Disclaimer: I wasn’t paid or coerced to do this. Geek Bar found out about this via social media earlier today. These are my opinions. Love ’em. Hate ’em. Skip ’em. I leave that to you. I am participating in the Media Empire, but that’s not even something I’m getting paid for. Still, I’m not here to get that waved in my face and “BIAS” shouted repetitively until I toss on some headphones and go tweet in a corner…
I’ve raved about Geek Bar Chicago‘s Beta location for months via social media. It suddenly hit me that I didn’t share my thoughts on the venue or the overall experience with the business. How horrible of me! Tonight, I’m changing that. Enough with the intro. Let’s get detailed!
What is Geek Bar Chicago?
Now, for some of you out there, this is not something on your radar. I can only assume it’s because you’re not in Chicago and/or have not had the pleasure of talking with a single Chicago pop culture fan. For that, I apologize for the sincere loss you don’t yet realize has occurred. I first discovered Geek Bar Chicago a few days after the Kickstarter campaign ended. It was definitely a project I would have wanted to contribute to.
The idea that Chicago could start forming more of a centralized, year-round hub for all things geek impressed me. More than that, it was (and always will be) needed. Yes, we have conventions and smaller meet-up groups. We have stores to buy apparel, graphic novels, etc. And they’re all awesome. Not knocking them at all. But now we also have somewhere to sit down and eat while discussing our hobbies…I like that I can toss out the most random pop culture topic and have at least a 60% chance of other people (yeah, more than one) also being a fan.
I’m not a bar kind of person, usually. I don’t drink and unless the conversations are really entertaining, it’s just not an environment I enjoy a long amount of time in. However, when you add a pop culture menu, all sorts of table top games and staff that not only start conversations–but share your same passions–there’s not really room to complain. It’s still at the beta location, but they don’t treat it that way. You are welcomed to a bright environment and everyone makes sure you are enjoying yourself the entire duration of your visit.
With it being an inclusive environment, there’s a clear sense of awareness by staff and an intentional action on changing for the better. I like that the anti-harrassment policy is visible everywhere. Working for a non-profit devoted to this mission, I like being a customer of businesses that do the same. The staff is working hard to continue expanding the Chicago community.
They don’t just host events daily, they give the opportunity to promote your own. If you consider yourself a “geek” is inconsequential. Are you a fan of food? Well, you’re the right customer. Congratulations. Take a seat. It’s an easy location to get to via public transportation. Even by taxi or bus, it’s roughly 20-30 minutes from the loop.
I had watched the Geek Bar Twitter account extensively to see when they’d open. After telling strangers, friends and coworkers alike, I wanted to find that one event that would be fun and work with my commute into the city. Halloween was a given and turned out to be the perfect introduction to the beta location.
Swapping out my costume idea at the last-minute, I went all out on the make up and outfit before hopping on the train. I met up with a group of new and old friends that were ready to party. The bar was quite lively as I made it in and after seeing a Jareth cosplay, with a live infant included…Wait, did that sound as bad as it did when I just read? Doesn’t matter. You know what I mean. Back to the topic. Great costumes with some amazing cosplay talent. Lots of laughter. And poutine. 10 points to who’ve knows Geek Bar Chicago’s connection to poutine.
Do you know how much I’ve craved poutine since my trip to Quebec? It was as if I won the lottery and got the money that same day…before taxes…
In the midst of laughing at a long round of Cards Against Humanity, the seven of us shared thoughts on the location and how often we’d be going home after experiencing what this new place had to offer. Voices were lost from laughing to hard. Cool costumes were noted repeatedly. Candy was shared as if we were the candy store ourselves. Funny story for another day…
Everyone sang along during the announcement of costume contest winners. How many places can you go where the owner personally visits each table to check in with guests? And not the corny, vague two questions and I’m gone–but honestly inquiring about your likes and dislikes? That would come back happily?
Chicago’s Geek Community
One of the best parts about working in a city like Chicago is access to so many other people and resources. You can find some in the suburbs, but not with the same extensive network. You all know I’m proud to identify as a geek. I adore pop culture and having related conversations woven into my daily routine.
Because of places like Geek Bar Chicago and the network created around them, I’m meeting (both online and offline) others in the community. I have a list of new groups to interact with as the weather warms back up and I’m not running straight for the train home. These are groups and people I would never have come across otherwise.
Two Geek Bar Chicago projects I’ve yet to mention are the Media Empire and Cantina Storyverse Collaborators. Check out the links to get all the details. Participating in the former, I can say there are many amazing things on the pipeline. I’m learning so much about the talent, in certain regards still somewhat unknown talent, Chicago truly has. No matter how much you want to get involved with Geek Bar Chicago, I’d invite you to add it to your travel list if you are ever visiting the city.
Let me know what you think. Sound like somewhere you want to visit? Maybe a lot? I’ll write you lovely people again tomorrow. Until then, happy Friday!