Embracing nerdy nightlife

‘Black Potion’ is the perfect gaming destination

Chloe Williams, Web and Social Editor

Opened just eight months ago in San Antonio’s historic deco district, Black Potion tabletop gaming tavern provides a safe space for everyone regardless of their gaming abilities. Not only does Black Potion supply an area for gaming, but the 6,000 square-foot storefront comes equipped with several private rooms, stage space, a separate black box theater and a retail area filled with games ready to find their forever home. 

Owner Enrique Cortez’s favorite game for big groups, Ultimate Werewolf, inspired the name for Black Potion. The name also serves as a play on words, highlighting both the game and dark beers or wine. 

Black Potion is not Cortez’s first venture. Unfortunately, his first shop closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Even before we closed and all during COVID, I dedicated myself to looking for a better space,” Cortez recounted. 

Cortez knew what he wanted out of the space and just how to achieve it. “I wanted to create a cool nerd hangout — there are all kinds of sports bars and clubs and places for people to hang out if you’re looking for nightlife and entertainment. I wanted one that spoke to the nerds’ mindset.”

Black Potion does precisely that and more; regardless of your gaming abilities or experience, all will feel welcome here. With a mix of his personal collection, donations and later purchases, Black Potion houses over 200 board games available for all to play. Cortez’s passion for gaming shines through in the way he talks about games. 

“I would say that my favorite board game is the newest fun one that I play,” Cortez shared. “Board gaming has come a long way and it’s not just the way that a game plays, which they now call mechanics. The mechanics of a game have evolved, but it’s also like the complexity level has changed. So the amount of decisions that you make on your turn, that has changed.”

Gaming with friends is not complete without drinks, and Black Potion has you covered. There are anywhere from 40 to 45 different craft beer options and another dozen imported beers available at any given time. The bar area also offers malt beverages, ciders, kombucha and wine. They have you covered with snacks too; in the retail area, there is a section filled with the best snacks for gaming. 

Each week, an array of events are hosted both by and at Black Potion. From 7 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday, Black Potion hosts a trivia night. Wednesdays feature movie nights and open-play Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) for all skill levels with the third-party group, Dungeons of Drunks. Throughout the week, other local groups meet up including Nerds N’ Stuff and the LGBTQ+ group Down2Gayme, which meets biweekly. Black Potion is also in partnership with House Party Improv, which does live improv performances in the theatre area every Friday and Saturday. Saturday afternoons and Sunday nights also include double-feature movies with a theme. For example, the theme for February is twisted romance and is set to include movies such as “Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Fly.”

Events, meetups or parties can be hosted in one of the private room options, which are available to book through Facebook Messenger. These spaces provide privacy for large groups to have fun and be themselves. 

Going forward, Cortez hopes to further expand the business to a place people can call home and has plans to include coffee and food. Cortez specifies that the goal of Black Potion is not just for gaming, “It’s not just about board games because we’re more than just a game shop. We want to give people an opportunity to make this space their own. Do they love theater arts? Do they love trivia? Do they have board games? Do they just want to hang out somewhere? This is a space that fits all of that.” 

Black Potion is open from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., Tuesday through Sunday, at 1900 Fredericksburg Rd. Suite 101 near Panadería Jimenez. More information about Black Potion can be found on their Facebook or Instagram