I love hackerspaces as a way to hang with fellow tiling window manager enthusiasts and swap configs for xmonad.
Main criticism is that they are ironically fairly hardware/meatspace oriented. Last time I was at one I suggested putting up an internal web service of some sort to entertain visitors I was scoffed at. Suggest making a simple shape with a laser mill, all the help in the world.
Weirdly the (h)acker movement of DIY hardware people has a certain antipathy toward the (H)acker movement of software security, which is sad if you ask me. Some spaces aren't quite that way, but the closest you normally get to hackers are hardcore freesoftware/tor enthusiasts at most places.
That said I love the community, and at most spots I tend to spend the night talking more than actually hacking. Which is good.
* For people to try and suggest 3D printing to you.
* To see people using CNC for lots of stuff
* Shop tools.
* For fuck sake another LED matrix. Cmon really?
* OK maybe the led's are cool.
* Someone is soldering together one of those kits from radioshack.
* CLUB MATE
* That crazy guy hooked up to mains trying to make a home brew reflow station.
* Some A-hole trying to "network"
* Normie significant others.
* mild elitism
* craft beer
* Arduinos, and if you're lucky some big boy pants microcontrollers.
* Did I mention LED lights?
* Nixie tubes.
* Thai food.
* Intense elitism.
* Intense derping.
* Some guy trying to crash there.
* Questionable air conditioning.
* That stuff in the bucket, that might be acid. Or maybe antifreeze? Don't touch it.
* Someone's retro-computing project.
* The guts of thinkpad or three.
* A hard drive mounted on a wall.
* MORE LEDS
* some kind of overly ambitious group project.
* not enough batteries
* Decent soldering stations.
* Someone talking about their damn thesis.
* Someone recruiting for their job.
* chip tunes music
* But usually not demoscene
* hacker art of some kind.
* not enough ventilation.
* a lecture about hackers versus crackers.
* people pretending to work on projects while actually derping on facebook and talking tech.
In short, hackerspaces are wonderful. Go now, I am serious. Go!