Why it is important how you place tables at a milonga
The layout of the tables at a milonga makes a huge difference to a milonga - so I have learnt after many years of organising and attending milongas.
You can't line chairs up against the wall...you have to have tables. Many organisers will simply use the tables the way they are set out by the venue. This is usually using rectangular tables with the one short end at the floor end - meaning there is a line of people facing each other at right angles to the floor. Some venues will offer circular tables - which means that at least 2 people have their backs to the floor. Not good I have decided after trying to make it work at a previous venue by removing 2 chairs from each table.
In Buenos Aires small tables are the general thing and even when the table seats 6 or 8 everyone faces the floor - there are no chairs with their backs to the floor.
With the new venues we are using we have small tables - that seat 4 people. And instead of having 2 on each side we are facing the tables to the floor and putting 2 people facing the floor and one on each end. Generally the feedback has been really positive. You are still able to talk but everyone can watch the floor - and it can be easier to use the cabaceo if you want to - especially when there are tables on 3 sides of the floor.
It certainly creates a different ambience. Check out this old photo of a milonga in Buenos Aires - I imagine that on a busy night the floor would have been very crowded!!