Oxford On Board Message Board › Venue for Oxford on Board

Venue for Oxford on Board

Terry O.
user 12113117
Oxford, GB
Post #: 25
The club has been blessed with lots of lovely new people! Do people think we need more table space? Or are you happy with it as it is? I imagine it's a tricky problem changing the venue. There are a number of Pro's and Con's to where we are at the moment.
Sonia
user 9378740
Oxford, GB
Post #: 58
Doesn't the Pub (King's Arms) have a room at the front that you can book?
Jacco
JoaG
Crewe, GB
Post #: 139
The Kings Arms does have a function room, but to be likely to get that I want to have an average attendance of 20+ people per evening. And although we've been growing a lot lately, we haven't quite reached that point. The thing is, I want to be able to go the management and say 'These are the numbers' (which is another reason why I'm so keen on keeping track how many people attend every evening). And the numbers have to be big enough for them to make it attractive (or even just worthwhile) to let us have the room for the evening. Also, every second Monday of the month the room is booked.

I have been talking to people about this and having had a look around, it's simply a very tricky situation. Not only is it a case of having the space, it's a case of the management being happy to have you there. We're currently very lucky with the Kings Arms reserving the tables for us (something that happened without any prompting from my end), so clearly they like us there. And for good reason: we're always there, bringing in steady custom in the quiet hours, we don't cause trouble, so we're a good bunch to have.

Besides that, I want to be as central as possible to make it as easy as possible for everybody to attend. I could possible get the room in the Cape of Good Hope, which would be great for me (closer to home), but more difficult to get to for other people. I did sent out an enquiry to the Jam Factory (close to the trainstation), but I never got a reply from that. The Mitre has a room, but that has to be paid for and I don't want to raise attendance prices. I had a look at Far from the Madding Crowd, but that's not a viable option either (no real separate space, not enough room in general). Same goes for the Red Lion. Copa might be an option, I haven't enquired there yet. I've been thinking about the Wheatsheaf, but it gets a lot of bad reviews.

On top of all that, there's the issue of time (and not having much of it available). So if people happen to be in a pub that has a function room and seems like a viable option, by all means drop me a line (or put a suggestion in this thread) so I can try and plan for checking it out.
Mark T.
user 13068979
Oxford, GB
Post #: 9
Regarding the price of attendance, I'd be ready to pay more if it made it possible to play in a space better suited to the current needs of the group (though I don't know how much more we'd be talking). I don't presume to speak for anyone else. But if paying for room hire were to prove the only realistic way of finding a larger space for a more popular group, I'd rather pay the extra than continue somewhere which was no longer comfortable.

I entirely understand that you want to be sure that attendances have consistently increased before thinking more seriously about moving (or about booking the function room at the King's Arms).

However, I do wonder to what extent the amount of space available to us affects the average attendance. I mean, insomuch as we don't really have space for twenty (i.e. when we get that many, people need to find tables elsewhere in the pub), does this not make it less likely for us to average above that number?

Though it's not necessarily the main factor for me, I do look at how many people have already signed up for a particular week before deciding whether to come or not. It does get awkward when a couple of games have to be played on any one of the tables we have.

Similarly, I wonder what proportion of those people who come just once or twice are put off coming again (in part, at least) by the space issue.

This all said, I do want to make it clear that I like the King's Arms, and I like that we're welcomed, rather than simply tolerated there.




Sonia
user 9378740
Oxford, GB
Post #: 59
Re The Kings Arms - could you not ask them to book the room for 7pm. If say by 7:30 or 8pm we don't fill all the tables you take the reserverd sign off the door, leave the door open and let other punters sit down? That way you should be able to get enough tables for who's there, but don't take up space you're not using.


