TLDR version: A perfect blend of a board game cafe and cocktail bar, Mana will be a much needed addition to the nightlife of Pittsburgh, not just another loud and overcrowded sports bar. An extensive game library and a carefully selected craft cocktail menu are only the beginning. Special events such as game launch parties and cosplay nights ensure that there will always be something to look forward to at Mana.
The longer version:
Shannon has had a love of board games since her birth. Her parents had a passion for games, which they passed to her, which she is now passing to her own daughter and also wants to pass on to you!
As soon as she turned 21, Shannon became a bartender, a career she has enjoyed ever since. Though she has pursued other careers; event planner, retail management, and medical assistant, she has always maintained her joy in tending bar as well as continuing to amass her impressive game collection.
Vince has always wanted to own a bar. He started tending bar while in art school and became a bar manager after leaving school. Not long after becoming a bar manager, Vince joined the Marines and left to serve his country.
When the two of them met in the bar where Shannon was working, in the town where Vince was stationed, and then bonded over drinks and games, it was a match made in heaven. A whirlwind, 8 week romance led to their marriage and now, 11 years later, Shannon and Vince have decided to combine their dreams and create a board game tavern in their hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.
This will not be your average, every day sports bar. We plan to be an oasis, an escape. We don't plan on showing any sports games, or even having a television at all. Talk to each other! Play games! Or, if nothing else, we have WiFi...
Vince's affinity for science fiction and post apocalyptic games has influenced his style. Mana will be a steampunk styled tavern (think Jules Verne and H.P. Lovecraft with a hint of Bioshock, but on land) largely designed by Vince and run by both Vince and Shannon.
Knowing how difficult it is to run a kitchen, Vince and Shannon have decided to offer food from local restaurants on occasion and to allow guests to bring food and receive delivery. This will reduce the start up costs by half, allowing them to focus on the cocktail menu and games library.
Shannon and Vince's game collection currently numbers around 150 individual titles, all of which will be available for play in the tavern, ranging from the classics like Uno, Monopoly, and Connect Four, to new favorites like Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, and The Big Book of Madness, to party games like Cards Against Humanity, Cranium, and Partini, and even Kickstarter successes like Exploding Kittens, Bring Out Yer Dead, and Secret Hitler. A small cover charge will be collected at the door and will cover unlimited game play for the evening; monthly and lifetime memberships will be available, which will waive cover charges and grant access to higher tiered WiFi. The cover charge will be used to replace damaged games as well as to expand the game library.
We are hoping to gain enough funding to embiggen our game library, as well as to cover the cost of remodeling. There will be some very creative and unique stretch goals that I am sure will be of interest. But, we don't want to spoil those surprises.
Local artists and privately owned businesses will be employed for the creation of our signage and merchandise, and local farms and farmers markets will be our sources for as much of our produce as possible. We are very committed to supporting our community, small businesses, and helping to develop our town.
To keep our business fresh, we will be having themed nights (cosplay, trivia, co-op games, etc) as well as constantly increasing and refreshing our collection of games and updating our cocktail menu seasonally to stick with what is fresh, local, and in season.
We will be an all inclusive establishment where people of all genders, sexualities, nationalities, and religions will be welcomed. We look forward to meeting all of you for a refreshing drink and a fun game!
Please help support this veteran-owned, female-operated local business!
For our lifetime membership rewards, we are looking to use custom challenge coins. Not simply another membership card, but a nice metal coin (about 1 3/4 inches in diameter). We wanted to give all those who support us something extra special.
Shannon did an interview with Nadeau Media. You can listen to it here.
**Local breweries, wineries, and distilleries, please contact us before backing us**
*All rewards offering membership must be to persons aged 21 and up, per PA state law*
Risks and challenges
With every reward, there are risks. Opening a new bar is one of the riskiest business endeavors but one that we are ready to overcome. We both have experience in the bar and restaurant business, including management, and know what it entails. We know that it is a feast or famine business and have planned accordingly with our finances, products, pricing, and networking. Plus, the highly visible, easily accessible location we have chosen comes with a liquor license, which is the biggest hurdle for any new bar.
The popularity of board games has grown steadily over the last 10 years and sales of table top games (as opposed to video games) has increased by double digit percentages, according to Amazon and by 15-20% at hobby and game stores. Attendance at Gen Con, the US tabletop gaming convention held annually in Indianapolis, IN has increased by 20,000 attendees over the last 2 years and Kickstarter game funding brings in approximately $52.1 million in tabletop game backing, 15% more than video games. Board game popularity is on the rise and ours will be the ONLY dedicated board game drinking establishment in the greater Pittsburgh area.
We are set up for success and have every intention of pursuing it to the ends of the Earth.
- (30 days)