Want some gaming with your coffee?

Shannon Stroud,
Metro Editor

Settled in between an acupuncture office and a nail salon, on B Street between Main Street and Foothill Boulevard, Downtown Hayward’s Kin Cafe will transform from a coffee shop into a computer game room.

Originally, Kin was a retail store for variety gifts and wedding accessories, but over the last year it has transitioned into a coffee shop and teahouse. On Monday, Kin Cafe began to transform once again by adding a computer lounge and game room to the 8,000 square foot business.

“We are interested in establishing an entertainment venue that would add to the community value of the Hayward downtown area,” said Cynthia Nie, a Kin employee.

The computer lounge will include board, video and computer games. The lounge will have 16 computers that have high speed Internet, productivity software, and online games like World of Warcraft.

Cynthia explains that the computer lounge is geared towards gamers who like to play in a community setting or don’t have computers.

Prices for the computer lounge have not been set in stone yet but Cynthia explains that customers will have to pay hourly for computer use.

Kin’s renovations will also include an additional room in the back of the establishment where they will host Real Escape games. Real Escape games are a type of live interactive entertainment, where people are stuck inside a room and have to work in teams to solve puzzles and mysteries in order to escape the room.

The Real Escape game room will be facilitated by a Kin employee and will last an hour, which allows multiple groups of people to participate daily. Prices and reservations for the Real Escape game room will be available upon Kin’s reopening in approximately four to six weeks.

Kin business owner, C.Y. Nie, explains that the closest Real Escape game room to Hayward is in San Francisco or San Jose and that he looks forward to bringing this type of gaming experience to the East Bay area and community.

The computer lounge has been an idea that C.Y. and his daughter Cynthia have worked on for four years, with the Real Escape room being a late addition to their plans.

“[The Real Escape room] has been the major reason for some of the delays associated with the game lounge, as we had to reconfigure our plans to fit in this new aspect. But in the end, it means that Kin will be host to four different services: the cafe in front, the rentable event hall, the computer lounge, and the escape game room,” said Cynthia on Sunday.

C.Y. explained that after they resolved the design issues, they struggled with obtaining different business permits from the City of Hayward.

“We recently had to add an additional fire exit to the facility to keep up with the fire codes. And we have an entire second floor that we can’t use because of permit issues. So we just use upstairs for storage right now,” said C.Y.

After all the delays that C.Y. and Cynthia have faced, the renovations are expected to be complete and will re-open by mid-March.