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Subject: coffeehouses that are boardgame friendly rss

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ChToHe
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I noticed that in many countries, boardgame coffeehouses are becoming really popular.

Are there such boardgame-friendly places in the States, especially in the jersey/NYC area?

Starbucks isn't exactly a friendly place for that.

I wonder whether openning such a cafe is feasible. Assuming you buy games so that you can rent to the people that come in....price will have to be somewhat low, but I think that might be feasible, no?

Comments?
 
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Scott Alden
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There's a really nice Starbucks down in the West Village area of Dallas that "seems" conducive for boardgaming. They have tons of chairs and tables that are perfect, and it's really roomy and open. Perhaps I should give it a try...
 
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Michael Pennisi
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We have a chain called Caribou Coffee and one is close o our house. They have tables with built-in chessboards and a stack of house games (checkers, mancala, chess, etc..). The wife and I started going over there mostly to play two-player games and they didn't mind us playing for several hours. We soon realized that only one table there was really suited for a normal sized board and often that table was occupied.

We also have a Starbucks at a place called Streets of Woodfield that is HUGE, they have a side room with a gigantic table that is perfect for games. You could actually play two. I've played games there a couple of times and have never been sent away from there either. Even had an older couple come by and ask us what we were playing. I said "Settlers of Catan" (it really was, although it would have been funny to say something else I guess) and they lit up "OHHH this is Settlers?! We've heard about this". That was nice.
 
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Alan
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The Memphis Strategy Board Gaming group holds "Game Day West" at Cafe Francisco in downtown Memphis which is a coffehouse (but also serves lunch). They don't have any board games but their tables are large enough and there is a lot of room. They have no problems with us playing there.
 
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Xander Fulton
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It certainly can't hurt to ASK at a local hobby shop. Be sure to point out you will NOT be playing Magic, any CCG or RPG, or basically anything that would attract noisy, unruly kids. And that you won't be taking up tables around lunch or dinner hour.

Adults gathering and quietly playing boardgames together for a few hours at a shop that sells food and drink would take some kind of a fool of a shop owner to turn down. Unless it's a really hopping place, where every table is always full all day long and people are regularly rotating in and out of tables every 15 minutes.....but such places are few and far between.
 
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Matthew M
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That scenario happened at a local Pittsburgh coffee shop, Xander. There's a cafe frequented by grad students in the Squirrel Hill section of town called 61C (named after a bus-line that passes by it) where a weekly Go club met regularly. Despite the fact that they all bought drinks every time they were eventually asked to leave by management. The place is always busy, and space is at a premium, so I could see how they would view the (sometimes large) Go boards taking up 20% of their tables as more hassle than it was worth.

-MMM
 
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Xander Fulton
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That's a little surprising - business must have been good otherwise.

I mean, you KNOW anyone who played at those matches, if asked to take their games elsewhere, aren't going to eat there anymore regardless.

Business must have REALLY been good, otherwise. (Or, alternatively, the coffee shop own found some of the participants objectionable in some way, I suppose)
 
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Matthew M
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I can say that the business probably didn't suffer for it. It's quite a hopping spot. I can sympathize with both sides in that situation - the Go club has since moved to one of the universities, last I'd heard.

-MMM
 
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Alan
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Makes complete sense. I would have to side with the establishment on this one. Buying a couple of drinks for a couple of bucks is one thing when business is slow and space isn't at a premium. But, sitting down for a couple of hours and buying about 5 to 6 bucks worth of drinks when there are people waiting to sit down/or it's a hopping place is not good business for the establishment. Remember, businesses are in business to make money (well, most anyway) not lose it. The Go players should have been considerate of that fact to begin with. Here in Memphis we play at a place called the San Francisco Bread Company on the first Saturday of every month. We start at 2 pm, a time we know is a little slow for them and there is a lot of space available. We asked permission as well. We were being considerate and thought that starting at 11 am on a Saturday during lunchtime would not be the wisest move.

2112
 
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Tom Thingamagummy
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NYC is a tough space for that, NJ is a lot better. There's a college bar in Berkeley, CA called the Albatross that appeals to the college crowd. They have a large space and have games to play while you drink. It's fun.

