Anyone who has ever been to a convention or LAN party knows that geeks can drink. However, now there are actual bars catering to the geek community. From Brooklyn to Austin to L.A., there's nerdy dives and bars with board games, video games, and heated debates of Marvel vs. DC that are becoming safe havens to the fantasy and sci-fi inclined.
If you're in search of a place to sing some Disney karaoke, squeal about the latest fanfic update, or just enjoy a drink with your nerdy friends, we’ve got you covered, coast to coast.
The Way Station, Brooklyn, New York
It'd be impossible to start off a list of the geekiest and quirkiest bars in the USA without the famous Way Station in Brooklyn. What other bar has a TARDIS for a bathroom? Never mind the fact it's been autographed by multiple Doctor Who stars. With a heavy dose of steampunk décor a la Jules Verne and watch-a-longs and Nerdioke, The Way Station is perhaps the geeky bar standard. It has an ever-changing menu of truly geeky cocktails. Where else can you get a Christopher Walken Dead or the Earl Grey and honey-infused, bourbon-based Picard Maneuver?
Power Up Game Bar, Toronto, Ontario
Order yourself a Geralt of Rivia, mezcal, cassis, ancho reyes, and pink grapefruit juice, and blow on your favorite Nintendo cartridge when you hang out at this neon-lit gaming bar in Toronto. Exclusively offering console based gaming along with their themed cocktails and gamer friendly food platters, Power Up Game Bar is the primo nerdy destination to get your game and your drink on. From Mario Kart to Rock Band to old-school favorites like Donkey Kong, you’ll always have something to play here.
The Atomic Fern, Durham, North Carolina
No TVs. No loud music. It’s all about the conversation, games, and drinks here. “I wanted to open a place that was just a no frills bar, but was also a representation of the things that I love.” Owner Kevin Slater opened The Atomic Fern when he couldn’t find a place in the area that represented him and his interests.
“This is a safe space where all people can come in and just be themselves.” And that is very true, as the Durham joint has patrons that are everything from kilt wearing Jedi to drag queens to real estate investors and pink haired anarchists. This is a place where you can grab a drink and play one of many, and we do mean many, board games. Also... there’s a William Murderface figure buried in the bar somewhere.
Vigilante Gastropub and Games, Austin, Texas
Every part of this gaming pub was built with gamers in mind. It is the ultimate tabletop gaming destination, and the fact you can drink there too is just the cherry on top. You can choose any one of their games via tablet, which are labeled by how easy and long they are to play, and choose whether you want to be in the more open social gaming section or grab one of the tables for some D&D and Catan action. Or maybe even reserve a private room... that’s behind a fake bookcase.
The best part? No one will bother you. Yes, every table at Vigilante has a call button. Better yet, if someone has to leave your game for whatever reason, there’s a “new player needed” option as well. This is seriously a gamer’s paradise. Let’s not forget about the drinks though. Vigilante’s tap is filled with Austin based brews, even locally made energy drinks. The food is incredibly high quality with some flair, giving new life to the gamer’s haven.
Waypoint 6 Tavern and Geekery, Tampa Bay, Florida
When asked by a patron if he could put the game on, Waypoint 6 owner Kevin Daniels declined and printed a sign politely hammering home the fact that his establishment was for the nerds: "Please be advised... Waypoint 6 Tavern & Geekery was designed by geeks for geeks to enjoy all of their geeky delights… [w]e will not be showing sports unless it is BattleBots, drone racing or Quidditch. There are over eighty-seven sports bars in this area to choose from, but only one geekery."
And they've stayed true to that fact. At Waypoint 6 it’s all about games of the tabletop variety, great food, themed geeky drinks, and being a place where the nerds can hang. So hen in Tampa Bay, grab yourself a Winter Soldier Moscow Mule and play some tavern trivia.
Millennium Fandom Bar, Las Vegas, Nevada
It's all about fandom at this Las Vegas spot with some serious love for cosplayers, comics, TV, and everything in-between. Fan art graces the walls and Superman's home of Metropolis is the theme of the bar that hosts some seriously delicious and geeky cocktails. Cosplay is really the name of the game here, with different themed nights to appeal to anyone's faves.
With a healthy appreciation of Star Wars, you won’t go a night without seeing a Chewbacca or two. Or if that's not your style, join in on one of their many movie nights, watch-a-longs, or flex your geek muscles at trivia night. If you want to find your people in the city that really never sleeps, this is where you need to go.
Scum and Villainy Cantina, Los Angeles, California
"It's Cheers for geeks." That’s how owner J.C. Reifenberg describes Scum and Villainy Cantina, "your friendly neighborhood geek bar" in Los Angeles that has brought many a nerd together. Started as merely a pop-up, this every space celebrating establishment has definitely made a name for itself. Though don't be fooled, there's more than Jedis and Siths to this place. Get your Firefly trivia on, play a board game with your fellow nerds as you knock back a few of their themed drinks, and listen to live podcast recordings by your favorite actors.
Scum and Villainy has outdone itself as becoming a Mecca of nerdom in Hollywood. TheOneRing.net and Kevin Smith record there, Meltdown Comics found a new home in the cantina, and it’s looking like even more is on the (space) horizon. Look forward to bartenders carrying laser tag guns as the new menu will have FPS (first person shooters, as in shots, get it?). If you enter Challenge Mode you'll get a laser tag gun, some targets to shoot around the bar, and a prize if you hit them all in time. All that Overwatch play just seriously came in handy.
Scum and Villainy is a geeky bar that is just like home. When you come here, you're immersed in the Guardians of the Galaxy-esque cantina, and just wait until the arcade room and starship deck are built.
Storm Crow Tavern, Vancouver, British Columbia
Claiming the title of "Vancouver's original nerd bar," Storm Crow Tavern is right out of a Tolkien novel or your favorite D&D campaign. Speaking of the favorite tabletop game, you can actually hire a Dungeon Master through Storm Crow. This is not only super handy, but it allows a nice and easy entry point for newcomers to the game. You also get your choice of a Storm Beef or Vulcan Veggie Burger with your three-hour long hosted game. Now that’s some seriously great nerdy service.
Storm Crow isn't just for the hardcore geeks either, they invite everyone from the casual Game of Thrones fan to death metal goths. If you like something fantasy, sci-fi, or horror, you'll like Storm Crow.
The Nerd Out, Portland, Oregon
This Portland joint may be the most aggressively nerdy bar on this list. Comics for wallpaper, cosplay 365 days of the year, and every in-joke imaginable on their quirky drink and food menu. A favorite has to be the Benedict Cumberbatch cocktail made with local gin, cucumber and strange feels.
Fans and professionals alike can enjoy the events here as they have dedicated industry nights, celebrating nerdom with pizazz and discounts. Love is the name of the game at The Nerd Out, it's all about finding people like you, feeling comfortable, and having a great time while doing it.
So whether you're looking for a cosplay cantina or a gaming joint with some beer on tap, you should be making your way to one of these bars. Or do you have a favorite place we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments below!