The Geekiest Bars in America
Can you name every Doctor who ever battled a dalek? Do you make fun of anyone who believes Kobayashi Maru is a competitive eater? Do you think of your cosplay as your coswork? Then you need a bar that embraces your geekiness. Here, seven spots to get your Manhattans and your Margaritas while discussing the finer points of the Settlers of Catan expansion packs.
AFK Tavern, Seattle, WA
“We’re a geek bar and we’re OK with that” is the logline of Seattle’s all-purpose home of RPGs, video games and nerds. The menu has drinks based on everything from Kirby’s Dream Land to the Guardians of the Galaxy to Admiral Thrawn (that’s a deep cut going back to some ‘90s Star Wars novels), and the place features ample gaming systems and theme nights.
1510 41st St., Everett, WA
Waypoint 6 Tavern and Geekery, Tampa, FL
Tampa’s self-proclaimed geekery made headlines for refusing to show sports on the TV, unless it was “Battlebots,” but the north Florida bar is more interested in what they will show—specifically premieres of shows like The Walking Dead and Supernatural. They also offer weekly Cards Against Humanity tournaments and a well-stocked board game selection.
9057 Ulmerton Rd., Largo, FL
The Way Station, Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn’s home for Dr. Who fans has a whole set of Who-appropriate cocktails (think Sonic Screwdrivers) as well as a bathroom made to look like the TARDIS. And The Way Station’s owner wrote the book on geeky bars, quite literally. Earlier this year Andy Heidel released a book of sci-fi and gamer recipes and anecdotes called The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy. So, if you can’t get to Brooklyn, at least you can get a taste for what goes on there in the privacy of your own home bar.
683 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, NY
Café ArtScience, Boston, MA
Unlike everything else on the list, this Kendall Square restaurant and bar is not themed around science fiction, but instead, science fact. Originally a space to display edible experimentation headed up by Harvard bioengineering professor David Edwards, who has created things like smokeable chocolate, it grew into a full-service restaurant with a bar program by cocktail scientist Todd Maul, who made regular use of centrifuges, liquid nitrogen and all sorts of other drink manipulating gadgets. Now the beverages come from the locally acclaimed Tenzin Samdo. For his first menu, each cocktail is inspired by a different animal species with flavors from all over the world. And, because ArtScience is still a hub of experimentation, Samdo and Edwards are also working on an “aroma delivery system” to help enhance every drink.
650 E. Kendall St., Cambridge, MA
Dungeons and Drafts, Fort Collins, CO
The cocktail menu—a mix of drinks for fans of Game of Thrones, Pókemon, Dungeons and Dragons and Marvel superheroes—is accompanied by a long list of local Colorado beers and meads. The bar also features a robust selection of board games and celebrates the birthdays of some of the biggest names in geekdom’s history, like Isaac Asimov and Douglas Adams.
1624 S. Lemay Ave. #6, Fort Collins, CO
Vigilante Gastropub and Games, Austin, TX
Austin’s home for board and card game aficionados, Vigilante has every game you love and even more that you’ve never heard of before. And they host regular noob nights where people who might not be regular gamers can learn how to play without the uncomfortably loud, irritated sighs that accompany most learning sessions with an experienced dungeon master.
7010 Easy Wind Dr. #150, Austin, TX
Stormcrow Tavern, Vancouver, BC
While Stormcrow Tavern isn’t technically in the U.S., it is right across the border in Vancouver, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a bar that has an enormous Cthulu relief on the wall greeting you when you walk in the door. The bartenders let you roll a 20-sided die to select a random shot like the Grue (Jagermeister and Goldschlager) or the Vulcan Mindmeld (crème de cacao and crème de menthe). And the force is clearly strong up in Vancouver, because the Stormcrow team opened a sister bar in town, the Stormcrow Alehouse.
1305 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, BC