LOGAN SQUARE — Cards Against Humanity is out as the owner and operator of the Chicago Board Game Cafe.
Earlier this month, the card game crew sold its elaborately designed board game cafe at 1965 N. Milwaukee Ave. to the Canadian board game cafe chain Snakes & Lattes. The cafe will reopen under Snakes & Lattes’ ownership Oct. 14, according to a news release.
The Cards Against Humanity founders, in an emailed statement from a company spokeswoman, pointed to their lack of experience running such a business and the pandemic as their reasons for selling.
“We wanted to put the cafe in the hands of a company with expertise in running board game cafes, expertise we did not have,” the founders said. “Given the pandemic, we believe this is the best way to give this magical place and its hardworking staff the best chance to succeed.”
The sale comes a few months after Polygon reported on Cards Against Humanity’s alleged sexist and racist office culture. Co-founder Max Temkin stepped down after the allegations surfaced.
The report centered on the card game company’s office, not the cafe. A company spokeswoman wouldn’t say whether Temkin’s departure factored into the sale and declined to set up an interview with Cards Against Humanity ownership.
The Cards Against Humanity team may have been a victim of bad timing, as it opened the board game cafe just weeks before the stay at home order took effect. The cafe had to close for months.
Snakes & Lattes founder Ben Castanie said he jumped at the opportunity to take over the cafe when the Cards Against Humanity founders approached him about it two months ago.
“There was just enough time for the cafe to earn rave reviews for its food, design and overall awesomeness, but not enough time for many Chicagoans to experience it,” Castanie said in a release.
It will be Snakes & Latte’s first Chicago location and third in the United States. The company has one cafe in Arizona and is opening another there soon. The rest of its cafes are in Canada.
Snakes & Lattes isn’t planning to make a lot of changes to the Chicago cafe, which is located in the Margies Candies building at the Logan Square/Bucktown border.
The concept will remain the same: Patrons will be able to choose games from a massive board game vault to play over dinner and drinks. Teachers will be on hand to recommend games to diners and help them learn the rules. The games will range from classics like Monopoly and Scrabble to indie games developed all over the world.
The cafe will also continue to offer full dinner and drinks menus. The chef Cards Against Humanity tapped, Aaron McKay (Schwa, NoMi, Le Lan), will remain involved as Snakes & Latte’s vice president of food and beverage.
Snakes & Lattes is only planning to make minor, cosmetic changes to the interior, which Cards Against Humanity designed to look like a town square with cobblestone streets and street lamps.
“It’s so amazing, so pretty,” Castanie said. “I don’t want to touch it.”
The cafe will operate at 25 percent capacity in accordance with public health guidelines. Snakes & Lattes is requiring all patrons to make reservations due to the pandemic. Reservations can be made online starting Oct. 1.
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