Location: Namba, Osaka

Good for: Getting to know your potential partner

Quick points:

  • Mostly indoor
  • Adjustable timing and length
  • Any season
  • Lunch/dinner/drinks
  • English/Japanese speaking staff

If you are new to the term, “Nat 20”, never fear! Nerd culture is welcoming to everyone along the subculture spectrum. This Osaka-based dating destination is set in the sprawling arcades of Namba, where protagonists can experience an adventure full of wholesome bonding, quirky characters and optional side-quests that will provide endless conversational fodder and, hopefully, future reruns.

Story Mode: The Hearth Board Game Bar and Café

The Hearth Board Game Bar and Café
14-25 Namba sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka City
​Hannan Building 4F

Open: 12:00 – 24:00

Closed: Wednesdays

Namba Osaka Bar Cafe The Hearth’s Menu Was Developed By Owner And Chef Of 20 Plus Years Jake

The Hearth’s menu was developed by owner and chef of 20+ years, Jake and based on Australian pub favourites like lasagna and fish n chips.

The Hearth Namba Osaka Friendly Bar Staff Will Explain All The House Rules And A Few Of The Games Ones

On entering, the friendly bar-staff will explain all the house rules and a few of the games’ ones as well, if necessary

Scaling a few flights of narrow stairs, the door to The Hearth opens on a warm, pleasantly cluttered room. At the far end waits a bookshelf crammed with a bewildering array of boardgames. A cheery irasshaimase, hajimete? or Welcome, first time? greets visitors. Newbies get the script: all you can play for 500 yen per person, and a rundown of the sticker categorisation system: Blue are recommended for 2 players; Green are easy to pick up; Yellow are a little harder; and Reds are games that can take a few hours to get going. Many games are bilingual, or contain a set of Japanese and/or English rules inside, as the bar attracts an even mix of locals to international visitors. Again, a handy flag sticker helps in identifying this.

At noon, just after opening, the bar is quiet, chill, good for a quiet start to a date, and the chance to peruse the vast library of games at leisure. The menu board also takes some time to ponder. Snackish options include brownies with ice cream, toasties, or garlic bread which is perfect for sharing, with heartier fare like lasagna, fish’n’chips and burgers for hungrier bellies.

The Hearth Board Game Bar And Cafe Brownies Come With Ice Cream Coffees With Biscuits

Brownies come with ice cream, coffees with biscuits

Depending on focus requirements, beverages range from lattes to boozy milkshakes. There is also the Nat 20, a drink that deals a critical hit to the liver, and a shout out to the DnD enthusiast. At only 1200 yen, this interesting, and occasionally rough blend of spirits, comes with a risk of severe inebriation, and might be better saved for later dates.

While crafting a custom-made milkshake, Kat, the cheerful Irish bartender, considers the question of why The Hearth would be the spot to bring a date.

Hearth Osaka Bartender Kat S Nat 20 Is Whiskey Malibu Banana Liquor Cider And Soda For Taste

Bartender Kat’s Nat 20 is whiskey, Malibu, banana liquor, cider and soda for taste.

“There’s always something to talk about. The games, the teddies, favourite TV shows. You can learn so much about someone in a short time…”

She overhears a return customer explaining how the maps of fantasy worlds, from Bikini Bottom to Princess Bride, that adorn the walls of the toilet, correspond to music that plays once the door shuts. Kat nods approvingly.

“Yeah, the Middle Earth tune is a bit intense. But then you can come out and talk about the weird music in the bathroom. Endless chances for conversation!”

Apart from board games, The Hearth holds movie nights on the roof every two weeks. A perennial favourite is cult classic, The Room, while a recent event saw a guest chef making chicken pies to accompany stop-animation classic, Chicken Run.

Osaka Namba The Hearth Runs Regular Movie Nights And Events

The Hearth runs regular movie nights and events. Check their Facebook, Instagram or website for the latest.

Osaka Hearth Bar Cafe Date The Rooftop Terrace Is The Spot For Sunsets Bbqs And Movie Screenings

The rooftop terrace is the spot for sunsets, BBQs and movie screenings.

Recommended Games For Dates:

Forbidden Island:

A cooperative game where players work together to collect treasures and escape a rapidly sinking island. Good to see how well each other problem-solves and listens to each other while working under pressure.


A strategic game where players take on the role of a caretaker of a Japanese garden, growing bamboo to feed a hungry panda. Cute with beautiful art and also satisfying in a tactile sense as pieces of bamboo click together.

Fog of Love:

Just on the name alone, this is an obvious choice (as well as the unanimous suggestion from The Hearth’s Line group). Create and guide characters through a relationship, navigating challenges and opportunities while trying to fulfil secret objectives.

Games to avoid:


Hearth Returnee Customer Amber Recommends Wavelength A Guessing Game Where Players Answer Questions On Spectrums

Returnee customer, Amber, recommends Wavelength – a guessing game where players answer questions on spectrums. A great way to get a real sense of where your date stands on issues, from the inane (cute animal vs not cute animal) to the deep (sustainable vs non-sustainable).

Suggested Side-quest: Sennichimae Doguyasuji shopping street and Den Den Town

Every Appliance You Could Ever Need And A Great Way To Consider What A Future Shared Kitchen Could Contain

Every appliance you could ever need, and a great way to consider what a future shared kitchen could contain.

The streets around The Hearth are full of nerd-adjacent cultural experiences that can be ramped up or down depending on energy levels; from buying and swapping gacha at Don Quijote, to challenging a claw game, or trying a maid or cat café in Den Den town. More general audience enjoyment can be had while wandering through shops full of kitchenware, gently testing how one’s date might see the world’s mundanities and whether they are the type who needs that cat themed chopsticks set.
For Those Who Stray Past Nerd And Into The Realm Of Otaku Venture Into Den Den Town Osaka

For those who stray past nerd and into the realm of otaku, venture into Den Den town. Bond over a shared love of Warhammer 40K figurines or share a cappuccino with 3D Pokemon art in a maid cafe.

For any type of date, a lot rests on the fun memories made and the steady flow of conversation. While not everyone is a board game lover, debates the merits of Star Trek captains, or otherwise identifies at all in the nerdy category, The Hearth Board Game Bar and Café provides a variety of quirky prompts for newbies getting to know each other. And who knows, you might just roll a critical hit in love. If all else fails, winning at the claw game outside is always a solid backup plan for winning your date’s heart.

Cliche But Solid When Wooing Win At The Claw Game Win At Love

Cliché but solid when wooing, win at the claw game, win at love.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This