Dear Glutton: Where Beer and Board Games Mix
A few options for a snack, a drink, and some Settlers of Catan
My friends and I have weekly meetups to hang out and play Settlers of Catan, an activity which our partners are not overly enthused by. Where's a good place for a bunch of nerds to drink beer, have a snack, and play board games? One of our members is sober, which complicates things a little.
Dear Catandroids (Is that a thing? I love that),
What is it with Settlers of Catan? On one level, I get it, games are fun, and nobody builds the longest road like your girl. But before moving to Austin, I'd never seen so much enthusiasm about it. I have multiple friends (like you) who host Catan nights, and have been on wayyyy too many Tinder dates with dudes who brought their boards to the bar, although I guess it's better to know early in the relationship if your partner's going to get overly emotional about resource cards. The part of this I understand is that it's rare, in adulthood, to find a socially acceptable way to express your childlike enthusiasms. Catan, for a certain type of outdoorsily oriented hipster Austinite, is one of them. But it also seems so repetitive! There's no imaginative aspect, no real variation in what will happen when. Someone will hoard sheep. Someone will futilely build a road to nowhere. Scheming will occur. It just all seems so repetitive, at least the way I've been taught to play it; if you think you can convince me otherwise, get at me, nerds.
All rants aside, I get it, Catan is your thing. That's how nerditry works. You find something that, for whatever reason, removes you from the manifold anxieties of adulthood, and you latch on to it as hard as you can. Believe me, I've got enthusiasms of my own that are far less socially acceptable than Catan, and I will loudly defend them to anyone foolish enough to challenge me. So why don't I do what I'm here for, and find you somewhere great to play? I've talked before, in this column, about how amazing Austin's preponderance of coffee shops that serve beer is, and, guess what, most of them serve food, too! What you need is a unique combination; food, beer, coffee, and a place to consume all of it that's chill enough that they won't mind you posting up at a table in back for three hours yelling at each other about who put the robber where. What you need, my friend, is Flightpath.
Flightpath is a neighborhood institution, one of the first places my friends took me when I moved to Austin, and it's been my work haunt since. The coffee is good, the beers are cheap, they make excellent hot chocolate, and the wi-fi is free. The one drawback is that they don't have a kitchen on-site, but there's pizza from East Side Pies and some pretty unbeatable cakes, perfect snacks to eat with one hand as you hold your cards in the other. More importantly, it's one of the most refreshingly attitude-free coffee shops in the city, exactly the kind of place you'd want to hole up and play board games for a few hours. Nobody who works at Flightpath is expecting you to Instagram anything, or looking to give you shit for not knowing what a cortado is. Nobody's judging your tattoos or lack thereof. One time, when I came in, the ladies working the counter were dancing to the Toto song "Africa." Africa! It doesn't get more uncool than overly sincere Eighties soft rock, and you know what? It was glorious. I'd be lying if I said I didn't join in.