One of the big problems we hit when my office shut down was finding a location to do painting, we had originally moved to my office when the pandemic hit and GW stopped all painting nights and since they have shown no sign of starting them back up we had to find another venue , homes were not really a solution given that we live in London and space is a premium, plus its nice to get out and make a real day of painting.
The obvious place in central London is the Bad moon cafe (somewhere I had never been) it is the most well known gaming place in London and has been so since before the pandemic, but you would normally go there for a couple of hours of gaming, would they tolerate people turning up and painting for a near full day?
It turns out the answer is yes, I emailed to enquire and they had no problem with me reserving a table for us in the cafe area
Even the smallest cafe table was perfect for our painting case, they provided water for the pots and pallets and even a painting mat so we did not wreck the tables (not that we would have), the light is good and we happily made good progress for the near whole day.
The facilities were excellent with the obvious one being you have paint supplies there in case you need them (and not just GW ones), their excellent miniature and book selection was a constant temptation when ever you go to the back of the cafe, so if you are looking for inspiration its a good place( though I was surprised that corvus belli did not have any models there )
Food and drink were also excellent with something for everybody’s taste, meaning you did not have to leave (always a problem when I used to paint at GWs store)
All in All it was perfect and as long as they put up with us, I intend to go their most weekends.
Now lets address the unsaid part, Bad moon is a business and as such they cant do this for free, when I asked about renting the table, they just said “food and drink” and brushed it off with a smile, but I like to provide guidelines to such things so no one takes advantage of their generosity
In this situation I feel their are 2 “rates” you should be spending at:
“Desk Rate” : this is what I feel you should be spending if they have spare tables and non one is waiting, an office space desk in London in that area would cost you between £25 – £35 for the day so you should be spending this much at least to “rent” your painting space (actually more towards the high end of this range as food and drink has a higher overhead than just desks)
“Coffee Rate” : This is the rate I feel you should be paying if you are actually in the way of normal customers, so lets estimate it, lets make a normal customer turnover guess at “a drink and a sandwich” per 30 mins during the day and “2 drinks” in the evening, in both situations, that is about £7.5, so if you are in the way you should be spending about £15 per person per hour.
Again bad moon staff did not mention any of this, this is just my interpretation of what a business would need to keep running if the cafe was full of painters.
Other things I would note from the trips
1) People are curious, you will get people asking what you are painting, so bring at least one complete mini that you are proud of to show them rather than the half done one you are working on.
2) Don’t block off visibility, first time I set up my case with its back facing the room so no one could see the painting, and frankly it looks boring.
3) Painting after cocktail hour is not a fab plan….