Downtime’s 5th Year! (2 of 2)

Downtime’s 5th Year! (2 of 2)

About a year after opening, we started becoming aware of some new challenges that in many ways were actually good. The small tiny kitchen was constantly running out of space to store things. Our small footprint limited the number of visitors we could have at any given time. We also didn’t particularly enjoy hanging out in the dim, windowless upstairs room, in what was once probably a storage attic.

Downtime moves to a new location

In 2019 we began to look for a larger space where we could grow into. It wasn’t long before we found a new shop just around the corner, with four times the floorspace!

Downtime 2.0

Game Night at our new place!

Keeping with tradition, we opened our doors for Wednesday Game Night at our new place on 29th of January 2020. It has a spacious floor plan for ample tables and chairs, lots of natural light, and increased capacity in the kitchen. We felt like things were about ready to take off!

If we knew then what we know now…

Well, so much for that.

As you may recall, 2020 turned out not to be the best time to open any business. Much less one that depended on intimate groups of people huddled closely around a game table.

So much for getting together for board games…

In March of that year we had to close our doors for lockdown, much like everywhere else in the world. We unfortunately had to send our staff home. But we were fortunate that we had enough savings to provide them with half-salary to weather the duration of the 5-week lockdown.

After the initial lockdown, restaurants and cafes were gradually allowed to reopen on a very limited basis. At times the local regulations were relaxed enough for us to host a few dine-in customers. Other times we had to limit our service to takeout-only.

This has to be said. We owe a deep gratitude to every single one of our customers and friends who supported us by ordering food delivery during this time.

You know who you are! We thank you very much for your continued support!

Managing to get in a game or two

The Covid-era “new normal”

Slowly we allowed guests to sit and play board games again, though we had to take out many favorite games that had a high player count or those that got people a little too excited (sorry social deduction fans).

We kept close watch on the local Bali infection rate data. If the infection count started climbing, we temporarily suspended gaming activities, and would resume them again when the numbers declined. We really love seeing people gather around and have fun over games. However we didn’t want to be responsible for anyone catching Covid at our premises–and potentially infecting their families or elders at home.

After three years, thankfully with the support of local vaccination efforts and the gradual evolving nature of the virus itself, Covid has ceased to be a life-threatening issue for the general public at least for the moment.

Going forward

Heading into our fifth year, we continue our passion for finding ideas to refresh our menu offerings. We always seek to create new exciting dishes for our customers. We will continue to draw from the wide world of culinary possibilities that Bali hasn’t experienced yet.

This year we added new dishes such as our overloaded version of the Montreal classic poutine, and our personal favorite new Spanish breakfast egg dish huevos con ajos. We also added to our homemade burger offerings including the Sunset Burger, which we’re not ashamed to admit was heavily inspired by California’s In-n-Out animal style burger.

Nice to see happy people playing board games

We also continue to be excited about the growing board gaming community here in Bali. As per tradition, at our shop we continue to introduce newcomers into the hobby every Wednesday evenings.

We’re also starting to notice people from other places like Ubud and Canggu starting to form little weekly board game groups and gatherings of their own. It’s very heartening to see more and more people discover board games. We wish them well and godspeed, as they remind us of our own humble origins, not too long ago.

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Downtime’s 5th Year! (1 of 2)

Downtime’s 5th Year! (1 of 2)

Folks have asked us why we opened a board game cafe here in Bali. May 2023 marks the fifth year of operations here at Downtime Cafe. On this occasion we thought it might be nice to take a trip back to nostalgia lane and share some moments along our journey thus far.

A gathering of board game lovers

When we first moved from Jakarta to Bali in 2016 we couldn’t find enough people to play board games with. We started inviting friends, fellow travelers, etc. via social media to join us as we hosted Game Night gatherings every Wednesday evenings. We met at various coffee shops around town, and introduced new players to simple games such Saboteur, Avalon, Bang! The Dice Game, and Port Royal. Thus the Bali Board Games group was born.

The Bali Board Games group met weekly at one of the local coffee shops.

