On a quiet summer afternoon at Around the Table Game Pub, co-owner Nick Coelho adds the finishing touches to the black poster board displaying the craft beers offered on tap.
He situates the board behind the bar and pours himself a tall mug of Stumptown cold brew coffee, noticing the presence of a customer near the board game selection as he takes his first sip.
“Hi, is there anything I can help you find today?” Coelho said.
Open since March of 2014 at 7600 196th St. S.W. in Lynnwood (but right around the corner from Edmonds), Around the Table Game Pub offers a wide selection of board games, card games, food, and artisan beers along with the table space to enjoy it all.
The idea for the business sprouted when Coelho, at the time working at a pub in Seattle, began frequenting the Seattle game store that co-owner Tim Morgan managed. As they developed a friendship, Coelho and Morgan decided to combine their areas of expertise into one space a little closer to home for them in the North End.
While beer and board games may not be a typical combination, Coelho describes that many of their patrons have become regulars.
“We’ve found a niche that Lynnwood didn’t even know it had,” Coelho said.
But though many of the people who frequent the game pub, located at 7600 196th St. SW. #300, now do so often, certainly not all of them started out as gamers. Coelho emphasizes that their goal is to be inclusive.
“We wanted to create an open, friendly game store that didn’t scream at you that you had to be a geek to fit in here,” Coelho said.
The door to the store opens and Coelho greets the two people entering by name. Eric Scheilmann and his daughter Catlinn, 9, have been two of Around the Table’s regulars since shortly after it opened. Scheilmann, who is new to gaming, first began by teaching himself how to play Pokemon when his daughter became interested a few years ago. Now, gaming is an interest that they share.
“Most of the time I’ll bring my daughter here with me,” Scheilmann said. “It’s something we can do together.”
Creating an atmosphere where people can play together is Coelho and Morgan’s main focus when organizing events and group game sessions. On a weekly basis, the game pub offers cooperative game nights, where players work together to succeed in the game.
“Every event we try to run here is inclusive,” Coelho said, “so if you have any interest you can learn it and explore it.”
For Coelho, the interest in inclusive games is personal. Moving to Lynnwood just three years ago, he found a sense of community in the gaming scene, even meeting his wife in the game store that Morgan managed.
“When I moved up here, I didn’t know anyone,” Coelho said. “I’ve met most of my friends up here at game stores. I want to create a space where other people can make the same connections.”
For now, Around the Table Game Pub will continue to serve the communities within the North End – gamers, beer fanatics, and those simply curious about either alike.
“In this day and age, anyone can go buy games on Amazon for cheap,” Coelho said, “so you have to make yourself a place worth patronizing. So far that’s worked out okay for us. We never intended to be anything big.”
For more information see: www.rttgamepub.com.
By Olivia Fuller