Is it feasible? You know, this may sound cynical, but I'm actually being sincere. Since NYC has that "adult" rule... you could probably run a coffee bar in the 60% of the non-adult space, and use the other 40% for "adult" entertainment. (In this case, I would probably put bondage gear and other "adult game" activities. I think that's about as likely as it will get. shake
 
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Michael Webb
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I think the thing with coffee houses is that their acceptance of your board game is going to depend on a few things:

1) Clientele
2) Location
3) Your consumption habits
4) Ownership

In major cities most people tend to think of coffee shops as being part of, say, the Starbucks chain, or hooked onto a big box book store. Those kinds of places are generally less happy about geeks setting up shop and taking up one of their tables for 8 hours at a time.

Similarly, even independently owned shops in major cities which are hopping usually are going to be less happy about people sitting down for an extended period of time.

Once you get outside the massive metros and get down to the next smaller cities, then you start to have no problems what-so-ever though. I could easily go to any of my regular haunts in Kalamazoo or Ann Arbor with a board game in tow and no one would, or has, said anything about it.

The reason is that these shops are independently owned, in a smaller locale, and aren't liable to get upset if you take up some of their space for a long time because the ratio of people to seats is usually in the safe zone.
 
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Penny
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The Bucks County at Univ. of Penn is a good place to play games because it's really big and has a lot of tables and chairs. It is usually not crowded so they don;t care if you sit there for 4 hours playing games. Also I like to sit in a little corner with sofa around the wall thingy. It's kinda cozy. Another place I played games is a cafe on 20th and Samson. it is a little TOO cozy and really don't have enough space to play games. Not to mention it tend to be crowded. Starbucks at Penn is a bad place as with the ones in center city philly. Tables are too small and too many people. So I think one important thing about playing games in coffee shop is that it has to be relatively big in space, have plenty of nice good sized tables, and not too crowded.
 
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Chris Shaffer
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A lot depends on the local venue. Even here in Iowa City, definitely not a major metropolitan area, trying to claim a table for more than 30 minutes at the coffee shops near the university is pointless. On the other hand, over spring break, winter break and summer break, when the university isn't in session, it's not a problem at all.
 
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Pierce Ostrander
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The East Side Coffee Shop in Easton, Maryland. They actually have a "game night"!

Just one state down from NJ... but a world apart. It is on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake bay about 10 miles from Oxford, Maryland up the Tread Avon River. I have only been there by water. We sailed to Oxford last fall and the road our bikes to Easton to "check it out". It is a neat little village with quaint downtown that is quite nice. The East Side Coffee Shop is a sprawling place that has several rooms, a wine bar, several racks off books and lots of tables, couches and chairs.

We plan to sail there again this season and this time go the last 10 miles up river to anchor in Easton. We always have games on the boat, so maybe we will show up there for a game night...



 
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Eddie Bonet
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I sometimes play at the coffe shop in a Borders Books when I'm meeting new people etc. They usually don't say anything as long as there are tables available. Since we stay late, till close, I'll help the person behind the counter put up the chairs on the tables we use. This usually keeps them happy and so far we get along.

It's close to a University and I've seen signs that read something like, please don't use this area for long study sessions, cap it at 1 hour. But when they have tables they don't enforce it.
 
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Steve Zamborsky
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I'm part of a regular game group in the NE Ohio area that boardgames every Thursday night from 7:30 to 11:00 at a coffeehouse called Seekers. They've been extremely receptive to us coming there on a regular basis (we take up two normal size tables, pushed together; they've taken upon themselves (no prompting from us) to make up a sign and reserve our usual tables for us! Now that's service...).

In fact, we were given the option to head down the strip to instead play games at our local favorite game store every Thursday until midnight; it was unanimously decided to stay at Seekers instead. Maybe it's the food & coffee & service; I think it's the last of the three that has had the most impact on everyone.
 
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ChToHe
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now that's what I call catering to gamers Sweet!
 
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Jim Robertson
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We recently started a boardgame night at a coffeehouse in the Pittsburgh area (Mt. Lebanon to be exact). The two times we've had it so far, the shop didn't have any problem at all with us being there. Probably because the place is completely dead on Tuesdays apparently. There were a lot of people coming in to get coffee, but not many stuck around.

Hopefully this will continue, cause they have one really nice big table that we've been able to snatch each time we've been there so far. After we have established ourselves a bit more, I may ask them to start reserving it for us. Heck, it's only once a month, and we're bringing in business that normally never would have gone near the place.
 
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