Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

What Would You Want In A "Geek Bar"? 85

NiceGeek asks: "Is there any interest in a 'Geek' bar? After reading a comment in a recent story on Slashdot, I started thinking about a 'geek hangout' type bar. Basically, beer, music, classic arcade and console games and maybe classic network games like Doom and Quake. One advantage to the 'classic' theme would be reduced overhead. I already possess a lot of classic consoles/games and older stand-up systems are pretty cheap also. I would also consider adding a 'cyber-cafe' for broadband access. I have several other ideas but would like to see if there is any interest." It's an interesting idea, but are there any other things that you think such an endeavor would need? NTN Trivia consoles would be a nice addition (it would fit in well with the other things listed). I have fond memories of playing NTN with friends when it was available at a local hangout.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What Would You Want In A "Geek Bar"?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
  • by Anonymous Coward

    IQ tests at the door to keep out people who might ask teh question, "hey what would you want in a geek bar?"

  • For those of you in the Bay Area there is a great bar in San Francisco called POW!. This is a small hangout, that still hasn't been completely overridden by the dot-com black leather jacket hipsters yet. It's got great atmosphere, several Playstation 2 consoles, and a Dreamcast. In addition, they play anime and 80s cartoons on a large screen in the back, and they have great drinks. It's in a fairly seedy section of town (6th street) but it's great. Tonight they're having their full moon party, so if anyone is interested, come on down!

    It's a great jumping off point if you're clubbing down in SOMA, or you can stay all night. Good restuarants near by, such as Tu Lan (Vietnamese), Original Joe's (Italian), and Taqueria Can Cun (mexican). Just a great fucking place to put it simply.

    Oh yeah, it's on the corner of 6th street and Mission street.

  • <i>I had the same idea about a year ago, but personally I dont have the funds nor associates who think its a good idea, nor do I relish the idea of having to fight Boston's repressive tendencies. I'd open it in a tight place like Flann's, call it something corny like "The Root Sheller," and wait for Cambridgiophiles to deign to visit it. (Maybe it's not such a great idea.) </i>

    Flanns? As in "Flann O'Briens Pub"?!? Gaah... I used to watch my friends drag their sorry asses back from that dive every couple of nites after classes.

    The best 'geek bar' I have ever been in: the former Liberty Cafe in Central Square. They had "the Bomb" - six shots of espresso straight up, and Net access back in like 96 or 97. Then the guys that ran it were kicked out to make way for the gentrification of CentSqu, and the infusion of Starbucks, "luxury" apartments" and the Gap.

    anyway, rant off...

    One essential for a geek bar - a stage with video projection, ethernet and a decent sound system, for doing spoken word and other performance.
  • I think the world needs a place where are the console jockies can hang out and wait for 'biz'.
  • Although your second to last sentence seems a bit sarcastic, your title doesn't. I don't see why -any- of that would be opposed by 'Moral rectaltude.' The only remotely objectionable thing would be the liquors, but only because they're hard and not because they're 'good,' and I've seen all that at bars before, and more besides. (The bar at the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Phoenix, AZ has blended cognacs for $75 per 1.5 ounces, dunno the brands involved)
  • ./
    Also, English or Amish hard cider (not that crappy stuff with the rhino on it) German dark beer, Engish ale & bitters, smoking & non-smoking areas with separate air handlers, NO MUSIC THAT MUST BE SHOUTED OVER (except in the dance room, which should also be equipped with first aid equipment) and maybe that "cone of silence" thing from Get Smart. It'd be cool even if it didn't work any better than it did for Max.
  • I have found foosball is really popular with people I work with ( programmers)
    Computer books ( on abstract concepts ( AI, Neural Nets, space exploration)
    Coffee after hours 2am +
    Needs to be open 24 hours a day.
    Private booths to reduce noise with built in speakers and net connectivity with some sort of mp3 server (upload and download.)
    Star wars video games
    Sci-fi, Cartoon Network, mtv2
    Kick @$$ deserts.
    Lots of flat panels.
    Freakin light I don't like the stereo typical dark, noisy, dirty bar.
    a good view with a patio.
    Quiz sessions with fellow geeks to see who really knows pix firewalling, or linux proc file system would be really cool thing

    all for now. sounds like a lot but I could probally live there.