We kept bouncing from one coffee shop to another over the next couple of years. Finding a place that had the right combination of large tables, good lighting, and decent food and drinks is surprisingly harder than you might think. On top of that, lugging heavy bags full of cardboard on scooters (sometimes in the middle of a rainstorm) was taking its toll on our backs.

Needing a place of our own

We began toying around with the idea of setting up our own gaming space. We’ve seen board game cafes work in larger cities like Jakarta and Bangkok. Would the concept work in a small island like Bali though? There was only one way for us to find out.

We found a small shop in an area of Bali called Kerobokan. This part of town may not be as well-known as Canggu, Seminyak, or Kuta. However it has the advantage of being in a central location and is easily accessible from those other areas. The shop was previously a warung or local eatery, and it already had a small kitchen, some rudimentary seating area, and a washroom. We just needed to add a splash of paint, fix a few things, get some furniture, and we were good to go!

Needs a little bit of work, but it’ll do.

The next thing we had to ponder was, we needed a name. We had brainstormed a bunch of names already, and rejected names that had “board” in the title. This was because there were already a lot of surfboard shops in Bali using those kind of names already. Names with “dice” or “game” also didn’t make the cut because we didn’t want to focus too much on board games (more on that later).

We wanted a name that conveyed the concept of chilling, taking some time out of your busy work schedule, hanging out with friends, enjoying good food, having a good time. As in, enjoying a little downtime for yourself.

The first board game cafe in Bali

Downtime is open for business!

Downtime Cafe became the first board game cafe in Bali on Wednesday, 16th of May, 2018. We launched on that day by hosting our usual Wednesday evening Game Night. At long last, Bali Board Games had a permanent home!

For the first time, Bali Wednesday Game Night had a permanent home

Questions still remained. It would be hard enough for a niche operation like a board game cafe to survive even in a large metropolis like Jakarta or Bangkok. What would our chances be in a small resort island like Bali, whose population is not even 1/10th the size?

Judging by our experience and relative difficulty of getting people to come to our game nights, there wasn’t enough of a built-in base in Bali to support a shop focused just on board games. If we were to survive, we had to focus on the food and beverage side our business. The board games aspect would have to take a back seat.

Cafe first, board games second

We chose “international comfort food” as our driving concept. We didn’t want to offer trendy food like Indomie instant noodles or ayam geprek fried chicken, which were ubiquitous and “viral” back then. Rather, we wanted to offer Bali a chance to taste unique, delicious comfort foods from around the world, using locally-sourced ingredients from the island.

Our cornerstone was our triple-cooked Belgian fries, with your choice of homemade dipping sauces. Of course we must have nasi goreng. We developed our own unique variations, such as our bacon fried rice, and our very own Balinese fried rice. Thankfully, reception to our food has been generally very positive.

Downtime Cafe was beginning to grow.

(To be Continued…)

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Enter and Win our Giveaway Contest

Enter and Win our Giveaway Contest

May 2023 marks the 5th year anniversary of Downtime Cafe, and to celebrate the occasion we would like to announce a fun giveaway contest! Winners could receive Gift Vouchers, Dinners for Four, or the fantastic board game Azul: Master Chocolatier!

How to Join

Important information:

  • To be eligible, entrants must currently be living in Bali
  • The entries each week will be entered into 4 random drawings on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th of May.
    • One winner each week will receive a Rp100,000 Gift Voucher
    • Two runners up each week will receive Rp50,000 Gift Vouchers.
  • All entries will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing on the 31st of May.
    • The Grand Prize winner will receive their own copy of the board game Azul: Master Chocolatier
    • Two runners up each will receive a voucher for a Free Dinner for 4 Persons at Downtime Cafe

Have fun participating in our giveaway contest, and good luck!

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New Breakfast Dishes!

New Breakfast Dishes!

We are constantly drawing inspiration from around the world in order to continually evolve our menu. After extensive research and development, we are excited to announce some new breakfast dishes that are now available at Downtime!

