Posted October 31, 2016 by Drew Bagay in Gaming

Eat, Play, and Chill at LARUAN ATBP. CAFE


In today’s world playing traditional board games as a past time seems to have fallen by the wayside. But recent trends have seen the resurgence of these fun little things in the form of board game cafes, especially with the success of Laruan Atbp. Cafe. I guess there’s just something enticing about a classic board game where you could sit with your friends or family and get lost in the game for hours.

FlipGeeks had a sit-down with Gab Chee Kee, Kha Santia and Mike Gadi of Laruan Cafe on how it all started and what makes it the perfect place to hang out.

Long before the idea Laruan came about, Gab, one of the founders, wanted to start a business along the booming Maginhawa street. One of the original plans was a mix of food with comics and books.

Ang dami naming naisip na iba’t ibang klase,” says Gab. “Naging combo na lang siya ng pagkain at books, I guess. And personally I wanted something to do with comics. And then naisipan na din naming dagdagan ng board games.”

The addition of board games was a result of the group’s love for board games. Mike and Gab held game nights frequently with their friends, playing a different game each night. This passion for games actually ended up playing a huge part in Laruan’s “identity.”

Since board games are one of the main attractions in Laruan, the cafe has “game masters” that teach and guide customers how to play certain games. You can even challenge some of them if you’re feeling brave.

“Our main responsibility is to help the customers in trying to understand the games,” says Richard, one of the game masters. “Sometimes the customers are not entirely sure of the game mechanics. Aside from that, we also recommend games for them to play.”


Some of the games available at Laruan.

With the games changing hands constantly, it’s also the game masters’ responsibility to keep the games in good condition, making sure everything is intact – the parts, dice, cards, etc.

But with the abundance of board games in Laruan, it would be hard for newbies to choose which one would suit their tastes. So what would a game master like Richard recommend?

“It depends on the customer’s tastes actually,” Richard admits. “We ask them first if they have particular game in game. If not, we try to gauge if there’s a game suited for the customer. So I guess it can also fall on a particular game master’s preference.”

It’s hard to get a straight answer when asking game masters what their favorite games are. But for Richard, sentiment might have an effect to his decision.

“Well that’s a tough question to ask for me,” Richard admitted. “We have certain games that we like to teach because it’s either a game that was taught to us or resonated with us the most. For me it was the first game taught to me, which was Lanterns.”


Laruan has been in business for almost a year, but since its opening it’s become one of the most popular places in Maginhawa. Through word of mouth and successful marketing, it’s proven to be a hit among whole families and not just board game enthusiasts. And it seemed setting the place up in Maginhawa helped too.

Maginhawa street in Quezon City is quickly becoming a hotbed for specialty cafes and new emerging themed restaurants. So it’s only wise to set up Laruan along the street.

“We were just looking for a place along Maginhawa only,” says co-owner Kha. “Yung pwesto ng Laruan ngayon, grocery ‘yan dati. Inoffer na lang samin nung admin ng building yung pwesto dahil gusto talaga namin sa building na ‘to itayo [yung Laruan]. Mga second week ng September to, nung naghahanap kami ng location.”

Aside from board games, another important aspect of Laruan is the diverse selection of food that you can order while playing. Their menu ranges from appetizers, snacks like nachos to full meals and even pasta.

Unsurprisingly the fries and nachos proved to be bestsellers, which, when it comes to playing a board game, certainly not as meddling as compared to a full meal. Mike also added that Laruan’s chicken wings are also one of the top choices from customers.

Keep in mind however, that the full meals are top notch. One can’t deny that the food is definitely a bonus on top of Laruan’s main attraction. And recently they added new choices in the menu, which were recommended from chef friend of theirs, like the Breakfast Medley.


Breakfast medley.

Kung ano yung hilig namin kainin doon kami nagsimula,” co-owner Mike told FlipGeeks. “We also have a friend that’s a chef, and tinuruan niya kami ng mga bagong dishes na pwedeng isama para sa aming new menu.”

The diversity in their menu not only applies to their food, but it can also be seen by their wide range of cold and hot beverages. Milk tea and shake lovers will be in for a treat. Plus, Laruan even serves alcoholic beverages.


Oreo shake.

But what makes Laruan so appealing? Is it the games? The food? For Rence, a regular customer, Laruan has become his perfect hangout place since it has everything. Rence discovered the place through his friends and instantly loved it.

Minimum once a week ako tumatambay dito,” said Rence. “Regular ako with different groups of friends. So let’s say kung hindi man once a week, at least four times a month ako bumabalik dito. Chill talaga siya in a way na walang pressure na umalis ka.

Finally to shake things up, Laruan also holds events that coincide with the major holidays of the year. They participated during Free Comic Book Day back in May. And last February, they held an acoustic night for couples celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Kha admits that they haven’t done anything major yet, but promises to plan something soon. “Sinusubukan namin kunin si Manix Abrera! May mga artworks kami ni Manix na nakadisplay dito at balak din naming magkaroon ng guest signings at drawing events.”

Laruan Cafe is truly a passion project for the owners. And they feel blessed that it’s become a successful venture for them. The concept of a board game cafe deserves props for its originality, and Laruan could be considered a pioneer in the industry.

Laruan Atbp. Cafe is located at 1F Luisa Bldg 2, 107 Maginhawa Street, Teacher’s Village, 1101 Quezon City. You can visit their official Facebook and Instagram pages for more information about events and promos.

Drew Bagay

Drew is a lover of comic books, movies, and all things pop culture. He enjoys crime/thriller/noir fiction, playing the guitar, and taking long walks. He also doesn't like talking in third person.