(Nicholas Bannor and Matt Irby pictured in front of Play Lounge & Café)

Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs is about to get a new social venue at 2825 E Tahquitz, walking distance to PSP airport. Local owners and Palm Springs residents, Nicholas Bannor and Matt Irby, are very excited to open Play Lounge & Café. The concept for the new venture is centered around interactive games such as pool, darts, a Scrabble wall, giant Jenga, cornhole, and a ladder toss coupled with a variety of food and drink offerings.

In addition, Palm Spring’s newest venue “will have a “Wall of Play” that will allow friends (customers) to take Polaroid pics of their experience and post it on a wall for all to enjoy.”

Play Lounge & Café will be open from 6:30am-10pm offering sandwiches and bakery items in the morning, sandwiches and salads for lunch, and pizza and “jar”ceuterie (*the owners are excited to showcase this item*) in the evening. They will serve coffee, protein shakes, champagne, beer, wine, and wine slushies. The owners say they will have a “very unique selection of beers and wines unlike any others in the valley,” and are working on their liquor license as well.

The story of how Play Lounge & Café began starts with Matt Irby:

“When I moved to PS from Seattle almost 3 years ago, it was the height of Covid. I did not know anyone, but a couple months in, I made friends with some locals and they invited to their game night every Tuesday. That game night grew and people came in and out, but a core group of us always made it a priority to keep Tuesdays free to play board games, hang out, and just chat about life. It was my rock through the pandemic and made me fall in love with our city even more.

I have always been interested in business and wanted to open up a bar or restaurant since I can remember, but my background was in retail and I did not have the confidence or unique concept to make it happen. What I did notice is that people were expecting something different and something experiential and interactive. Then it came to me one day when I was sitting at my desk in a boring corporate meeting.. I said “I am so tired of this, I just want to Play”.. there it was; Play was born that first week in early 2023.  I stayed up all night jotting down notes and creating a rough business plan. The vision was simple.. I wanted people to feel just like I felt every Tuesday night for the past 3 years; I wanted to create a safe space that anyone could hang out at and make new friends and build stronger relationships with those around them. Everything we have created at Play has that at the forefront.    

Nick Bannor adds,

“I have been doing game nights since I was a kid with family and then with friends as an adult, so i loved his concept for play and definitely wanted in. Plus, for years, working in restaurants i have seen people on their phones 75% of the time they’re out with people or on dates even. Im guilty of it too. I would love for this to be a place where people want to put their phones down and get back into human interaction and making new friends.”

While the location may be off the beaten path for some, it will be a welcome addition to those living near or wanting to explore a new area of Palm Springs.

Matt said of choosing the location,

“It was easier than some may think. I looked online for locations that could house the concept and 2825 E Tahquitz was my first stop. I fell in love with the huge outdoor space and the unique interior. I instantly thought to myself, ‘this is it’. The icing on the cake is that the owner of the building is a very kind-hearted soul who owns many properties throughout the city and was willing to pay for much of the rebuild and deal with the city permitting; it was as if it was meant to be. As we have gotten to know the neighbors, we realized that this space was even more meaningful than initially thought; there is nothing else in the area for people to walk to easily and the concept has been so well received.”

The buildout for the space has been a bit cumbersome for the pair. Although they cited unspecified city delays, they said their landlord has been very accommodating and the construction team has gotten in there and are really working fast for them.

(Construction as of July 14, 2023)

(Matt Irby smiling at progress through the interior construction of Play Lounge & Café the week of July 20th)

The indoor space is around 1200sqft and seats around 30 people. The outdoor space is much bigger and seats 60 comfortably.

The pair look forward to hosting many fun events such as Trivia Nights, Murder Mystery Parties, Drag Queen Paint Night, among others. The expected opening for Play Lounge & Café is late August with a grand opening in September or October depending on the heat.

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