LOWER MERION — Twenty One Pips Game Room and Kitchen, a brand new dining and board game concept, recently opened at 24 Cricket Ave. in Ardmore.
From the owner of Thirsty Dice, Philadelphia’s first board game cafe, Twenty One Pips offers guests a fun dining experience with board games, locally sourced sharable menu items, and fine pub-style fare. In addition, the beverage program includes a curated wine, beer and whiskey program, as well as a seasonal selection of craft cocktails from local producers.
The name fits the concept, as the twenty-one points refer to the number of dots, called dots, on a six-sided cube. A large sign at the hostess station contains the dictionary meaning of the word “pips”.
The family restaurant’s 5,000-square-foot interior seats approximately 170 guests with soaring 22-foot ceilings and a mezzanine for private dining. Dramatic 15-foot-high walls of forest moss are offset by an overlay of artwork that captures the playful nature of games in everyday life by artists David Kuzik and Zach Byrd.
Banquets are created from reclaimed church pews and are juxtaposed with comfortable booths draped in rich navy and gray fabrics adorned with tufted red buttons – a playful nod to the pips style prevalent in the concept brand. Special lighting creates intimate spaces with colors and shapes reminiscent of game pieces. The restaurant was designed by Partum Interiors.
To further support the spirit of supporting local artist, Natalie Hope McDonald created unique and whimsical hand-painted black and white murals incorporating iconic gaming-themed images such as Pac-Man Ghosts and Monopoly interspersed with game phrases. words and quotes. The bar area has restored drawer fronts. An extensive collection of museum-quality cubes is on display, encouraging guests to explore the space and learn the unique history of the works on display.
Two vintage skeeball machines, a three-dimensional Atari tennis table, and a striking black-and-white checkered floor complete the game-inspired decor. In addition, there is a library of retro arcade video games for four players. Twenty One Pips’ menu is dominated by locally sourced, house-made and customizable items.
Custom boards boast a selection of artisan cheeses and house-made crudités and spreads, including agave, ginger and turmeric glazed carrots; Split Pea Hummus with Garlic Confit and Wonton Crackers; Eggplant fritters with zaatar-spiced palpette and whipped tahini and local meats such as Soppressata; Nduja, a spicy spreadable pork sausage, or a firm hickory-smoked Pfefferwurst ($18/3, $25/5, $32/7). Additional items include a variety of fritters, including the Not Your Nonna Margarita, with fior di latte, basil pesto and white balsamic glaze ($17).
Small plate offerings include hand-cut fries with crab, cheddar, Old Bay remoulade and scallions ($13), as well as bagno cauda cauvellini, Calabrian chili and asiago oil ($13), and crispy herbed cheddar cheese breaded and marinara ($10). .
The signature 21 burger is topped with bacon and bacon jam, Gouda Mornay, house pickles and served with a side of fries or salad ($17).
Starters and salads include a smoked and roasted Cornish half hen served with braised cabbage, pomme puree and bourbon jus ($29), and citrus arugula with orange slices, heirloom carrots, pistachio gremolata, lemon basil vinaigrette ($14 dollars).
Desserts round out the menu with an Espresso Semifreddo made with Herman’s Coffee Co.’s signature espresso blend. and dark chocolate ganache, and Cast Iron Brookie, a freshly baked triple chocolate brownie and cookie served with or without Bassetts vanilla ice cream. Twenty One Pips offers locally roasted coffee produced by Philadelphia’s Herman’s Coffee.
Twenty One Pips also offers a “Pips-Squeak” menu filled with pint-sized portions of kid-friendly items like burgers, fries, chicken tenders, mac and cheese and more.
Playful cocktails like the Professor Plum, made with gin, lemon, butterfly tea syrup, sake splash and elderflower tonic ($12), the Game Changer with tequila-infused cucumber, mezcal, agave jalapeño, orange liqueur, lime and bitters ($13) or Carrie the Team with lemon vodka, cranberry liqueur, mandarin liqueur and lime ($14) and three mocktails lead the beverage program. A wide selection of wines, whiskeys and local craft beers ensure the perfect drink for any occasion, including local favourites.
Twenty One Pips’ huge game library contains over 600 games. Regular gamers will be on hand to help guests explore games based on themes and interests, from strategy games like Catan, party games like Blank Slate, or family games like Dixit – and of course the whole catalog of nostalgic ones like classics like Guess Who, Trivial Pursuit, Yahtzee and Jenga. A library card, which costs $5 for two hours, gives you access to all games.
“We’re excited to join the Main Line community and help guests discover how easy and enjoyable it can be to connect while playing games and enjoying great food,” said Matt Hendricks, owner of Twenty One Pips. “Twenty One Pips is the place to meet friends after work, enjoy cocktails or entertain your family while sipping a glass of fine wine and tasting local cheese and charcuterie.”
Hours of operation: Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m. to noon; On Saturday from 11am to 12pm and on Sunday from 11am to 7pm, in addition to normal business hours, takeaway coffee and pastries will be available Monday to Friday from 7am to 11.30am; Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m
Twenty One Pips is located at 24 Cricket Ave., Ardmore. To view the menu or for more information, visit http://twentyonepips.com or call 610-228-2711.