  • Flanns? As in "Flann O'Briens Pub"?!?

    Yes. Mission Hill, corner of Tremont and something. I actually lived down the block from there for about six months but never went in -- we tried once near last call but got kept out. I've bee in there once. It's probably too small for a geek bar, but I used it as an example of a good location because its probably cheaper than two floors and 2,000 sq ft in a well traveled part of Cambridge or Boston.

    I do remember at least hearing about Cybersmith and Liberty Cafe. Cybersmith was probably still around my freshman and sophomore years, but we had no need for it as we had an online lab in our dorm. I remember meaning to visit Liberty Cafe but forgot about it, or else couldnt find people who were also interested. But regardless, I dont think either of those were actually bars, just coffee shops.

    Which illustrates why I might go with a smaller space, because the cybershops that go all out with haute couture interior decorating and the finest strong coffees in a spacious storefront tend to go out of business.
  • I'll second most of that, but honestly, Cow&Chicken over SportsCenter... I've never understoon the geek aversion to sports... I'm a computer engineer, and sports have always been a fun part of life (aside from the asthma attacks and what not). Statistics and projections - heck, creating your own fantasy sport leagues and simulations runs with a lot of the same characteristics as character attibutes in D&D... neat stuff, and fun.

    I'd go in for a pseudo democratic system... each of the table within proximity of a given TV votes for what they want, and the appropriate stuff gets shown. Either that, or personal flat panel TVs in each booth. Simple, and easy.

    I'm not crazy about sushi, but hey - a nicely varied menu would be great. As long as they have Guinness, I'd be happy 8^)
  • A few people have made some suggestions, but I'd like to hear some others. What's the coolest geek bar in Boston? DC? San Jose? Insert-your-hometown-here?
  • I don't drink alcohol. I hate going to bars because usually all I can get is Coke or Sprite. If I'm there to work, I usually want Mt. Dew. If I want to relax, a bottled root beer goes a long way.

    I also second the motion for some sound engineering and clean air. I usually want to talk with my friends or those that I'm trying to meet.
  • by lw54 ( 73409 )
    Lots and lots of girls :-)
  • by nealrs ( 75987 )
    i would definately want to go to a geek bar, of course... im 18. not 21. so alcohol is not a good thing. of course, a good geek crib doesent need to have suds to be phat. i mean get a bartender who knows how to mix stuff or just serve it all virgin. in any case, what would be really nice, is a good lcd projector on a wall/screen or multiples and people could chose what they wanted, or just a small (less than 10) cluster of pcs for gaming. yeah, bleeding edge shit too. anyway, a good music system would be nice, dont have all this individuality crap though,with seperate booths and stuff. institute a sense of community. i like that iopener jukebox request thing someone had-- thats hot. if i could just walk in, sit down, grab a OJ/sprite and relax with some nice lighting and music and pccage id be all set. of course.. im prolly gonna get a scaled down version in my dorm room somehow.... me, a projector, a fridge, and my stereo thats all i need. well.. no theres the microwave, hotpot (RAMEN BABY!) i mean thats the stuff. but yeah id def go to a geekbar if it were done right. -n-rs-
  • Give me the Sci-Fi Channel, 24/7.

    Cartoon Network!
  • Do you remember CyberSmith? It was on Church St. near the movie theater.

    I remember going there and getting on the Internet back in early '95, before most people had even heard of it. Hard to believe that was only 6 years ago.

    That place was cool, they had web terminals, and computer games, and a VR game (heh, VR).

  • Come on, now. There are plenty of good Scottish whiskeys out there younger than 16 years. In fact, the price/quality trade-off is so great that I'd rather drink something like a Macallan Doublewood 12-year than a really old whiskey.

    And don't forget the vodka. Stoli, Grey Goose and Vox come to mind as being necessary. Keep out the Absolut Crap. A few good gins, too. Bombay Sapphire, Plymouth, T-10. Clear liquors are the best to hack by, IMHO.

