There’s a game just about anyone can play at downtown Akron’s newest bar.
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There are about 725 games in the library at the new Green Dragon Inn on East Market Street in downtown Akron.
The official opening of the bar will be this weekend.
And this is not your typical tavern.
It’s a bit more medieval than contemporary than its predecessors—the Uptown and Sky lounges—that once occupied the second-floor space.
The owner of the building, Jameson Reeves, has completely renovated the bar next to the bricks, which were hidden behind plasterboard.
He has left some of them open so that guests can catch a glimpse of long-hidden architectural elements.
The bar, which serves as a logical extension of Reeves’ other business venture, Full Grip Games, a floor below is a bit like walking into a Dungeons and Dragons movie set, meets Holiday Inn Express with a touch of Chipotle.
The expansive space is a modern take on a medieval theme, from the stripped light bulbs attached to ropes that hang above the stairs leading up to the castle gate entrance, to the dragon faucets in the lavatories.
Almost everything inside the Green Dragon Inn was custom made.
But there are a few items with a bit of history.
The two large chairs at the selfie station just inside the entrance were salvaged from the old St. Peter’s Church in Cleveland.
And the various light fixtures that hang from the ceiling were once part of a huge chandelier that graced a Cleveland mansion.
The bar area has huge tables that can seat up to 140 people so guests can enjoy a drink from the bar and an appetizer and still have some room to play a board game.
Unlike some other similar venues, the Green Dragon Inn allows guests to play any of the games from the bar’s extensive library for free.
But Reeves hopes table-goers will be generous with their orders at the bar, which will feature a variety of adult libations and coffee from Akron Coffee Roasters.
For those gamers looking for some privacy to play a game with a group of friends, Reeves said there are two private rooms cleverly hidden behind doors that look like a bookshelf.
Think of it as a Speakeasy escape room.
Private rooms, which can accommodate up to 24 people, are available for $50 for two hours and $10 for each additional hour.
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The concept of bars and restaurants catering to board games isn’t new to Greater Akron, there’s Malted Maple in Hudson and Great Oaks Tavern in Wadsworth.
The story behind the name Green Dragon Inn
The Green Dragon Inn – named after the tavern the hobbits frequented in The Lord of the Rings – is open seven days a week. More information can be found on his Facebook page.
The bar’s mission is simple.
Reeves said he wants to have more space away from the tables at his Full Grip Games so people can sit down and enjoy a good board or role-playing game and enjoy a drink or two.
His love for board games was born in Akron.
Reeves grew up in Akron’s Ellett neighborhood and left for Chicago to pursue a career in banking.
But in Chicago, he joined a business venture that opened a board game store.
He took his experience from this venture and decided to return to Northeast Ohio and open his own store in his hometown.
That was about seven years ago.
Unlike many businesses, Reeves said, the pandemic was actually good for business as people rediscovered board and role-playing games.
As Full Grip Games’ business grew, Reeves said, he knew he wanted to create a cool space where people could gather to play games in a bar-like setting.
And with the extensive library of games available, he said, it also gives people a chance to try out a game before purchasing it for their personal collections.
The Green Dragon Inn took about a year and a half to come together.
And he hopes it will be a hub space where fantasy battles are fought and friendships are formed.
“Games serve as a community,” he said. “Players can sit with a stranger and play for hours and hopefully leave as friends.”
Craig Webb, who always plays for Siam in the Risk Game, can be reached at [email protected]