Game over: Ottawa’s first-ever board game café to close

Ottawa’s first-ever board game café, Monopolatte on Somerset Street, is set to close after three years in business.

By Evelyn Harford

It was after much thought and sadness that owner, David Narbaitz, announced his decision to shut down the café in a late night Facebook post over the weekend.

Narbaitz said the business just wasn’t making enough money to pay his workers fairly, or consistently pay him. And though Narbaitz is only breaking even with his first business venture, he’s still happy he did it.

“There’re so many people who have gotten so much joy out of this place,” he said. “When you bring a table a game they’ve never heard of before and they spend the next hour and a half just laughing their head off you’re like, ‘I just made their life a little bit better.’”

Narbaitz said customers and staff are sad to see the place close but they know it’s for the best.

“Monopolatte ceased to be a business a long time ago and started to be more of a family,” he said. “What started out as customers have become really great friends – I’m going to miss that about Monopolatte.”

Aside from getting people excited about board games, Narbaitz’s goal with Monopolatte was to have a business where he could pay his workers a living wage and give them benefits – but that never became an economic reality. It was one of the main reasons why Narbaitz made the tough, but necessary, choice to shut the doors.

In total, nine staff will lose their jobs, including Narbaitz who plans to pursue a career in renewable energy, as a mechanical engineer – something he’s always wanted to do.

This article originally appeared on Metro News on Sept. 20.