West Oak Coffee Bar hosts inaugural monthly game night

West Oak Coffee Bar hosts inaugural monthly game night

West Oak Coffee Bar hosts inaugural monthly game night
August 09
14:00 2018

Three regulars of the Square’s West Oak Coffee Bar huddled around a roughly 5 foot tall Scrabble board, planning their next moves. While busy for a Tuesday night in summer, only some are here for the shop’s inaugural monthly game night.

“The reason that [West Oak] exists is to be an environment that fosters relationships and where a community can grow and kind of blossom,” said Josh Piers, the general manager of West Oak Coffee Bar. “I really like games, and I have a lot of games at home, from Settlers of Catan to Betrayal at House on the Hill. Games are a great way for people to get together and get really excited about something that doesn’t matter a whole lot but builds friendship. So, as we talked about ideas for how we could engage our community, and because I like to play games when we are not here, it was an easy decision for me to say we should have a game night.”

West Oak’s game night was mainly advertised through its Facebook page and is slated to be hosted on the first Tuesday of every month. Participants could bring their own games and enjoy happy hour prices on drinks. In addition to trying to fill up an otherwise slower weekday, West Oak’s goal for the event was to foster more of a sense of community where people could join in on stranger’s games and bond over a mutual love of games and gaming.

While other places in the Denton area that offer similar game nights provide their own games for attendees to play with, West Oak instead decided to ask participants to bring their own games. This move was made in order to ensure that those coming to play these games were able to gain the full enjoyment out of them. In the end, the only game that was provided by West Oak was a life-size Scrabble board propped up with two-sided tape near the entrance of the coffee shop with a pile of letters next to it.

“I think that people would [come participate] if they knew about it,” said James Evanowski, a frequent customer at West Oak. “The giant Scrabble board is a good advertisement, but it should probably say that is [every first] Tuesday. I never really see much advertised here — just one or two events in the past year.”

West Oak Coffee Shop is a popular study spot for Denton students located on the square but Tuesday it was the scene the shop’s first ever game night. Kara Dry

While the event was advertised on Facebook, some very frequent regulars to the coffee shop were caught off guard by the sudden event because they said they had not heard of the event, despite coming to the shop so often as to know most of the baristas by name.

The participants such as Evanowski, who only found out about the event after being told that they were participating in it, were still supportive of the event and only wished that they had known about it earlier. Evanowski and his two friends, who had come not knowing of the event, ended up staying for the duration and left with a new interest in this event they now know about.

“Honestly, even if it was game night, that isn’t something that would make me want to come,” said Leonardo Acosta, a recent UNT graduate and frequenter of West Oak. “But now that I am actively participating, I could see myself wanting to do this. I think people would be reluctant to use others if [people] started bringing their own games. I think it would have been more beneficial if West Oak had more games themselves, like communal games. I know those games are hard to keep track of, but stuff like the giant scrabble board really helps a lot.

Game night for West Oak was not only a new event for the local business, but it was also an event that did not fall into the more regular genre of events, such as musical showcases.

Though West Oak does try to host events its owners think are unique and that their community would enjoy, their end goal is to sell well-made and ethically sourced coffee.

While the shop sells more than coffee, it is their meticulous and thorough vetting of coffee suppliers that sets the coffee side of their business apart from the rest. Piers admits that the prices at West Oak can be higher than some other coffee places around town, but also said customers can have peace of mind that the higher prices of coffee help support businesses that pay fair wages for their harvesters. 

The game night at West Oak might not have been successful this month, but Piers is still viewing this event as a learning experience to find ways the company can better adapt it for the future.

Featured Image: At West Oak Coffee Shop’s first ever game night, Leonardo Acosta plays a game of giant Scrabble. The event was low in attendance but those who chose to participate in the Scrabble game played to win. Kara Dry

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Shane Monaco

Shane Monaco

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