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Meetup Locations?

Jun 27, 2017

    1. So I'm trying to plan a meetup sometime soon-ish for a local group I'm in, and we're located in Arizona. Naturally, since God hath foresaken us in the summer months, I can't hold one outside. Unless I like, want everyone to drop dead of heat stroke.

      That being said! I'm having some trouble figuring out locations inside that would be a good idea for a doll meet. Has anyone here held a meet somewhere inside during the summer? How did it go, and what would you recommend?
    2. I haven't been to a meet in a looong time, but when I was going, we used all sorts of different places. If someone's house is out of the question, or if you just prefer to be in public, then the most common one I've seen is getting a private room in a teahouse or restaurant. You can often reserve them beforehand and you usually don't have to pay for it if you get lunch or something there. You could also try places like a community center; I know at the public rec club near me you can rent rooms for pretty cheap, especially if you were splitting the cost with others.

      If you were willing to go more public, there's always places like the mall; there are usually areas with seats and whatnot, but you might get a lot of looks and it may not be as convenient as having a room (and tables and chairs) to yourself.

      Then there are more "specialty" places; I once went to a meet in this super cute little inn and that had rooms you could rent for meetings and things, and a backyard with an adorable garden for pictures. Search around for meeting venues in your area and see what you can find! Good luck!
    3. Our local group holds meets almost monthly, and we usually only meet outside once or twice a year, the rest being indoors. Usually, we meet for lunch at a restaurant that has enough space that we can reserve. Sometimes we can get a private room/section, other times we just get a few booths out of the way and leave the dolls on a table close enough to keep watch, but far enough to not get dirty.

      Other places we've met have been a library room (most will let you reserve a room for free, as long as people are welcome to step in and look or you're teaching a class--in which case you can do a pattern making class, or knitting, crochet, doll jewelry making) and people's homes. I tend to like home meets the best because you can spread everything out without worrying about strangers bothering it, no worries about if selling or trading might be unwanted solicitation, and you don't have other people wishing you'd hurry up and get out of their way. If you need to undress a doll, it's also much less awkward in a house full of doll owners than in public!
    4. Local libraries are usually pretty cool about letting groups meet up, especially if they have rooms you can reserve. Last time I did that, I think one of the librarians actually ended up joining us and left that day looking for her first doll.
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    5. Obviously you need to call ahead and check with each place, and many of them may require payment to use their spaces, but off the top of my head and based on past experience you could use...
      • Private room within a restaurant or cafe
      • Large table at a restaurant (not as expensive, but not as private)
      • Meeting space in a hotel (likely to be expensive, but private and comfortable)
      • Library meeting space (more likely to be free, but food and drink probably aren't allowed, and some libraries may require meetings to be open to the public or related to the library services)
      • College campus meeting (see library, plus lack of privacy, may need to be a student)
      • Mall (free, but in public)
      • Event- or party specific space (also expensive, but venues often provide catering and other perks)
      • Hotel room (Space is limited and they can be expensive, but they're very private and quite comfortable, especially if you get a suite)
    6. Thanks for the suggestions! We've done a library meet once, but it... did not go well. We generally end up with too many people for one, since our meets are few and far between. I looked into some, but libraries being libraries require a little more quiet than I can guarantee.

      RE: Restaurants, I think that could work, but what kinds have y'all gone to before?

      @Shultsuki, I was considering putting some money away and booking a venue -- but I'm not sure how I feel about $500 for an event. How did that turn out?
    7. I'm not sure how your library meet faltered, but most of the meeting rooms I've been to for library meets have been large enough for more people than we've ever had, and we've had about a dozen people at max. There's one meeting room at the South NJ meet that we have to use sometimes, and in that case we limit the number of dolls we bring. Noise isn't too much of a concern. For a private meeting room, as long as we're not being extremely loud, noise isn't a problem. Sometimes we have to use the young adult room at the Central NJ meet, and while we can't be hooting and hollering, it's understood that we don't have to be totally silent. If you've got free or cheap access to the meeting rooms at your local library and you haven't tried them before, give it another look.

