I've seem PM meetings in a few of these locations, as I've been in both bluegrass.pm and dc.pm. It probably varies with the intent of the PM group -- is it just a social group, or a learning thing, etc?
- Fine for social events -- Can be a little too noisy for detailed conversations and/or training. Most of the DC.pm folks will move to a bar (which serves food) after the 'main' meeting.
- Well, it was more of a training room (at a tech company), but it worked rather well -- we had projectors, they let us order in food, network connections, flip charts / white boards, etc. No problems with conversation that everyone could hear.
- If you can get a back room, it's not so bad for noise -- and if someone brings a flip chart, it can be okay for some sort of teaching meetings. It's less social than a bar, as with food involved, people are less likely to rearrange through the meeting. With large crowds, it can be dificult to hear everyone. (gnat came to a bluegrass.pm meeting, and we had a larger than normal turnout -- we were spread across multiple tables, and the 'backroom' was an upstairs balcony w/ bad acoustics.)
- Okay, it wasn't a PM meeting, it was DC-IA, but some libraries have rooms that people can reserve. (I don't know if there was a fee involved, or not, as they took donations, but that might've been to offset food/coffee, not the room.)
- Tech company
- I've couple of places have been gracious about space -- AGU has been hosting dc.pm for the last few years. It's nice to have a consistent location, presentation space as appropriate (either set up with a 'theatre' seating for talks, or as a more informal seats around tables for less formal things. bluegrass.pm would order food in; dc.pm tend to go find food afterwards.
- I've never gone to Perl conferences, but I would think that PM meetings tend to be more local ... so I don't know how appropriate conferences are. (I've met w/ other programmers at conferences we were all going to, such as AAS/SPD or AGU, but we'd just find a place off to the side, and work on stuff that we tended to be presenting on)
As things go, I'd vote for classroom or conference room within a tech company, if you're holdings talks and training. If it's just social, a bar is probably better. (or go with dc.pm's model, and do both).