Last night I went to the Geek Bar Chicago Kickstarter campaign launch party at Mad River Chicago. I could care less for Mad River (beer selection didn't impress me and the trivia and music got loud), but you have to give them credit for hosting last night's party and the Chicago Game Lovers Meetup for past events.
The links above do a fairly good job of explaining Geek Bar Chicago. I don't link to their main page, though. I don't have the best luck loading it.
To sum it up, the guys of Geek Bar Chicago/Cantina Forward, David Zoltan an Matt Wolf, see a demand for a social place for geeks to hang out to do geeky things. Sure, there are game shops with game rooms, cafes to hang out, conference rooms/theaters to rent out. Those avenues focus too much on one activity, don't necessarily encourage larger social crowds or require complicated planning and organizing money logistics for a couple hours of a movie screening.
Sports fans have sports bars. Other bars cater towards more general audiences by showing reality TV or pop culture TV. Beercades have arcade games, but that doesn't necessarily mean geek. The bars here in Boystown have their drag shows.
Why shouldn't geeks have their own bar to have showings for Doctor Who, play table top games (board or RPGs are fine, I figure), have a quieter atmosphere to discuss the finer points of Lord of the Rings or The Avengers, work together to come up with theories for the next piece of technology or heck, have a cosplay fashion show.
Zoltan and Wolf have worked successfully to get seed money over the last few months from qualified investors through their social networks, larger networks like The Chicago Nerd Social Club, contests, civic organizations and entrepreneurial events.
Last night they reached their next stage: the Kickstarter campaign. Time to let the crowd funding bug in and let more everyday folks have their chance to contribute finances to the venture. Crazy as it may sound, just a little more than 24 hours later, they've already exceeded their goal of $10,000. This accomplishment doesn't surprise me. By the third or forth hour of the party, they had already exceeded the $4,000 mark.
Zoltan and Wolf have the right idea about demand being out there for Geek Bar. Just look at how much they raised in about 24 hours and still continue to raise!
Suffice to say, if they progress like they have so far, we can expect them to get established by the end of 2013 and have a place for geeks to go where they can be social and do what geeks do. Fifteen, twenty years ago, can you imagine even think of the possibility?
If the Geek Bar Chicago take over of Mad River for the launch party indicates anything, it shows that Geek Bar Chicago will provide a fun place to hang out. I made great conversation with friends, new and old, and didn't do much else. That's just me, though.
The Geek Bar Chicago people took over one wing of the bar and good deal of the main area. Most of these areas had board games set up with full rosters of players intense on competition. In the front of the wing taken over by the Geek Bar Chicago crowd, they had set up laptops for people to make Kickstarter pledges. Why encourage people to go home and contribute when you can offer them the opportunity at the bar?
Mad River had their trivia night going on the same night, so they couldn't accommodate full on Geek Bar. If last night was just a 25% to 50% sampling of how Geek Bar Chicago will run, though, I can't wait to see it running at 100% with its own space. I know I'd rather see Doctor Who or Lord of the Rings on the big screens, yells of triumphs of games won rather than loud music, and other fun geek themed activities.
How about you? You know what to do to make it happen.
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