By day the Station Cafe is exactly what you'd expect, a train station cafe. They have sandwiches and coffee and pop and all the other things you might want on your daily rail commute. That particular Friday evening, however, it had a musical event and us networking too. Well, we tried networking. I saw some of my network and attempted to add to it, but it was difficult.
The music was good. I can't really comment because it was acoustic and not really my thing at all. But the kids had real talent and lots of people were really into the tunes. It didn't make for good networking because it felt rude to talk while they were singing, and for a good portion of the time we wouldn't have been able to hear each other well enough anyway.
We ended up sitting at a table, which made networking nearly impossible. But this was a highly unusual event already, so just went with it. I mean, by this point I think it was more just hanging out with friends than networking.
The cafe would be a good networking venue, but I do have some suggestions. Mostly the acoustics need attention. I'm not sure what they can do, considering this is a small family owned business, and I'm guessing they don't have a lot of discretionary income to make capital improvements. But something soft would help. I'm not sure if a rug is okay to have in such a public place. It might not meet code, or might need to be nailed down, which would probably not be fun to clean. They have art on the walls. Maybe more of that would help. Perhaps hang more soft art, like tapestries or t-shirts for sale or something. The ceiling is very high, and if they can find a way to hang something soft up there that would undoubtedly help.
Besides the acoustics, the layout is good. The cafe is divided up into the business end and the sitting end. I could see networking events taking place more in the seating area, where there aren't any fridges or counters, etc. As it was, that's where the band was situated... So I guess that proves it works spatially. Since this place doesn't serve alcohol, or at least it didn't when I was there, there wasn't any kind of mad crush at the bar. They served coffee, but on a Friday night I'm not sure how popular it was.
I have to say though, that the owners there are incredibly nice and respectful. They let me in an hour early, for crying out loud. I will attend more events there in the future once this new networking group gets rolling.