Covid-19 brought challenges and opportunities. It’s given us a chance to make much-needed changes to the tea room, and to think about the future.

When we first opened, we intended to be a tea room that also offered some gaming opportunities. It didn’t take long until we saw just how important having a space for people to meet and to game was.

Now this doesn’t mean that in the future, we won’t welcome and value people who want afternoon tea! But right now, we can’t find a way to open safely as a sit-in café where groups of people can meet.

Our plan for reopening looks like this:

#1 A shop, a library and a takeaway

Until we’re able to open as a place to game and eat, we’ll be open as a shop (we’re increasing our range of games to help with this), a takeaway (for all you favourite Fairtrade hot drinks, cakes, and ales), and introducing a GAMES LIBRARY! We will open as a place to play very shortly afterwards, with some new procedures and the need to book online.

#2 Subscription for members

Some people have asked for this for a long time! We’ll be offering monthly subscription service at different levels. They will all have these benefits:

  • Access to our games library to play at home
  • Money off all purchases
  • Money off all events
  • Money off all educational programmes
  • Free entry for gaming nights (when they reopen)

#3 A new name to reflect our new business

We’re now officially ‘Gamers@Hart Ltd’. We will still be a café. We’ll still do food and drink. But this reflects our new focus.

#4 Special programmes for kids

When we restart gaming, we’ll be running programmes for children run by qualified educationalists, that use games to reinforce the kind of skills developed through school.

Watch this space for more information (and opportunities to join our team!)

#5 Duelling card games

The first thing we’ll be able to restart is duelling card games. Magic: The Gathering, YuGiOh, Pokemon and others. With a Perspex screen between players we’ll be able sit people close enough to play. Capacity will be significantly reduced from pre-Covid19 times and entry will be by advance booking only. You’ll also need to prebook, and follow a list of instructions (they’re in our risk assessment, approved by Hartlepool Borough Council). It won’t feel like normal. As with most of life at the moment, it’ll feel tightly controlled.