With the nights drawing in, the temperature dropping, and holiday plans already being finalized, it’s the time of year when many of us just want to hibernate. Getting out and about in the blistering cold might be the last thing on your agenda, but there’s a whole lot going on around Jamaica Bay that is really worth shouting about. Being surrounded by your community is more important than ever during the winter and what better way to do it than through a shared love of games? Whether you consider yourself a poker pro, a chess prodigy, or just enjoy a couple of hours of board games every now and again, we’ve found a gaming option that will get you out of the house and hopefully make you a few new friends at the same time.
Join a Poker Club
Poker, particularly Texas Hold’em (as the name suggests) really got its footing in the USA. It traveled around bars and saloons and provided people with a way to rub along with each other, despite their differences. Nowadays it’s popular all over the world, but nowhere are there more poker clubs than in America. Better still, when living in New York there are plenty of clubs that you can easily join. Some of them require a members fee, whilst others would like you to share the organization tasks; there are even some that require absolutely nothing other than a willingness to show up and play. The closest one that’s open to new members is the Williamsburg Poker Club, where regular game nights and tournaments are held. If you’d like to get a little practice before heading to the Williamsburg club then playing online might be a good solution. This free-to-play online poker site offers a social element to the game, but also allows you to take things at your own pace whilst you get to grips with the rules. Poker can be a little tricky to learn at first, especially when it comes to memorizing your hand rankings, but once you’ve got that all worked out, you’ll be surprised at just how satisfying it is.
Play Chess with the Community
There have been some great initiatives in the Jamaica Bay area to get more people playing chess, which is great news for anyone wanting to give their brain a workout. Chess is the original thinking man’s game and evidence of its existence has been found from as far back as the 13th century. There’s just as much fascination with chess nowadays as there ever was, with the title of grandmaster still being a much-coveted one. Magnus Carlsen has been the World Chess Champion since 2013 and, with another resounding victory in 2022, it doesn’t look like he’ll be losing the title anytime soon. However, that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t be the one to take him on! Getting involved with your local chess club is easy and, even if they don’t meet at the right time for you, then using the outdoor chess boards in your nearest park is a great way to meet people, work out your brain, and make friends.
Enjoy Board Games and Burgers
Some of us are after a slightly less competitive vibe and that’s absolutely fine; not all gaming has to be about winning. For this sort of gamer there are dozens of bars, cafes, and hang-out spots that offer food, drink, and board games all in a convivial atmosphere. If you’re not sure you know of any places near you, then these are a few of our personal suggestions. At the Wallace is a great bar with games that have more of a party vibe. Giant Jenga is the main attraction here, but there are plenty of board games that are totally free to borrow, as well as a great jukebox for hip-hop fans. Alphabet City Beer Co. is another great spot with plenty of craft beers, as the name would suggest, and a selection of board games that anyone would be proud of. Finally The Uncommons is a cool cafe that puts board gaming at the center of its offerings. As well as delicious teas, coffees, burgers, and snacks you can pay $5 to play board games for as long as you like.