A month ago I was enlisted to help out with the gaming tables at Next Dimension Games in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. They've only been there a few months so you may not of heard. I wanted to take a moment to talk about Next Dimension since they're a new store and have an excellent selection of stuff.

They made the conscious decision to focus on miniature war gaming and board games and those are their two strongest sections. The store itself currently sports 18'x4' of war gaming space, and two 4 seat painting/board gaming tables. The dedicated painting table has 4 hobby lamps (one on each corner) complete with built in magnifying glasses. Most evenings that I've been in the shop people seem to like the communal painting environment they're trying to foster.
Speaking of community. One of the regular daily discussions in the store involves ways to try and develop the community in the store for a variety of games outside of the obvious big guns: Warhammer and Warhammer 40K. The owners have brought in Infinity, Bolt Action, X-Wing, WarmaHordes, Malifaux, Wreck-Age, Anima, and others and they genuinely want to draw in and build up those communities. There are thousands of dollars in product spread across these games and plenty of space to play them if you invest in the models. If you already play one of these systems they could really use people like you to come in and act as advocate for your favorite system by running demos or a small narrative event that people can jump in on.
 If you're more of the board and card game type, they have an extensive selection covering your strategy games like Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and Small World, to card games like Gloom and Fluxx, to dungeon crawler type games like Level 7, Sedition Wars, Castle Ravenloft, and Descent. They just got in the Season 2 Zombicide games which I'm pretty excited about myself.  
One thing that is very important if you're going to come in to paint or play is that you support the store. And this can be said for any store you play at, whether its Games Plus, Draxtar, Dice Dojo, Cat and Mouse, or the Chicago Battle Bunker. If you want stores to provide services like game nights, cool events, and the like, you absolutely have to spend money in the store or else your favorite hang out is going to vanish. There is nothing more frustrating for a game shop owner than counting a near empty till at the end of the night while you pack up the models or game you were playing with, listening while you bragged to all your friends that you scored your stuff off Ebay for next to nothing. I get it, we're all struggling and hobbies cost money that we can't always afford, but the humble gaming store is the hub of your gaming community. They can't stay afloat without you, and they're there to help facilitate you finding gaming space, gaming friends, and gaming advice. We all should treat that with the utmost respect. I know I try to.

If you haven't checked out Next Dimension yet, or if its been a few months since you did, you should pop in and check it out. The space is constantly evolving because they want you to come in, have fun, and of course spend some money while you're at it. I think they're a great addition to the Chicago gaming community.