I don’t think this is as insane as it might initially appear:
Melbourne couple Jasmine Costello and Richard Putnam hope to fill this gap in the market after winning a $10,000 business grant to start a chess bar they are calling “Chess-Nuts”.
“We envisage an inviting lounge where chess lovers, or anyone, really, come to play chess with a mate or a stranger and enjoy a coffee or beer,” Ms Costello said.
Chess actually works really well as a game played over a meal or a drink with a mate. I’ve got a little portable set in the car that regularly gets pulled out during lunch at a local cafe, and in fact ended up being the deciding factor against a bakery where we used to meet up. Despite getting regular business from us, one day one of their staff decided to go on a little power trip and told us we couldn’t play. We never went back. The cafe we now visit instead is more than pleased to see the board come out. We eat, we drink, time permitting we go back for another match, we eat and drink some more.
This is also the year in which videogamers have opened a successful venue in Brisbane, The Mana Bar, which matches cocktails with consoles and is by all accounts doing rather good business. In fact, it’s looking to expand to Melbourne and Sydney very soon. So I wouldn’t be too quick to pooh-pooh the idea of catering for a less traditional bar clientele.
As long as Chess Nuts is physically a pleasant place to be, and the food and drinks are good quality and reasonably priced, I reckon they should do very well. I think the theme will be more of a plus than you might at first suspect.