Terry O.
user 12113117
Oxford, GB
Post #: 26
It's hard to see that there's any room for the club to grow further at the moment. Recently I've played card games due to the shortage of space and it's been a struggle getting a game started. Also I imagine this would be off-putting to newcomers. It's another thread but perhaps we need to think about how we welcome people - straight into a game of Steam or Agricola?!!shock

I would be willing to pay more for a venue. I feel obligated to spend at least £5 at the bar (on average) for spending 2-3 hours in the pub and if we rent a venue we may not be obligated to buy drinks. Even then I'd pay £4 and get a drink or two. Contributing to renting a room may be more fair rather than relying on people to spend money at the bar to make us welcome. On the other hand it's good there's a flexibility to what people can spend.

A big thank you to Jack for his efforts looking around for us - it is surely very time consuming. I am going to see if I can come up with some suggestions - yeah, and let's see what ideas everyone has!

Jack, isn't that club in London you started massive now?! Like, in the hundreds with organised greeters and a podcast and everything!!! Maybe you've done it againsmile
Jacco
JoaG
Crewe, GB
Post #: 140
There are some good points and suggestions made in this thread; thank you for that! I think I will inquire about booking the function room on a semi-definite basis as Sonia suggested, so we are assured of the table space we want but we still leave room for other people to use whatever space is available in the Wadham room. I'd even be willing to go so far that as soon as our attendance drops below 20 (some people leave earlier than others) I take the reservation sign off the door and we let whoever wants to come in use the available space. This is currently happening with our reserved tables anyway.

Regarding booked and paid for rooms: I'll put up a poll and mail around to see how many people would be willing to pay extra for a paid room. If we can work it out financially, I'll have another option available and would be able to extend my inquiries into function rooms.

As to London on Board: it has grown beyond my wildest imaginations. There are 1237 members signed up, they have Meetups on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with 20 - 50 people attending every night, plus a meetup every weekend! And now Oxford on Board is growing even further. I used to say 'I created a monster', but I may have to change that to 'Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'. biggrin
Matthew B.
user 11883211
Oxford, GB
Post #: 1
Just to add my bit... The Kings Arms has been very supportive. It is also great to have a club where the cost is pretty nominal. We are always pretty crowded now and that must be putting people as well as meaning that games that need a bit of layout area are really hard to play. I'd be happy to pay a bit more for a room. If the Kings Arms would let us have that room even if not every Monday that would be really helpful and obviously we could remove the reserved sign after 7:30.
Rufus
rufusfrog
Oxford, GB
Post #: 2
Does anyone know anything about the Turl Street Kitchen? It has 'very reasonable' (so it says) rooms upstairs. Obviously this would depend on how reasonable, whether food and drink can be consumed upstairs, suitability of the space/furniture and whether they could accomodate us on Mondays.

Personally, I find the atmosphere in the KA congenial, but wish it were less noisy and crowded, would be prepared to pay a bit extra for a suitable venue, but don't want to discourage people (either with cost or overcrowding).
Mark T.
user 13068979
Oxford, GB
Post #: 10
I tried to post this in the venue review comment box, only to find out that venue reviews are no longer publicly viewable. A lot of short paragraphs, because there was a character limit for the comment box.

A number of thoughts:

Considering the reason for the experiment, it was unfortunate to have a lowish turn-out. But the space we ended up with was large. Also, background noise levels were lower than the King's Arms - it was good not to struggle to be heard.

I'm not sure about the section we intended to use, though. The central table is certainly imposing, but maybe too big for a lot of games (perhaps I'm remembering it as bigger than it was, though). Also, I don't think that area provides enough room to grow (it's no good moving somewhere only slightly bigger than before - potentially making another move necessary soon).

The light was a little dim at our table, but maybe this wouldn't have been the case had we been able to sit in the intended section.

A cushioned chair instead of a wooden bench was a luxury.

The Mitre doesn't have the immediately welcoming feel of the King's Arms (and has a much more uninspiring selection of drinks). I could get used to it, though.

If this is the best place to let the club grow, it's by no means bad (though there would be a few things I'd miss about the King's Arms).
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