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D&D General Would you fequent a gamer's hangout/bar?

Kodiak3D

Explorer
A friend and I were talking about what would be the ideal adult gamer hangout. A business with private rooms for groups to use with nice gaming tables and TV's/monitors for GM's to use if they want, an area with good wargaming tables, a card gaming area, and possibly a small arcade with classic video games and /or pinball. Snack-type foods, maybe burgers/hot dogs/etc, and drinks (beer, but not liquor).

Would you and your group frequent such an establishment?
 

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jgsugden

Legend
These are often attached to game shops in larger communities. Other variants are coffee shops / cafes / restaurants with rooms they either rent out, or allow to be used for gaming. They have different rules. One I liked was a room that rented for $100 but came with a $100 food credit. It was from 6 til midnight.
 


Stormonu

Legend
I did run my last campaign at the FLGS before the pandemic, so I'm not against a public gaming place. I do prefer private rooms over a common room where things can get quite loud with card tournaments or multiple games going on at once.

Biggest point is always cost - is it worth my money to drag a crate full of gaming stuff & pay for the facility? At $5 for a 4-6 hour session as DM, sure. $3 for a player for the space I'd do as well. Price up from there, I'd start weighing if it was worth it. Cheap food and RPG materials on-hand to buy might get more out of me - one of the things I liked most about playing at the FLGS was buying more RPG stuff for the game either before or after the session!
 


A number of people have started businesses like that in the past, with varying degrees of success. In the U.S., at least, selling food comes with a set of business requirements (and licenses), and selling alcohol comes with more. Food and alcohol are what are most likely to bring in the money, since most gamers aren't going to pay much to use tables. Every bit of floor space counts in a business, and gaming tables and rooms take up a lot of floor space vs. the hourly income you can expect from them.

That isn't to say that it can't be done, but it is a much more complex business proposition than most people realize. As with comic and game shops (and other hobby businesses), there is a tendency for people to jump into things like that without knowing how to run a real business. I wouldn't even think of opening something like that without working in a similar business (like a cafe or bar) for a couple of years first.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
A friend and I were talking about what would be the ideal adult gamer hangout. A business with private rooms for groups to use with nice gaming tables and TV's/monitors for GM's to use if they want, an area with good wargaming tables, a card gaming area, and possibly a small arcade with classic video games and /or pinball. Snack-type foods, maybe burgers/hot dogs/etc, and drinks (beer, but not liquor).

Would you and your group frequent such an establishment?
In general it depends on a number of factors
1. The people/atmosphere
2. The price
3. The closeness to my home
4. How likely my friends are to come (essentially these factors for them)

You honestly would probably be financially better off renting a community gymnasium on friday/saturday nights and monetize via concession/entry fee/food truck.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Pass on the alcohol (because I have to drive home afterwards) but some inexpensive eats - pick foods that do not make a mess - would be a draw to check the place out.
I already buy a pop or something at FLGS game sessions, as my contribution to cover the store's light / heat / water bill.
 


R_J_K75

Hero
As of now I have a group and we play at my house. We can do what we want and get as loud as we want. So theres not much I need that would get me to go to a place like this.

If I was looking for a new group I would check a place like this out. I'd want a private room, nice gaming table, chairs, etc. As unpopular as it is in this day and age, a smoking section would be nice. I'd have to be able to book a room open ended on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, like a membership model. If the place offered groups to rent or sign out terrain, miniatures, books and other similar game aids that would be awesome. Id certainly be willing to pay more for higher quality. When I play there I'd want a similar feeling I get from dining at a nice restaurant or staying in a nice hotel. It has to offer me something I cant get at home and give me a reason to want to go there. Definitely sounds like a cool place to meet new people with similar interests.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
There’s an LGS/cafe near me called Enchanted Grounds. No private rooms or anything like that, but if you’re going to be frequenting an LGS for your gaming anyway, it’s nice to have food and drinks available right there rather than having to make a run to a nearby 7-11 or whatever. A version of this that was more like a pub than a cafe would be really cool, but I imagine it would have a very hard time remaining profitable. If you have the option, I think it would be better to build a home bar and do this with your friends than to try and make a business out of it.
 

I did spend a night every fortnight at a gaming bar near my work, but covid put paid to that. Not sure I'd do it for D&D though, I'm a big-time convert to online/VTT gaming now, and i basically never ever want to run a pen and paper game again. Boardgames etc it could work for though, or very low-crunch narrative RPG systems.

A guy I know did run a gaming cafe for a while, but lockdowns put him clean out of business. Some hospitality businesses etc in my part of the world managed to stay afloat during COVID by pivoting to home delivery, take away etc. A gaming bar doesn't have that option.

Edit: though i should mention, I can't imagine we were very profitable. There were three of us, we'd tie up a table for 3ish hours, and we'd order maybe one drink each in that time. The place served food too, but we were playing a really nice boardgame and who wants to get greasy fingermarks all over the pretty art? Compared to actually going out to a pub to drink with mates, when i might have gotten through three pints and an order of wedges or something in the same time, margins can't have been high.
 
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R_J_K75

Hero
A version of this that was more like a pub than a cafe would be really cool, but I imagine it would have a very hard time remaining profitable. If you have the option, I think it would be better to build a home bar and do this with your friends than to try and make a business out of it.
Edit: though i should mention, I can't imagine we were very profitable. There were three of us, we'd tie up a table for 3ish hours, and we'd order maybe one drink each in that time. The place served food too, but we were playing a really nice boardgame and who wants to get greasy fingermarks all over the pretty art? Compared to actually going out to a pub to drink with mates, when i might have gotten through three pints and an order of wedges or something in the same time, margins can't have been high.
I think a gaming bar/cafe would certainly fall under a know your customer base or cater to a very specific clientele. I dont think a build it and they will come approach would work. Trying to be everything to everyone would spell doom I suspect.
 

I ran an open table at a gaming cafe pre-pandemic. Occasionally it would be so crowded that hearing people was difficult, but most of the time it was fine...except for one incident. People could rent time to play Rock Band, and the one time we got treated to such offkey renditions of the Offspring and Bon Jovi that gaming just stopped. It wasn't that it was too loud, just too terrible.

I ran a game in a gamer's bar before the pandemic.

It would have been a really good place except for background music. Really bad idea in a bar for gaming.

To answer the original question, assuming there wasn't a pandemic going on, yes, I'd go to a gaming hangout/bar. My city had two - one outright went out of business during the pandemic, and the other remains shuttered, though they've said they do plan to reopen once it's safe to do so (that one being the aforementioned gaming cafe).

One thing I'd advise is to include cider or wine with the beer, for those of us that don't do gluten.
 

There have been several attempts at boardgaming 'bars' in my area, with varying success. Food and booze seem to be the real moneymakers, though.

The most successful business for this was a beerhall that let a gaming group in early on Saturdays. It's not like they were going to get crowds anyways, so a group of 20 people asking for a few dedicated tables is a win-win for them. But that's mostly because they invested almost nothing.

I don't know if I'd be super-keen on such a setting for rpg's, though. I'd feel like to do it right the business would need to charge a lot more than most people would be willing to pay.
 

My hometown city has 2-3 breweries that cater to D&D crowds, including (pre-COVID) sponsored game nights with a guest host, beer specials, etc. One has a very large side room dedicated to letting you setup whatever RPG or wargame you want.
 

Awfully Cheerful Engine!

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