So who’s behind The Loft anyway? Introducing….

Co-owners Mike Hopkins & Alessandro Argentina
So now you know the who, here’s a little bit of background about them & how they connected…
Alessandro grew up playing classical board games like Checkers, Chess, Monopoly, Scrabble and Risk. Thanks to a cousin, he got bitten by the Settlers of Catan bug and the rest they say, is history. He loved this new style of board game that involved planning, trading, and especially, a little bit of manipulation! Always looking for an opportunity to play Settlers, he soon passed his passion for the game on to many of his friends and it quickly became their popular choice of activity while hanging out. When visiting his girlfriend in Toronto, he made a journey to Board Game Mecca – Toronto’s "Snakes and Lattes". He was blown away by how much fun everyone was having and knew he wanted to bring the concept to Ottawa.
Mike started playing board games regularly almost 4 years ago while he was working in the hospitality industry and pursuing a Master's degree in Human Kinetics. Newer games like Power Grid, Settlers of Catan, and A Game of Thrones got him hooked and there was no looking back. Realizing academic life wasn't suited to him, and after his own visit to Snakes & Lattes, he sought a way to turn his new-found hobby into a full time career and began collecting games in earnest. His 3 year quest for board games took him far & wide and included a five and a half hour marathon through The Great Glebe Garage Sale one year, where he wore out a pair of running shoes but gleefully carried 35 board games home on his back. So, here he was with over 700 games occupying every corner of his apartment, but how was he going to translate this into an actual business without some help? 
A Marriage born on Reddit
One evening while reading through the Ottawa subreddit (, Alessandro came across a seemingly random user posting that he has been looking into opening a board game lounge in Ottawa. A hah! His interest was piqued. He messaged the user to explore the possibility of a partnership. Eh voila! The fellowship was born.
Fortunately, Mike & Al with complementing skills and a similar wry sense of humour hit it off immediately. Soon began the quest for the Holy Grail, finding a location to setup the business. They looked east, they looked west, but as the saying goes, the most important thing is Location, Location, Location. So, they journeyed to the great Byward Market and after a few hits & misses, found a home for their new board game lounge. It was quite a journey getting to the point of actually signing a lease & they learned a lot more than they wanted to along the way about zoning, fire demising walls, building permits, fire & health inspections, and so on and so on….
But perseverance has paid off and they are now pleased to announce their location (trumpets blare, drums rolls…) at...

Well that's for the next post :) stay tuned and thanks for reading!


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