    Of course, I don't know how many times I've been drunk late at night and then woke up the next day to find a bunch of mysterious files I've downloaded and had no idea what they were. Maybe everyone should leave their computers at home.

    OTOH, writing is best done with brown liquors and Belgian beer or at least beer from the New Belgium Brewing Company if you don't want to plop down the big $$$.

    Live bands are a bad idea in a bar meant for socializing unless they're in a separate room.
  • monty python
    fawlty towers
    red dwarf
    mr bean
    the young ones
    hitchikers guide
  • I've seen quite a few resonable requests for beverages such as coffee and beer but no one has yet requested the geek's main nectar: Jolt Cola. I'd love to have an establishment that I could walk up to the bar and say " give me some of your finest" and get a frosty glass of jolt. And for all you guys requesting women at this vaporous bar, try slipping some roofies in with your victim's Jolt the effect is quite surprising. (Just in case the sarcasm didn't come through the last line was only a joke and I take no responibility for your actions if you try this, as far as I know it's never been tested.)
  • It used to be common folklore that the (cough) more interesting (cough cough) alt newsgroup names were a result of news server administrators having one too many on friday nights.
  • And no pisswatery beer.

    hahaha... we dont have that prob here (in aust)

    stoopid americans :)

  • Dave and Busters [] is a way the world has turned us from totally geek to totally sheik. Cancel out the carnival games and you've got geek land, bar, food, sci-fi short films, and tons of games...

    I like dominating Tekken Tag, it's a Chucky Cheese for adults / geeks, and a great place to find women that like video games, which is pretty much what we are all looking for anyway am I right?

    "If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten."
    -- George Carlin
  • One, buy & modify, or just build two (or more) cockpit simulator stations as used for flight and racing games. Put some GPL'd racing games and flight fighter games on there! Geeks love VR games!

    Two, it needs to be within two blocks of where I live, just for convienice ;)
  • I wouldn't really want to go to one.

    But I think jwz [] has the right idea with his new project []; it looks like it will be extremely cool, and there's some 'geek' element to it by the inclusion of a pack of Linux terminals.

  • Well, I could do something similar. Only one problem here in the USA you have to be 21 to buy alcohol legaly, unlike most other places ie Spain, France, Scotland, even Japan. Without alcohol most people don't think they can have any fun. So I guess its off to make my fake id.
  • I just /have/ to mention that there are many award-winning single-malt Scotches with agings of less than 16 years. The Macallan 12yr is one that springs immediately to mind. Highland Park 12 is also very good.
  • The best 'geek bar' I have ever been in: the former Liberty Cafe in Central Square. They had "the Bomb" - six shots of espresso straight up, and Net access back in like 96 or 97. Then the guys that ran it were kicked out to make way for the gentrification of CentSqu, and the infusion of Starbucks, "luxury" apartments" and the Gap.

    (I wouldn't normally pursue this but half the people posting seem to be from the Boston area...)

    I lived in Central Square for four years, until recently, and am hardly a fan of corporate monoculture. In fact, I've never set foot in either Starbucks or the Gap since they've opened here.

    But this stuff I keep hearing about Central Square as Paradise Lost really strikes me as the false glow of memory. The Liberty Cafe was OK, if not especially busy, but most of the businesses that got pushed out were just plain awful. The clubs, Indian restaurants and music stores are mostly still there. If the people who complain now had patronized the filthy Chinese food / donut shop, the $39 tuxedo store or that dentist who was straight out of Marathon Man they'd all still be there too. And how many neighborhoods outside of Pyongyang could support two Communist bookstores within three blocks? I don't revere market forces as an all-good force but, come on - you've got to try a little.

    Meanwhile, I'm loving life in Somerville now. No unshoveled sidewalks, no idiot yuppies who can't be troubled to clean up after their golden retrievers...

    Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

  • Plus...
    Men Behaving Badly - When I first saw this I truly believed that it was a hard hitting documentary about young adult males sharing a house but then someone mentioned comedy... You can tell what sort of household I lived in at the time.


  • >>Sixth, food. Geeks get enough grease and too little exercise at work.

