When Twenty One Pips Game Room and Kitchen opens in May it will bring some fun and camaraderie to the Main Line in its “swanky but never stuffy” space at 24 Cricket Ave. in Ardmore. Owner Matt Hendricks, who founded Philly’s first board game café Thirsty Dice, says the new Twenty One Pips Game Room and Kitchen will have more than 600 board games to choose from, including strategy-based games like Catan, party games like Blank Slate, and nostalgic classics like Guess Who, in addition to two vintage skeeball machines and a 3-D Pong table.
“There are about 3,000 games made each year. It’s great to have so many people on staff who know what’s hot and what’s just another remake of Monopoly and put the best of them in the library. They’ve done this in Fairmount, and we’re looking forward to doing this in Ardmore,” Hendricks said.
In addition to guests interacting through games, Twenty One Pips Game Room and Kitchen will offer a menu of shareable plates, like local cheeses, charcuterie, and crudité to help keep gamers engaged with one another. You’ll also find elevated pub-style entrees, craft cocktails, and a carefully curated beer and wine menu offered in the 5,000 sq. ft. space.
“We wanted to create a place where folks on the Main Line can meet up and unwind with games and elevated cuisine in a playful, contemporary, and friendly environment. Twenty One Pips will be a neighborhood spot to meet friends after work, enjoy cocktails, share a meal and connect through games. Or if you just want a family night out, Twenty One Pips has something for everyone without sacrificing a great meal or glass of wine,” Hendricks said.
Twenty One Pips Game Room and Kitchen will boast 20-foot ceilings with seating for about 170 in an atmosphere with game-inspired décor and artwork and murals painted by local artists. Dice from all around the world, some that go back to the 14th century, will also be on display thanks to a loan from a friend who collected them over a lifetime, finding that while different in appearance and from very different cultures, the dice are still fundamentally the same.
“This is what we’re trying to create here. We wanted to understand what would work well within Ardmore because it’s a very different space [than Thirsty Dice],” Hendricks told What Now Philadelphia. “There was a lot of great opportunity that we didn’t want to leave on the table. We wanted to make sure we were utilizing this space in the best way possible for people in the community.”
Hendricks says that he sees board game playing as a “lost art” and a great way for people to get to learn about each other or connect. It’s something he believes people are longing for after the pandemic in an age of remote work.
“I was talking with a customer to thank them for bringing out their group of 20 people, and they mentioned that 10 people on their sales team came on during the pandemic, and they didn’t know one another. They didn’t have an opportunity to build trust,” Hendricks explained. “The game is a great way to see what another person is authentically like. One of my favorite things to do is see people who come in on dates. When you’re playing a game, you can see if the dude is mansplaining, and you can get a sense right out the gate if one doesn’t play well with others. When you’re watching a movie, you two are just sitting there together, but when you play a game, you can’t hide who you are.”
Twenty One Pips Game Room and Kitchen will hire 25 full and part-time employees to work in a “positive and inclusive work environment placing empathy, growth, and fun as key pillars among the hospitality philosophy.” Learn more at www.twentyonepips.com.
H/T: Marilyn Johnson