Couple give up civil service roles to launch board game venue

board game

Sheffield’s first board game venue has been opened by Ruth and Andy Haigh with help from city solicitors Wake Smith.

The Treehouse gives board game lovers the chance to enjoy more than 300 games from the newest designer titles to the old familiar classics, to suit every age group, party size and concentration span.

Solicitors Wake Smith advised new entrepreneurs Ruth and Andy Haigh on the lease for the new 2,500 sq ft café, located in the former Bar 27 premises on Boston Street off London Road. Ruth and Andy have now put the finishing touches to the 90 seater café, which employs 11 staff and also serves locally sourced food, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks to help visitors concentrate on developing their winning strategy.

Games lover Ruth, who along with husband Andy have given up their full-time jobs as a civil servant and engineer to set up the venture, said: “There has been a real renaissance in playing board games recently, and board game cafes have been springing up around the UK. What sets them apart from a normal bar or cafe is that their main focus is board games, and they are specifically designed to create the best possible playing experience.

“And we don’t just mean a pile of tatty boxes in the corner with half the bits missing. Instead, we have a colourful wall of choices, containing the newest games to the classics..

“This is accompanied by friendly, knowledgeable staff who will help players pick the right game and master the rules.

“Obviously we are not operating from a treehouse, but we hope it will have some things in common in that it will be a great place to play and an escape from the day-to-day the world.

“Our mission is to give our customers a great time through food, drink and play.”

The extensive library of games includes favourites such as Monopoly and Scrabble to more modern games such as Settlers of Catan and the cafe will continually add new releases and customer requests. A crowd funding project raised £4,000 to help the duo realise their gaming dream.

Ruth added: “We decided to open the cafe after realising just how much enjoyment games have brought to our lives, and how much fun we’ve had sharing them with other people.

“We believe games are amazing tools for creating fun, memorable experiences, and that playing games together is something you can’t do too much of, however old you are.

“Although not Sheffield born and bred, we’ve developed a huge love for city over the 10 years we’ve lived here, and are proud and excited to be adding to Sheffield’s already great selection of independent local businesses.”

Ruth added: “A small cover charge will apply per four hour session. This is to help us maintain the games library and pay our gurus, and ensures we maintain our specialism as a board games cafe and the best possible playing environment.

“Food and drink served direct to your table, so you don’t have to miss your turn to get a new drink.”

Laura Sanderson, solicitor in Wake Smith’s commercial property division, said: “We were really pleased to be able to advise on the lease requirements.

“This is one of Sheffield’s newest and most innovative businesses and we are delighted to have helped another independent business get started.”

Ruth added: “Laura’s support has been invaluable in helping us navigate the commercial lease process, which both Andy and I are completely new to. Laura has always been available to answer our questions and has offered clear and consistent advice throughout.”

The family and dog-friendly cafe, leased from landlords City Estates, will also offer a membership scheme for regular visitors.

Ruth and Andy have been running Across the Board, a monthly games night at The Showroom in Sheffield since October last year.