In a world where we now see board game cafes become a more regular sight, it might be easy to forget that they are actually a lot of hard work. Some hobbyists may not be fortunate enough to have one nearby. Or, perhaps, some may have had a bad experience and forgo them entirely. However, if you find yourself in the middle of London, or call yourself local, there’s a place I can heartily recommend: the Bad Moon Cafe.
I found myself wandering around London stuck for time with nothing to do one Saturday night recently. I looked into where I might find some hobby goings-on and managed to stumble upon the Bad Moon Cafe. Located just a short walk from the Borough underground station, it was a very easy shop to find. I was also fortunate that they remain open so late as I needed to pass a fair chunk of the evening.
The Grand Chamber
Welcoming greetings were cast my way as soon as I entered the shop, making a friendly first impression impossible to deny. Moments later, I was drawn to their intriguing product shelving set-up. Most of their products are lined up on a single wall, reaching near-enough from floor to ceiling. Seeing this many board games and tabletop items concentrated in one spot was certainly a sight to see. This very image has stuck with me since I left the shop.
The store itself appeared very generously populated with many tables laden with plenty of terrain for all your tabletop needs. These look as though they’d be perfect for Warhammer Age of Sigmar, 40K and Necromunda. They advertise as a Games Workshop-heavy establishment and I can certainly see the appeal. There’s also ample space for those looking to do more of the building and painting rather than playing.
I found myself with a handful of Loonsmasha Fanatics, sat quietly building away, enjoying the ambience of the shop. There were a cluster of folks playing board games by the entrance. I also noticed a gaggle of excitable gamers enjoying some Warhammer 40K at the back of the shop. It was nice to see some balance within the Bad Moon Cafe for both Games Workshop-enthusiasts as well as those who prefer perhaps simpler, more accessible tabletop games. In observing the players in the shop everything felt relaxed, easy-going and comfortable which made it all the more pleasant.
No Gaming on Empty Stomachs
The shop feels very sizeable and I’d imagine even on a busy night it wouldn’t feel at all claustrophobic. To make it all the more welcoming there was a selection of food available including pizza. Glancing around and seeing the menu whilst working on my goblins, I knew at that moment that if I were local I’d see myself in here very, very regularly.
However, as mentioned briefly previously, one of the best highlights of the store was the staff. They were friendly, polite and considerate. I never bore witness to any sales-hungry pitches or over-eager product recommendations. In fact, when asked how I’d like to take my new purchases home, I was told I’d not be asked to purchase a £70 carry case for five models. This was a stark contrast to some of the longer-standing shops from a few years ago. I was instead offered a small box with some bubble-wrap at no extra cost. This genuine “hobbyist-to-hobbyist” exchange felt more like enthusiastic players looking to help each other out rather than make a sale.
As stated, this is likely one of the key factors that made me so appreciative of my visit. I found the staff were friendly but not pushy, the space was large yet appropriately-filled and the goods available were vast and plentiful.
Just Good Business
The resurgence of tabletop games over the past handful of years has given birth to many fine establishments. The people opening and running these establishments are taking great risks and sometimes they don’t always pay off. However, the Bad Moon Cafe seems to be making all the right moves. I’d be delighted to see them there for many years to come. With good customer service, good facilities and some good luck, this should hopefully come to pass.
I’d strongly recommend that any hobbyist with time in London pops into the Bad Moon Cafe. If you find yourself in London with time spare or perhaps call yourself local, it promises to be a positive experience. If I lived closer I would absolutely be bringing my friends and opponents to this shop on a regular basis. All in the name of throwing dice and consuming vast amounts of pizza in a friendly, welcoming environment. They accommodate RPG players on Thursdays nights, with Warhammer occurring on Mondays and Wednesdays. They’re even open until 23:00 most nights, permitting some post-work or after-school games! Whether you’re keen to run a session as dungeon master or to perhaps to play some miniature skirmish battles, then look to the Bad Moon. You can find more information on their website as well as a games library of what’s on offer.
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