The announced opening of the Amuse Bar did not go smoothly in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The game bar project led by three friends, board game aficionados, is getting a patina. The public inquiry, which took place this spring, gave rise to two objections: one from the Reset-bar, another gaming bar located less than a minute’s walk from the future establishment, and the second from the association that owns the premises. “I objected mainly on the question of the location of this new games bar”, explains Caryl Zeender, the owner of the Reset-Bar. “It seems to me that there are enough empty premises in town to avoid coming to open another game bar close to mine”, adds the one who started his activity in small steps during the Covid. But Caryl Zeender also regrets a lack of communication with the promoters of the Amuse Bar. “I waited until the end of the public inquiry to send my opposition, in the hope of having a session with them to develop a concrete partnership and not just a discussion over a drink,” says the one that also has around a hundred board games on its shelves.
The Amuse-Bar keeps its ambitions
On the side of the Amuse Bar, in other words on the other side of the block, it’s grimace soup. “We learned belatedly that our premises, which used to be the reception café of the Hotel Club, still needed a new assignment. We had bad information from the owners, ”explains Vanessa Thomann. And the hopes of opening the bar in the spring first, then in the summer, have therefore flown away. But Vanessa Thomann also gives her point of view concerning the neighboring games bar: “We were supposed to meet to sign a partnership, but we didn’t have time to do it. On the other hand, several dates were proposed to the Reset-Bar during the public inquiry for a meeting. Without answer. I would add that we are complementary. We never wanted to make video games, billiards or even install darts and pinball machines”, specifies one of the instigators of the Amuse Bar. At this point, moving the bar to another site is not a solution. “Our bar must be sufficiently well centered to attract, not only players, but also other customers who come to have a drink and eat. And then there is the financial aspect: breaking a commercial lease that we have just signed would be very expensive, just like taking over the business of another establishment,” she argues. The opening of the Amuse Bar is at best postponed for the end of the year. The City will rule on the opposition in the coming weeks. As for the construction of the bar, it only awaits a signature to start.
Ludesco will wait to expand
Consequences, there are also for Ludesco, a flagship event for games of all kinds, which will make its thousand board games available at the Amuse Bar against a loan of the premises, year-round on an ad hoc basis and during the festival. The event will not settle there this year for the edition scheduled for September, just as it will not invest the Reset Bar either as expected, to put everyone on an equal footing. A session was scheduled between the three parties, but it was canceled. “One of the goals of Ludesco, written into its statutes, is to work on the development of the game in La Chaux-de-Fonds”, recalls the president of the event Thomas Junod. “I can only hope that the two establishments can find common ground and be open for our next edition in the usual format in March 2023.” Because behind these communication problems between different parties, hides the desire of Ludesco : that of seeing the eventual creation of a gambling district around the Maison du Peuple in collaboration with merchants. The die is cast. /lre
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