Abu Dhabi’s new board game cafe with over 200 gaming options


Sequence, Risk and Catan are just a few of the popular titles that can be found on the walls of the DNA Board Game Cafe in Khalidiya.

Located in Abu Dhabi’s Montazah Tower, the cafe’s interiors feature a stark contrast of navy blue and red with large round windows that let in natural light. Elsewhere there is greenery on the walls as well as plants in the corner, adding an earthy side.

The coffee is the fruit of the imagination of Delilah Celik and Abdulaziz Alyassi, both passionate about board games. The decor is also in the image of the couple, they say The National.

Celik says she is a great the Lord of the Rings fan, which explains the style of the windows, while red is her favorite color and navy blue is Alyassi’s. Celik also loves retro vintage, a theme that can be found everywhere.

“The reason we chose a board game cafe theme is because we love board games. It’s so much fun. And we’re both very competitive, ”says Celik. “So we were playing board games probably seven or eight years ago, and then we just wanted to open our own cafe. “

“DNA” comes from their first names, because when they played games together, their friends chanted “D and A”.

It’s just a great place to come with the family. There is just a comfort

Dalila Celik, co-founder

Currently, the point of sale offers more than 200 games ranging from family to multiplayer. Some of them are strategic, while others offer more opportunities for social interaction.

There’s also a limited menu offering breakfast items like French toast and pancakes, along with sourdough options. Main courses include a truffle burger on a black brioche bun and grilled tiger prawns or a salad for those who want to eat lighter.

There are also cakes and desserts, as baking is another hobby Celik enjoys. While there is plenty of dedicated space for games, there’s also quite a separate area for baked goods. Separated from the rest of the cafe by a glass wall, the room is painted a light pink with intricately decorated cakes on one side.

The DNA Board Game Cafe also has a bakery area.  Antonie Robertson / The National

“I love baking. I used to cook but I don’t have time now. So the others cook [for us]. But we call the space the “cake basement,” and originally I wanted it to be in a basement, but I didn’t get approvals, ”says Celik.

Since opening in December, she says the cafe has received a warm welcome. However, there has been some feedback on aspects such as parking, which may be limited in the high-traffic area, as well as pricing.

Limited parking is available in the basement of the building, which people don’t always realize, and Celik explains the price: “It’s Dh19 per person for an hour, then Dh29 the second hour and then Dh39 for prices all day. ” she says. “If you eat and drink it’s not on the menu, but we won’t charge you while you eat and drink. Board games usually came after or before.

“We don’t usually mix games with food because of Covid and the games would be spoiled. You can eat before but there is no table charge and it’s just what you eat on the menu.”

Even though the space is new, there are already plans to expand to Ras Al Khaimah, where Alyassi is from. Celik also hopes to make more use of the “cake basement” by hosting cake decorating classes soon.

Overall, Celik says she really wants people to feel comfortable in the space and tries to create a sense of familiarity.

“It’s just a beautiful place to come with the family. There is only comfort,” she said. “What I miss about the house is that there are little cafes that you will find and that everyone knows you by name. Like we are kinda nice here.”

Updated: January 8, 2022, 08:37 AM

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