supportive community, just uptown and in Saint John in general,” she says. “I’m originally from Newfoundland. I feel like in the Maritimes, nobody tells you you’re crazy if you have an idea. It’s a great place for dreamers.”
Tickets can be bought in advance for $5 or for $6 at the door. Pass says she expects to see a lot of the café’s regulars at these pop-up game nights, but hopes to bring in some new faces too.
“I’m hoping to get some new customers as well,” she says. “But I think our regulars are definitely going to follow for sure.”
Besides their pop-ups at the Wheelhouse, Pass says Offline is also open to doing other pop-up locations.
“I’d like to find a weekend spot as well because it’s more family-friendly because the evenings might be a bit trickier,” she says.
Offline will still also be doing private parties and game rentals throughout the summer too.
“We’ve gotten in a bunch of Jumbo Games to add to our collection, like human chess and human checkers and stuff like that for outside. We also have a mobile package to host a game night at people’s houses,” says Pass.
“We always had a rental program, but we’re going to be doing a rental package where you pick out a package of games, you order them online, we’ll have the ready at the Wheelhouse for you and you’ll have them for a week. It will be pretty straightforward.”
With the business going through a transition, she says she is thankful for the help from others to keep Offline in the game.
“I’m extremely grateful because it gives us the stability in a time where I thought we’d have none,” says Pass. “I feel like the Wheelhouse is going to be that for so many businesses. That is their whole vibe, and they just want to give people a firm grounding, a safe place to start.”