    Right on brother! / sister! / person! (trying not to offend you understand)
    We need the food of the *GODS*. A decent curry is what should be served. Both meat eaters and vegetarians must of course be included but that's not too hard given the range of Indian (or Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Kashmiri, Afghan et al) food available to those in the know.
    Note to certain elements in the UK population: Curry does not have to be HOT. Vindaloo is a bastard dish created by Portugeese invaders of the sub-continent. And for those of you that think that Balti means curry then think again... Balti, literally translated means "bucket". i.e. it's food mixed in a bucket.
    Yes a nice Kashimiri selection tempered with the rather warmer, fuller, rounded flavours of the south west would be excellent geek fare.

    Anyone for popadums and pickles?

    Former (amongst other things) writer for the Bradford (where 26 percent of the population is from the sub-continent) Curry Guide

    (I must stop parenthesising(now))


    I rest my case


  • To quote a man with infinitely greater fortitude and dignity than I will ever possess:
    First they came for the communists, but as I was not a communist I said nothing.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, but as I was not a trade unionist I said nothing.
    Then they came for the disabled and the gays, but I was neither so I said nothing.
    Then they came for the Jews but as I was not a Jew I said nothing.
    And then they came for me... And there was no-one left to speak for me.
    Paster Martin Niemuller
    1894 - 1984

    I heard this on a tape my grandfather made many years ago (circa 1962/3?) it is an exact transcription of his opening address to a meeting in my home town. I thought nothing of it (interesting history perhaps?) until I visited a place where genocide has/is taking place in modern times. I went home and hapened to chance upon the tape again, I listened to it with a new understanding. These words were burned into my soul.
    I have but few words of advice for you:
    Read it.
    Think about it.
    Apply it to your own situation. (maybe change the categories a little?)

    Then shut up, pronto.

    Because by the time you are done, you will be alone and there will be no-one left to speak for you.


    Sorry to everyone else but I've seen the effects of ethnic cleansing. People, it ain't pretty.

  • OK. No problem. I do a mean Saag Aloo (Potato based dish, not to hot) and I have a wide topped thermos flask so everyone in the bar could dip in and try it.
    I guarantee converts within the first five minutes...


  • So you want a quiet, isolated room where you have a network connection and the ability to choose your own entertainment at whim? Why would you leave your house? You apparently don't want to socialize with anyone new, hence the sound proofed rooms and people wandering around wearing headphones. What would even be the point of going out? You basically want to transplant your house downtown. Invite your friends to your house, you'll have more fun.
  • When I was in college, I lived in the dorms with a bunch of grad students from India. I had curry dinner with them, and that's about as far removed from american as you can get. Obviously if the geek bar is going to attract the mainstream geek, then you are going to need to bring your own curry in a thermos.
  • It has been done elsewhere, but why not price drinks dynamically depending upon demand. When prices go to high, just arrange for a crash after trading stops for a while.

    I was in a place like this and it is great fun to 'hack' the market. The only problem was when we came back with a trader who wanted to arrange options on beer!!!!

  • Bars in California don't allow smoking. Yes this did increase the time I spend in them. By about 100%.

    I like the storage idea, but I've mostly seen it in country dance bars. I kind of associate lockers with physical activity, and I don't bring my laptop to the gym.

    For that matter, what I'd really like in a geek bar is somewhere that has good food, doesn't allow children, and where you can talk to other people who can read (yes I'm a snob, I generally don't get along with illiterates). If they play the same kinds of games I like, great! I think I'd like a social club with a nice bar and counter food service. I certainly agree that the food shouldn't be all fried and greasy... but I like there to be choices.

    I hate sports being on TV, but I don't really like TV in bars at all. I don't really like loud music either, something that merges with the background noise would be great.

    A lot of people have talked about the kind of computer stuff they want, but what I'd really like is the opportunity to talk to people in person, somewhere that feels comfortable, where you can play cards, play networked games, or even just talk to new people. It's hard to do anything social in bars because you can't hear anything.

    Restaurants have the other problem, you're supposed to have brought your whole party with you, so you can't talk to anyone new. They aren't quiet and they get really upset when you bring out cards or a game. Coffee bars would be fine except they all close about 6pm here and they don't usually have real food.

