Time Capsule Cafe
By Marlene Leung

A board game café with a retro feel

After travelling to Amsterdam during a student exchange, co-owner Igor Muratov got inspired to open up Time Capsule Board Game Café. “That’s the first place I saw people come specifically to play games. A lot of them are really cool, with good music, lots of light and art,” he says of the cafés he frequented in Europe. “I came back to Toronto and thought it would be a great idea.”

After a search for the ideal location, Igor and his business partner, Dimitry Skrypal, decided on a bright storefront just a few minutes walk from Woodbine Station. And, after an intensive DIY renovation, Time Capsule Board Game Café opened its doors in September of 2015. Since then, the bright and whimsical café has been offering Toronto’s east end residents a cozy environment to play their favourite board games and video games or shoot a round of pool with friends.

We hang out here too much. Every day. We’re here every day. - Dimitry Skrypal, co-owner

Classic games and new favourites

For just $6, customers can play unlimited board games, video games, pool, darts and foosball. There’s also a retro pinball machine, ping pong table and classic stand-up video game consoles. In terms of the selection of games, Igor says they first started with the games they personally preferred. Then they eventually started crowdsourcing ideas from their customers to build up their collection. “As people started coming, they started making requests,” says Igor. “I basically started buying games based on what people asked for.” The café’s collection includes old standards like Operation, Scrabble and Mouse Trap. But a few newer favourites like Cards Against Humanity and Settlers of Catan have also been added to the mix.

Along with providing a variety of games, the café also offers a range of tasty pub fare, from poutine to nachos to the crowd-pleasing “Thai bites.” Time Capsule also serves alcohol and beer, as well as milkshakes and bubble tea.

Rec room chic

The space feels bright and spacious, with large front-facing windows, perfect for playing a round of chess or cards with friends. While decorating the space, Igor and Dimitry followed one simple guiding principle: put up things they like themselves. As a result, the café is filled with retro rec room baubles, including lava lamps, a magic eight ball and bean bag chairs. And for a nod to their shared love of video games, the walls are adorned with colourful paintings of game characters. “The design is something that has evolved,” Igor says. “We just think of it as ‘What do we like?’”

Since opening, the café has seen a wide range of customers come through its doors, from groups of friends, couples on dates and even families with young children. “The kids have been a surprise demographic,” says Igor. The café has become a sort of community space, hosting different weekly events, including chess and poker, stand-up comedy, female entrepreneurship, public speaking and Warhammer nights.

As for the owners, do they like hanging out at Time Capsule Board Games Café? “We hang out here too much,” Dimitry says, laughing. “Every day. We’re here every day.”

Time Capsule Board Game Café is a café-gaming destination located just a few minutes walk from Woodbine Station.
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