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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Games for Two Players

Games for Two Players

Hello Bali!

We often get asked to recommend suitable games for two players. Whether for a couple on a romantic date, or just a couple of friends hanging out, we’ve come up with a list of our favorite games designed just for two players.


Patchwork, a polyomino game for two players
Patchwork image from Big Boss Battle

Patchwork is in my opinion, designer Uwe Rosenberg’s masterpiece. In this game, players take turns buying Tetris-style polyomino pieces to place them on their own board. Players try to fill up their board as much as possible, while earning resources to enable them to buy even more pieces. While taking only a couple of minutes to teach, the gameplay is very fun and addicting.


Jaipur, a trading game for two players
Jaipur image from The New York Times

Jaipur is a simple game of collecting and trading goods in order to score points. On a player’s turn they are able to take or trade cards from the market, or sell the cards in their hand for points. If they are able to sell three or more at one time, they can score better bonus points. It’s simple, fast, and very fun to play.


I-cut-you-choose is the driving mechanism of Hanamikoji
Hanamikoji image from Random Nerdery

Hanamikoji is a two-player strategy card game set in Japan. The game revolves players offering cards in trying to win the favor of seven Geishas. Players offer their opponent a choice of several cards, after which the player gets whatever cards are left over. While the game is easy enough to learn, it still offers a lot of strategic depth.

Schotten Totten

Setting up winning hands in Schotten Totten
Schotten Totten image by Daily Worker Placement

This game has some similarities to Hanamikoji, but is a lot more straightforward type of tug-of-war. Each player takes turns placing a single card at one of nine boundary stones, while trying to achieve the goal of having the best three-card combo on their side of the stone. What makes this a great game is because players are constantly trying to deduce what combo their opponent is trying to achieve, and whether they’re able to counter it.


Cards show available moves in Onitama
Onitama image by Meeple Like Us

Fans of chess may appreciate the streamlined gameplay of Onitama. In this game, players must either capture their opponent’s Master or occupy their throne. To do this, players move their pieces by selecting from a number of moves depicted on one of two cards, and then the card they used is then made available to their opponent to use in their future moves. This constant rotation of cards keeps the flow very dynamic, and as a result makes Onitama a rather thought-provoking puzzle.


Strategy game for chess lovers
Hive image by Tabletop Wanderers

Hive makes for a more direct comparison to chess in that each player piece has unique moves not unlike each chess piece. Unlike chess, Hive does not use a board. The players form the playing field by connecting and moving hexagonal insect pieces around a central cluster or hive, in order to surround their opponent’s queen bee.

Posted by Downtime
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!

Posted by dtadmin
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