Gone are the days where geeks weren’t invited to parties. Because now, they’re the ones throwing them.
A first of its kind, Chicago’s new Geek Bar will provide a haven for Comic-Con goers and TV addicts alike. It will be a place to eat, drink, and you guessed it – be geeky.
“I can throw a stone down any street in Chicago and hit a half dozen sports bars and Irish pubs…but where do you go if you’re a geek and you want to watch the series premiere of Doctor Who?”
For David Zoltan, the creator of Geek Bar, that was his lightbulb moment. And with Geek Bar’s Kickstarter goal of $9,750 totally surpassing its target (making a final earnings of $44,538), he clearly wasn’t the only one who liked the idea.
Much like the movies that Geeks love to love, Zoltan has been providing “trailers” in the form of small tasting events. And with the permanent location not opening until December, he’s also provided a “prequel” in the form of Geek Bar Beta in Wicker Park. The temporary location featured a fully equipped bar/restaurant space that gives you a (literal) taste of what to look forward to.
And boy, there’s a lot to look forward to.
Zoltan and his “Experience Agent” (basically an epic name for event coordinator) Ryan Bond know their stuff when it comes to putting together a space that geeks and muggles alike will flock to in zombie-hoard proportions.
The permanent location has big dreams with an even bigger floor plan. The two-story, nearly 11,000 square foot space will feature three bars, customized long gaming tables, and meals sized so you can hold your food without putting down your 12-sided dice.
The expert mixologists (or “alchemists” as Zoltan calls them) behind the bar – like true liquor artist Laura Green – concoct unique drinks for a full cocktail-focused drink menu. And with each drink based on geeky references, they have more creativity poured into them than you’ll find at any Bro-fest bar. Between the drinks premiered at the tasting events and Geek Bar Beta’s rotating lineup, the preview of things to come ranges from cutesy to damn clever.
A rough around the edges but sweet in the middle whiskey-based drink for Norman Reedus’s gruff-yet-sensitive Daryl in The Walking Dead.
A Doctor Who drink featuring River Rose Gin.
A drink for Game of Thrones‘ Robert Baratheon in a glass washed in real pig’s blood.
And the food -expertly crafted by master of gastronomy, chef Tom Kern – is gourmet-taste at a reasonable price. You can go herbivore with the Mushroom Kingdom (which is so good you won’t even know you’re eating vegetables) or carnivore with dishes like Dragon Ribs and classic fried chicken that packs a punch.
Just like the painstakingly selected ingredients chosen for each drink and meal, it’s the little details that really show this is a place made by geeks, for geeks.
Their upcoming events include things like “Creppy Spooktacular” – named after memes and internet “inside jokes.”
Everything from their recipes to their menus are filled with the subtlest of geeky references that fans will pick up on and appreciate.
And in the spirit of comic conventions, Geek Bar will feature panels, live podcasts, and cosplay is always welcome. Just for their Game of Thrones tasting event they had four different takes on costumes, including a Goth Punk Arya Stark and the Hound.
The idea of bars influenced by geeky things isn’t a new concept. Headquarters Beercade has a Justice League beer categorization system. And Kuma’s Burgers has heavy metal themed burgers.
What sets Geek Bar apart is that they brought it to life in the spirit of what being a Geek is all about: passion and community.
“I chose Chicago because this was a community that had so much to offer…the geek community is huge so it makes sense as a starting point,” Zoltan says.
Many of the staples of Geek Bar were voiced by the community and implemented into the design. Noise canceling wall panels will be featured to keep noise down and conversation audible, and movie and TV screening nights were high on the request list.
Just as a community is based on a support system, Geek Bar has not been a one-sided effort. Besides working with local Geeky artists to deck out the new space, Geek Bar has partnered with multiple Kickstarter creatives, including “Space Happens” – a space comedy by some local female performers – and Conan-featured Jen Usellis, who makes Klingon versions of popular songs.
Geek Bar helps these artists gain notoriety and reach their financial goals. In return, they creatively spread the word about Geek Bar.
But while Geek Bar sets up a haven that appeals to geeks like a sports bar appeals to sports fanatics, you don’t have to be a comic book head to enjoy yourself there.
As Zoltan said, “The John Scalzi definition of who is a geek… is somebody who calls themselves a geek…Because geeks come from all walks of life but what unites them is that they love these things that are a little outside the mainstream culture – although a little more inside the mainstream culture these days…Guardians of the Galaxy just surpassed a half billion in box office sales globally.”
Geek Bar is proving that in a world that has finally embraced geekiness, it’s not just good to be geeky – it’s never been better.
“We are finding ways to help geeks channel those passions and we wanna be at the hub of it all…And that’s a beautiful thing. We’re looking to share that success with the community because that’s really what its about – creating a place for people who haven’t had that place.”
Check out Geek Bar Beta right now at 1941 West North Ave in Wicker Park; and keep your radar on for when Geek Bar officially touches down in December.
(Photos courtesy of Geek Bar’s Facebook page and Twitter account)