In the last few years, the North Cross area of town has become more and more exciting and lively. One of the newest additions to the neighborhood is Emerald Tavern. It’s not just another coffee shop and bar because it’s also a store and hangout for tabletop gamers.
Opened in October 2013, Emerald Tavern features a unique and relaxing atmosphere for gamers and anyone else who wants to sit down and have a drink. Owners Marshall Geyer and Erich Weidner “really wanted to recreate something that we do every weekend that we love: games, beer, food, coffee. Something we would do with our friends,” explained Geyer. “There are a lot of game stores in town. There are a lot of places to go drink in town. But there aren’t a lot of places that are friendly to do both at the same time.”
The atmosphere at Emerald Tavern is quite comforting as you walk in. It’s decorated in an English tavern style with a beer selection to your left and a game selection to your right, while being audibly blanketed with music from your favorite film and video game scores. The owners and staff will even boast that, of all the game stores in town, they have the cleanest and most comfortable restrooms, with a style that matches their English tavern-themed decor.
Being a game store and a beer and coffee bar, the owners of Emerald Tavern would like to bring the social experience back to gaming. This is something they believe has been lost with the rise of online gaming.
You will definitely discover a game you want to play. Emerald Tavern offers traditional board games like The Settlers of Catan, Dominion, or Carcassonne. If you’re more into role playing, you’ll find classics like Dungeons and Dragons, Traveller, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, and Warhammer 40K.
If you’re not into role playing games, you can choose from a number of games that don’t require a lot of time to get involved. These are games that allow you to read the instructions for a few minutes, play and put the game away when you’re done. You’ll even be able to get your hands on the popular card game Cards Against Humanity, making Emerald Tavern one of the few stores that carry the game in retail.
What makes Emerald Tavern exceptional is their large and diverse game library. With around 60 games to choose from, you can come in, have a beer, look over their game wall and, if you see something you like, start playing on the spot. The attentive staff will even give a demo of a game if you like.
True to their old English style, they feature an esoteric and interesting rotating selection of English beers, both on tap and bottle. The owners, who are former home brewers of 15 years, recognize they sit next to Sherlock’s Baker St. Pub & Grill. Therefore, they aim to offer a beer selection that is different from what you can get next door. They seem to meet this goal with a beer selection that is quite diverse. It consists of wheats, ciders, lagers and seasonal beers from a multitude of craft brewers.
If beer isn’t your flavor, they also have wine. Aside from alcohol, pick from a good selection of espresso drinks, perfect for late night gaming sessions. Lastly, you can also get yourself a sandwich, smoothie or snack while you drink or play. Their menu features vegan, vegetarian and other omnivorous options.
Sitting at the corner of Burnet and 183, next to Sherlock’s, the area has started to become a nice little hub for adult geeks. It’s a block away from Pinballz Arcade and only a few miles from Dragons Lair Comics & Fantasy. If you’re in the area to visit any of those places, you won’t have far to go if you want to sit down at Emerald Tavern and have some beer and/or coffee while you play a game with friends.
Robert is a film maker, born and brewed in Austin, TX. His favorite musician is Johnny Cash and he can frequently be found hiding at Alamo Drafthouse, Pinballz, or one of the many dive bars in East Austin.