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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Come ready to play - Games make Boards and Brews more than a bar

May 25. 2018 9:38PM
Danielle Ellis and Angelo Cassano of Fishkill, N.Y., spent the last day of their vacation playing games at Boards and Brews on Thursday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

On a busy Saturday night, the first game you have to play at Boards and Brews is a strategic one — finding a table.

Seating at the Elm Street board-game cafe is on a first-come, first-served basis, with no formal way of determining who is actually “first.” And since there is no limit to the number of games you can play for the $5 per person fee, it’s hard to determine if or when anyone will leave.

Our strategy involved placing ourselves next to a group playing Jenga, willing one of them to make a risky move that would leave them too demoralized to go on. But table turnover was quicker than we anticipated, and owner Keating Tufts showed us to the perfect place for our party of four to play “The Office” version of Clue.

(For the record, I am a little hurt that my game mates all decided I should be Angela — the least-liked character of the show.)

The game collection at Boards and Brews is vast, with traditional, family-friendly choices like Sorry and Monopoly, as well as more intense strategic games like Settlers of Catan. There is even a whole section labeled “Hard Core.” I was too afraid to look at it.

Boards and Brews has a nice selection of coffee drinks, tea, beer, and wine, and a full bar offering game-themed cocktails like Cosmo Encounter and Go Fish.

There is also a limited food menu, with a fun snack option called Connect Four that lets you choose from a whole list of candy and crunchy snacks to create a personalized snack tray.

Being at Boards and Brews felt more productive than just sitting at a regular bar on a Saturday night. The room is bright, and everyone is smiling. The lively Saturday night crowd made it a little difficult to hear my gaming opponents, but I imagine there are days and nights when the environment is a little more relaxed and quiet.

Boards and Brews, located at 941 Elm St., opens daily at 11 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and you can game until 11 p.m. On Friday and Saturday they close at 1 a.m.

Lion at the library

New Hampshire state Sen, Lou D’Allesandro will be at the Manchester City Library this Thursday, May 31, to sign copies of his memoir “Lou D’Allesandro: Lion of the New Hampshire Senate; Thoughts for Presidential Hopefuls.”

D’Allesandro and co-author Mark Bodanza will be in the library’s auditorium from 7 to 8:15 p.m.

Episcopal pottery

Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church will be hosting an art show on Saturday, June 2, featuring the pottery of 1993 Central High School graduate Samantha Gordon.

Gordon has been “throwing” for more than 14 years and teaching others the joy of making their own pottery for 10 years. She crafts her functional pottery out of her Great Hill Studio in Washington, D.C.

Gordon began focusing on studying ceramics after her brother, Douglas Gordon, a recreation and camp director for Easterseals, died at age 33 from colon cancer. Money he left her gave her the ability to pursue her passion, according to their mom, Susan Gordon.

“For me, it brings both Doug and Sam close,” Susan Gordon wrote to The Scene. “Doug loved his work with the disabled and he has had a hand in Samantha finding a successful career in what she loves. A mother couldn’t be happier knowing her children have followed their hearts.”

The June 2 show will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 102 S. Main St. Samantha Gordon said she will have mugs, plates, bowls, pitchers, vases and platters. All are microwave, dishwasher and food safe. Fifteen percent of all sales will be donated to the church’s outreach programs.

To see Gordon’s impressive work, visit

Make a mug

You can try making your own mug to give to dad on Father’s Day at Studio 550’s Family Clay Workshop on Saturday, June 2.

Students will create a customized mug by using stamps, carving designs, painting patterns, leaves, and more.

Pre-registration is highly encouraged. The price of $15 per participant includes one hand-sculpted piece.

Visit for more information.

Soul 2 Soul

Country music superstar couple Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are bringing their Soul 2 Soul World Tour to SNHU Arena on Saturday, June 16. You can win a pair of tickets from the New Hampshire Union Leader and Visit to enter.

Katie gets much of her Scene fodder from readers like you. Send her your ideas at

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