Meet and greet at 6:45 and the playing begins at 7 with Jax closing at 10ish.
Always a good idea to get here earlier if you need to eat. (The food is decent and reasonably priced. Happy hour till 7.)
We normally sit between the bar and bathroom (well, we do) in groups of 4 or 6. Spades starts around 7 with folks often arriving earlier and having dinner. Look for a canvas bag with a meetup logo and the words "spades".
Don't worry if you're not very familiar with how to play; we're not very competitive and will often play a 'dummy round' to encourage newcomers. We also encourage tipping $2-3, each, after the game for the very patient servers. We make a mess and try to take care of us.
There are many variations on the rules. There are regional variations, family/home styles, but we have to set a standard so we can get through the evening without too much wailing and gnashing of teeth. So...
Games are to 500 points. Teams of two bid how many tricks they will take. 10 points for each trick bid and made plus one point for each 'bag' but you lose 100 points if you take 10 bags.
Bidding 'nil' (0 tricks individually) will net you 100 points if you make it and -100 if you are 'set' (forced to take a trick). Bidding 'Blind nil' is allowed if your team is at least 200 points behind the next highest team. One player agrees to the bid and you and your partner may exchange two cards before bidding.
Table Talk: We try to discourage table talk., i.e. telling or hinting at what your partner should play or bid. It is fine to discuss strategy before you see your respective hands; examples of doing such include agreeing that it's more important to set your opponents than to make your bid or agreeing one of you will bid blindly. You may also discuss your cards after the hand completes (i.e. "I had six hearts but only two low spades... that's why I couldn't cover your nil")
Bidding 10 (as a team, often called "Ten for two" in four handed, but not six handed) is worth 200 points, but you have to state your intention to do so (if you don't declare "ten for two" it will be +100/-100 not +200/-200).
And you may not change your bid after the next player has bid.
Speaking of 6-handed, we have our own version played with two decks (minus the 2 of clubs or diamonds) that is a lot of fun. So when only 6-people RSVP, never fear, all will play! It is a very social game. We will gladly explain the rules as needed.