Drinks & Dragons

Andrew Neary


Drinks & Dragons is a third-wave board game cafe. We provide an amazing space for family, friends, and meeting new friends through the bonding power of board games. To add to the welcoming environment we have a full specialty third wave coffee shop, great snacks and panini sandwiches, and delicious desserts. We want the games, the coffee, and the treats to be equally excellent so that everyone has the best possible experience.







When I was in high school I was suffering from PTSD and general anxiety disorder and really lacked a social outlet. My computer science teacher got me and some classmates into Magic: the Gathering, and it became my outlet. We played every day after class, and then on spare. We started going out to comic book stores and playing, and when my depression got so bad that I couldn’t function, playing magic on Wednesdays was the one thing that helped me get out.

I really wanted to provide something like that high school after school club to people that weren’t lucky enough to have as amazing a teacher as I did. A place to relax, feel comfortable, and enjoy. Drinks & Dragons is about making a positive impact in the community and helping as many people as possible.

When I was first thinking of starting the business, I took part in the UpNext Ajax program for entrepreneurship. The BACD was a big part of that program and it changed my life. That was the spark that led me to network, looking into the viability of the business and learning the skills I needed to run the business. Patrice Esper and Teresa Shaver gave me tons of advice, showed me classes and ways to learn about business, and brought me to my first major networking events. They had my back through my first major steps of learning how to start a business.

So far social media, word of mouth, and strategic business partnerships have been the most successful marketing strategies.

Using other people’s networks to reach as many people as possible has been a major boon to the business and has almost unlimited potential.

That it is the hardest and most rewarding thing ever. Make sure you do your research and ask really hard questions, and give yourself the honest answers you deserve. Maybe taking a year and working in the industry is really necessary to make sure you have the skills and interest in doing it. Before you jump, determine your minimum viable product and test with it. For me, it was pop-up events that showed people were interested and that the model made sense. Practice when the cost of failure is low so that you can determine what is effective when things get riskier.

Most importantly use your support system. Opening a business is a massive effort. It’s stressful, exhausting, and can be debilitating. There are people out there rooting for your success, that care about you. Don’t forget to ask for help when things get difficult. There are people that have been through it, are pulling for you, and that can make the journey less lonely and a little easier.

Thank you for reading. Whatever your goal is, I wish you the best of luck going for it. I’m rooting for you.