      I don't know if you're in a city or if things work this way in cities in Arizona, but see if there's a public space/privately owned public space area. My understanding of it in New York City is that when they want to build upwards, they have to put public space on the ground floor. There are a bunch of these spaces in NYC. It's hard for me to describe since I'm a suburban dweller, but they're kind of like a mall food court without the plethora of places to get food at. You might not even know these places exist. There are some people in NYC who were surprised to find out these places exist when they came to the meet for the first time.

      I don't know where in Arizona you are, but I know there's a rather active topic on the Dollfie Dreams forums. Perhaps this might be of interest: Dollfie Dreams • View topic - Arizona meet up anyone?

      Good luck to you! :)
    8. If someone in your group lives in an apartment complex, they often have club rooms that can be reserved for free or very little.
    9. I am having a birthday meet up in a hotel meeting room. It's a good size, room for 50 at least and they allow food and beverages to be brought. It's costing me $150, but the set up, and space is so worth it, not to mention parking and on the first floor. I also got a deal on some hotel rooms for anyone coming from far away like myself as I live in Illinois, but meet up is in Madison Wisconsin. But so are most of my friends.
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    10. Depends on the venue! If you're in a big city you might luck out and find a place that'll let you rent a classroom or boardroom style conference space for just $50-$100 for the whole day - which is still a bit of cash, but way easier to wrangle, especially if you get $5-$10 from each attendee for the space and maybe snacks or something. However, if you're paying that much money anyway, I'd really recommend just getting a hotel room for the evening instead.

      Take a look at either an Embassy Suites or a Mariott Residence Inn location that's not too close to an airport or a city center. Embassy Suites typically run from $150 to $200 for a night (though I did a test search in Phoenix and Tempe and they're only about $100 a night in those cities) and always have a separate bedroom and living room, which I know from experience can fit 8 people + tons of cosplay stuff. Sometimes they'll have even bigger rooms available.

      Residence Inn rooms, on the other hand, are $100-$175 a night and are more like little studio or one-bedroom apartments. They have full kitchens and sizeable living rooms, so they're better suited for a party. However, they're extended-stay hotels meant for business and visiting relatives, so check with the hotel and make sure it's okay to have a gathering (I'd suggest calling it a meeting instead of a party) in one of the rooms.

      As for restaurants, I don't have any suggestions on places that have private rooms, since it's usually smaller, local places that have them. As for big chains, however, I've had NaNoWriMo groups successfully meet in Denny's and a large, 24 hour Starbucks before. However, the meetings didn't start until 10PM, so you might not have as much luck if you try to start one at, say, noon on a Saturday.
    11. Thanks a bunch! Unfortunately a lot of the places that I think might be nice for a meetup were out of my price range, but I didn't even consider a hotel room -- and because it's so hot around here during the summer, the prices aren't so bad! I'll definitely start looking into those, and some of them have nice downstairs areas, too. Plus, there's not as much of a time limit as the local libraries, lol.
    12. I plan various meetups in the Chicago area. I totally understand most doll collectors don't want their dolls out on hot summer days. We always have indoor meetups no matter the time of the year because it's a preference.

      I also think not to discount the hotel route. The trick is to find a hotel with meeting rooms, but little/no capacity for food service. Otherwise, they want you to make a sizeable food purchase for your event. We actually rent a Knights of Columbus hall for our 2 large meetups we have each year but for this event I have to charge fees to justify the cost of the venue. Otherwise, we meet in Mitsuwa Marketplace and coffee houses monthly, rotating locations, that costs nothing other than patronizing the establishment and following their rules. I also host 2 events at my house for a change of pace and so we can have crafty type meetings. The issue with meets at public places is the limitations on activities other than show/tell and socializing. You also need to consider how much time you want for the meet when choosing a place. The hall is 9-5. My house is the best since there is no time limit. Mitsuwa asks us not to come until after 3 pm as to not inconvenience their patrons during lunch hours and they close at 8. Libraries only usually allow 2-3 hours spots for their meeting rooms and depending upon the set up may or may not have quiet room restrictions. Hotels also have time limitations as well. There are a lot of logistics to consider to choose the right location for a meet for the group you are working with.

      Good luck. If you need more help thinking or talking through ideas, just ask.
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