    We really need something open late, so you can have a quiet drink after a movie, after dinner, or even spend a whole evening there.

  • I would but I'm taken so I'd be (dragging) my non-geek boyfriend there. There aren't many of us geek girls out here though. I don't know if people would consider me hot but I'm attractive and a big geek. All I watch on TV is Cartoon Network, Sci-Fi, and MTV when Daria is on. As long as the bar also offers some good stout beer (mmm, Guinness) I'd be there.
  • It sounds like what you two are asking for is a recreation of the 'personal space' factor in a bar. You want quiet private booths, noise cancellation from 'outsiders', the ability to absorb yourselves into your own little world within the bar (private hookups for your laptop, personal TVs for each booth), and basically a situation where you have absolutely no need for interaction outside of your booth.

    I'm sorry, but for some reason this just seems wrong to me. Isn't the whole idea of a bar (or cafe for those that feel bar is a negative thing) all about getting out and visiting, meeting people, seeing people, and in general doing something different from what you can do when you are locked in your personal room in your house? Maybe I've totally missed the point, but when you go out to a gathering of like-minded individuals I would think the attempt would be to speak with the other people.

    My preference would be to see a 'geek bar' that had sci-fi on a group television (possibly interupted by really cool cartoons, like Robotech or Gundam re-runs), and an actual 'bar' or cafe counter where you can sit at a terminal, but you aren't closed off from the people around you. Stupid as it sounds, has anyone ever seen .COM on Days of our Lives? It's a cybercafe with a really cool 'terminal on both sides of the table' type of set up that's very open and airy looking. Change the basic beverage from coffee to beer (or pop for those so inclined) and add a TV or two (but keep their free-listening music stands) and I think you would have a pretty cool concept bar for geeks.

    But, maybe I've missed the point. If the point is to recreate the reclusive home environment of the common geek, then I guess you guys are on the right track.

  • ... is to get away from computers/geek-talk (which happens to be work-talk in my case). So my idea of a geek bar is probably not that dissimilar from a real bar.

    Matter of fact, PJ O'Brien's in the centre of Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) is just about perfect, IMHO. Quiet enough without being too quiet, serves good drinks and food at the right price, and has good music.

    Happens to be where a lot of geeks can be found, in the back left corner of the place on any given Friday night.

  • In a geek bar I would like to find Good looking Female Geeks with big hooters.
  • While this is not so much related to combining with net, but alcohol and computers can be a bad combo. My suggestion for anyplace that has terminals available would be to make sure they had some keyboards that could withstand spillage. Who wants to run a bar and worry about having people spilling their beer all over the keyboard, and going thru the expense of cleaning/repairing/replacing keyboards all the time... Or they could make sure they get some of those "skins" for the keyboards. Of course, my one friend did have a keyboard which could have almost anything spilled in it, all he had to do was take the back off and hose the keyboard out in the sink and once it was dry it worked good as new! Also, smoke and computers is a bad combo, as most people already know. NO SMOKING!
  • Well, here's my dream geek bar: 1.) No smoking. Can't stand the smell. 2.) More than just alcohol. Caffeine, certainly (coffee, mountain dew, red bull) And a few nifty mixes: ever try a mix of 4 parts Red Bull, 1 part vodka, 1 part soy sauce? 3.) Classic arcade games. That's one things that I hate to see disappearing from arcades. 4.) Computer access. There are always people who are in there for the drinks and the atmosphere, but still want to code. 5.) Some LAN'ed computers with Halflife (or some other multiplayer game). My local comic shop does this, and it's great. 6.) Gaming tables. Chess, of course, but also room for people to bring their own games. I'd love to play Risk against a random group of poeple that I don't know (it's too easy to beat my friends because I know exactly how they react to various stimuli, and thus how to manipulate them)
  • OK, here's a radical idea for your geek bar: go no-tech. The point of the bar would be to get AWAY from the net and computing in general. It would be popular for the same reason Burning Man [] is so popular with tech-heads: get away from the tech for a while.

    So, no Internet connection, no places to plug in your laptop, and no networked games. Pac-man and other old-fashioned games would be permitted (they're preety much no-tech these days).

