Silver Key Lounge in Mesa

A spacious room for games of all kinds greets patrons at the Silver Key Lounge in Mesa.

Need a new date destination? Looking for something to do with your friends and family? 

The Silver Key Lounge might just be the ticket.

A craft beer and wine board game lounge with a 1920s speakeasy atmosphere, the Mesa business offers a free game library with over 600 board, card and RPG games to choose from. Guests can also make their beverage selection from 16 draft craft beers and mead along with more than 20 beers in cans or bottles, 20 wine labels, cocktails, over 30 craft sodas and other non-alcoholic drinks.

“We have everything,” said Gregg McCleary, owner and operations manager of The Silver Key Lounge. “We have what you call gateway games that are easy to learn, party games for bigger groups, strategic games for advanced players… the selection is very wide. We wanted to touch on everybody’s interest.”

These games can last a few minutes or a few hours and can be played by one or multiple players. Don’t know what to play? The lounge provides a game master to guide you.

Located at 1837 W. Guadalupe Road in Mesa, the Silver Key Lounge is open for gaming and drinking from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday. The lounge is kid friendly until 10 p.m.

Because the lounge does not serve kitchen-made food and just packaged snacks, guests are welcome to bring in outside food but no outside drinks.

McCleary, a longtime gamer, noticed that board game lounges and cafes have been on the rise in the past few years. Tired of working the corporate life, he partnered with Adam Oligschlaeger to open The Silver Key Lounge.

They had a major goal, McCleary said, explaining:

“Our main thing was just to get people off of their phones – start being human to each other again. Be a kid again…have a beer.”

The name and ‘20s art deco theme are inspired by a 1926 fantasy short story by H.P. Lovecraft called “The Silver Key,” McCleary said.

The 5,000-square-foot business opened in mid-January but was originally slated to open in October of 2019. McCleary said he had been advertising The Silver Key Lounge since August 2018 and that multiple obstacles – from permits to the pandemic – delayed the opening.

“By the time we had all of our ducks in a row, COVID-19 hit,” McCleary said.

Even after opening, the first four months of business were touch-and-go and there was fear that they wouldn’t be able to keep operating, McCleary said. 

Suddenly, vaccinations became more readily available and people who wanted to go but couldn’t because of health concerns were now able to come out.

“Once the vaccinations hit the mainstream, it was a complete 180,” he said.

Now, the lounge sees more and more gamers of all ages walk through the doors.

The Silver Key Lounge has weekly board, card and miniature tournaments that often offer prizes or lounge credit. 

For instance, every Sunday is Dungeons & Dragons One Shot Sunday Night where gamers run through a simple adventure and are taught the basics of the rules.

Every first Saturday of the month since its opening, The Silver Key Lounge has hosted a Sellers Market, that enables visitors to score deals on games from various private vendors and stick around afterward for fun game play.

“It gives people the opportunity to sell their games and have a little human contact again,” McCleary said.

If you can’t make it to the Sellers Market, the lounge also provides retail space up front where a variety of games are for sale.

A fantasy tavern-themed private room that can fit up to 15 people can be reserved for a minimum four-hour block. It’s called “The Silver Button Inn” and is named after one of the lounge’s kickstarter contributors, McCleary said.

Most notably, The Silver Key Lounge offers a livestreaming table for $10 an hour where gamers can livestream or record their gaming sessions on YouTube, Twitch, or other platforms.

“We supply the cameras, lights and microphones,” McCleary said. “All they need is their laptop.” 

In the future, McCleary hopes to expand The Silver Key Lounge in several ways.

“By the end of this year we hope to add a small kitchen where we will offer appetizers,” McClearly said. “Down the road we would love to open another location, probably out-of-state.”

A complete food and beverage menu, along with a board game library, can be found at thesilverkeylounge.com. To find out about upcoming events at The Silver Key Lounge: facebook.com/thesilverkeylounge/events

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