So good bye Alchemy on the Wardwick here in Derby. We still have one board game cafe, Games Knight left up at The Spot.
I was reflecting on Alchemy yesterday when I went into Treehouse, a new board game cafe in Sheffield. It was a lovely space, light and airy, down a back street on the edge of the city centre. There was an impressive range of games well displayed. There was also an impressive number of people inside playing at midday. It came across as very professionally done but still it seems to be run by gamers for their community. The model was different Alchemy, tho perhaps more in keeping with other cafes. After 7pm at night and at the weekends you could not just have a drink. You have to pay the £5/ head cover charge but you do get use of the library and a table for 4 hours. At the other times it does operate as a normal cafe. We had a ask for a pass on paying to be able to have a hot drink as we didn’t have time to play and it was Sunday morning.
Only time will tell why Alchemy didn’t work. Derby has a lot of gamers. The size of the building was ambitious, the food was very good, the range of beers less so. The marketing, promotion and decor seemed more a labour of love by enthusiasts than a hard headed commercial venture. The fact that you could play your own games for free down stairs was great for us with lots of games to take down. I wonder if it wasn’t so good for their revenue stream.
It would interesting to hear reflections on other cafes and also on Alchemy.