The first of our new breakfast dishes is called Huevos con Ajos or “eggs with garlic” in Spanish. This delicious dish originates from the southern coast of Malaga in Spain, but has many variations as each household probably has its own way to make this homey dish. The dish is essentially eggs fried in garlic and olive oil until they develop a crispy golden crust. We serve the eggs with some slow-cooked confit potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and tomatoes. The end result is truly amazing, and is vegetarian-friendly too!

“Good artists copy, great artists steal”
–Pablo Picasso

Our new Breakfast Sandwich is inspired by the Fairfax sandwich, one of my favorite bites at Eggslut, the popular breakfast stop by chef Alvin Cailan in Los Angeles. We place some soft-cooked eggs atop a slice of ham, followed by a slice of smoked cheese and caramelized onions, topped up with our homemade herb remoulade sauce.

The Breakfast Sandwich is also available on our daily Sunrise Special breakfast deals, so come early!

We hope to see you soon at Downtime!

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Sunrise Special: Our Coffee and Breakfast Deals

Sunrise Special: Our Coffee and Breakfast Deals

We’re excited to announce our newest coffee and breakfast deals! From 8am until 12 noon you can get a packaged breakfast combo deal, which includes your beverage choice of coffee, tea, or juice along with one of our delicious breakfast dishes.

Ham and Egg Croissant Breakfast Deals
Ham and Egg Croissant

Do you love soft, buttery croissants with your coffee in the morning? You may choose from our popular Ham or Mushroom and Egg Croissant breakfast deals, which includes a large butter croissant with fluffy scrambled eggs, stuffed with your choice of either ham or sauteed mushrooms.

Breakfast Sandwich Deal
Breakfast Sandwich

We are also proud to introduce our Breakfast Sandwich, which consists of ham, fluffy scrambled eggs, topped with cheese and caramelized onions, held together in a burger bun.

Downtime Fried Rice Breakfast Deals
Downtime Fried Rice

We also offer our own homemade Downtime Fried Rice or nasi goreng, made with our own in-house blend of spices and seasonings.

Breakfast Burrito
Breakfast Burrito

For something a little lighter you may opt instead for a Breakfast Burrito wrap with scrambled eggs and sausages, or a Breakfast Quesadilla with scrambled eggs, mozzarella and sauteed mushrooms.

These coffee and breakfast deals are available each and every day, so you can enjoy a delicious and affordable breakfast or brunch in the morning!

Come in and start your day with a perfect breakfast! We are centrally located in Kerobokan, and are open from 8am to 9pm seven days a week.

We hope to see you soon!

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Game Night Social

Game Night Social

We have been inviting old friends as well as new ones, to come join us for our Game Night Social every week ever since we moved to Bali in 2016. Before we founded Downtime Cafe, we would bring a backpack full of games and meet up at one of the local area coffee shops every Wednesday evening.

Game Night at coffee shop c.2017
Game Night at coffee shop c.2017

It’s a great way for you to come and get to know the phenomenon that is modern board games–because the new board games are not just about ways of bankrupting your friends over Monopoly any more.

Just like there are many books and movies to choose from, you now have a wonderful array of board game choices. For example, you can compete to build new towns and cities in Catan, or you can compete to build railroad networks and fulfill routes objectives in Ticket to Ride. Collect colorful tiles to build a beautiful pattern in Azul! Also instead of competing, you can collectively work together to save the world from a number of raging diseases in Pandemic!

Game Night @ Downtime original location c. 2018
Game Night @ Downtime original location c. 2018

The games themselves is only one part of what makes the activity so enjoyable. Playing board games is an experience that is best when shared amongst you and those you play with. It is like a conversation–it is a shared activity and pastime that connects you with your table mates, creating new bonds and friendships.

Board gaming Friends at Game Night, 2022
Board gaming Friends at Game Night, 2022

It is in the spirit of friendship that we hold these weekly events. More than merely a chance to play board games, in the end it is our way to get people to come together every week to connect and make new friends. That is ultimately what it’s all about.

We invite you to come join us!

Game Night Social is held at our location each Wednesday evening from 5pm

Posted by dtadmin