My whole family is tired of Clue and Exploding Kittens, well, you know, the whole board flipping thing? That’s why Rook & Rogue, the first “board game pub” in Bellingham is such a breath of fresh air for locals and visitors of all ages. It’s great indoor fun year-round.
With bookshelves and filing cabinets chock full of board games, cards and dice games, there is no shortage of choices. Rook & Rogue boasts more than 500 “casual” (everyday) games, which all restaurant patrons have access to. Find games for your little ones, like Chutes & Ladders, up to adult favorites, like Cards Against Humanity.
But the treasure trove of games, 1,200 or so, are part of a special collection accessible only with a membership. Memberships are available in two tiers, Hobby and Grail, and can be purchased on an annual basis, or can be purchased as a day pass ($5 and $10 respectively).
The Grail level include RPGs (Role Playing Games), such as the classic Dungeons & Dragons, along with many, many more. Wednesdays are RPG Nights. The Grail level also features many other board and card games, including rare or out of print titles.
Yet there’s so much more to Rook & Rogue than the nerdy-fun gamer vibe.
The restaurant is in a historic downtown building at Magnolia and Champion, with high ceilings, tall windows and brick walls. According to the City of Bellingham’s walking tour, the building is located on the border between the former towns of Whatcom and Sehome.
Inside, the ambiance at Rook & Rogue makes you want to sit and stay awhile, which is exactly what the proprietors hope you’ll do. According to the website, and as my family experienced, this isn’t a place where diners are rushed so management can turn tables. You’re encouraged to sit, play a few games, and enjoy a delicious meal. (We would have stayed longer if it hadn’t been a weeknight with homework calling.)
My kids and I happened to visit on a weeknight because yours truly wasn’t in the mood to cook dinner. It was a surprise to see a mid-week wedding reception taking place at the restaurant!
The food and drink menus have fun names, like “Netflix and Chili” or the “Shirley Temple of Doom,” and the food was spot-on. Many of the dishes are house-made, and oh-so-good. And mocktail refills are inexpensive, to encourage you to stay, sip and play some more. (I’m eager to come back on the weekend for brunch, or “Elevensies.”)
Note to sweet tooths: Rook & Rogue doesn’t happen to feature desserts, but that’s OK because it is half a block from Chocolate Necessities on Commercial Street.
Before we left the house to visit Rook & Rogue, my tween was feeling tired and grumpy after school, and didn’t want to go – even to a restaurant filled with games. But we hadn’t been there long when he admitted, “I’m glad we came.”
And as we left, both the kids were already talking about which of their friends would love to come with us next time.