    For added "get away from it all", line the walls with lead (or some other dense metal) to prevent cell phone transmission and recieving. See this article [] about the movement to ban cell phones from some public places. There are also apparently some paints and wallpapers under development for this express purpose (sorry, I couldn't find any details).

    Keep in mind that geeks don't tend to be a heavy drinking bunch, so try to find a non-alchohol revenue stream. Furnishings should be large tables where people can congregate in groups of three to six. Encourage people to hold small meetings there (because they can't be interrupted). This would foster a revenue stream of snacks and non-alchohol refreshments.

    Miko []

  • about plants. The bar must have a decent amount of vegetation.
  • That's what geeks need more than anything else.

    Galactic Geek
  • See response 33 [] for some of my thoughts about that.
    spam spam spam spam spam spam
    No one expects the Spammish Repetition!
  • So you want a quiet,
    Absolutely not, except acoustically. The place could be full of people and you'd not have the slightest problem with their noise drowning out the conversation at your table.
    and the ability to choose your own entertainment at whim?
    Why not? If there's a conversation at the table that I'm not really involved in, two TV channels on screens and someone playing on stage, I could use the headphones to be able to hear either of the TV tracks or the guy on stage better. It wouldn't make it harder for the people in the conversation to hear each other, either.
    You apparently don't want to socialize with anyone new
    Sure I do. I just don't want to have to shout to be heard over the people at the next table after I walk over to introduce myself. I'd also like to be able to hear the entertainment better without having to have it be really loud. Headphones let you tune different things in, or out, at your pleasure and experience them at the level you like. It would be really great for many purposes, like people with hearing problems.
    spam spam spam spam spam spam
    No one expects the Spammish Repetition!
  • I personally would love to have a geek bar near me. Lots of video games - make sure you have some shooting games and pinball machines would be a thrill as well. I'm not sure if I want to be able to bring my laptop around but maybe something like ICQ or AIM just for the bar so a shy chick can hit on a guy from across the room? I would want some real food to accompany my diet of M&Ms and bad coffee, so real food and assorted junky foods (buffalo wings...mmmm). Advertise in student papers wherever you are at. Don't just limit your thinking to CS/Engineering types - some of the best coders and most intellegent convo comes out of the mouths of us "art chicks." Besides, some of us are cute and like places that exude intelligence and not just drugs and drinking.

    What do you do about TV and movies? Once a week maybe have a movie nite. The only problem with what most of us want to watch (Doctor Who, almost anything on SciFi, Red Dwarf, etc.) is that our taste in tele includes dialogue. Maybe have customer channel-changing TVs only in private rooms?

  • Sweet! If only someone made one. Definatly doom, quake, and such games would be a must. The internet cafe idea seems good but I'm not so sure these two ideas would mix well. The customers for this sort of thing are definatly out there, but the possible bartenders that would pull this idea together seem to be little to none. After all the geeks are multipling while they are not.
  • I sure miss "hacking" the old NTN trivia network. It was quite easy. You just held down some buttons and powered the unit on and off. Then you got "ops" for the pub you were in. You could change other users names (that was fun), change other boxes answers at the last second or just change your score. We only got caught once when we gave everyone names so the score board would spell out "everget the feeling youhave been cheat ed". The bar owner was not amused nor were the people in the bar. I don't know if it still works. Would be fun to try if only I could remember the dam key combo!! Anyone do this as well? Dave
  • Do you want it because it's Kosher, or because it's good?

    Well if its not Kosher I won't eat it, if its not good I don't want to. Hows that for a reason. One of these years I'm going to move out of the boonies to somewhere where I can find a real deli. (I don't like driving almost an hour for food)
  • Yes it is some sort of a troll.

    I can see how the desire for a Deli sandwich causes the problems of the world.

    And for why we think we are "Superior" you do not begin to understand. The idea that we have more times than you can even count looked the angel of death square in the eye and he blinked first. But the truth is it was the Jews who introduced such ideas a universal education, universal justice and the concept that Governece requires the consent of the governed, even when the governer is the almighty.

    So go back under that little anonymous rock you were living under and if you come out again sign your name to your post.
  • But I will admit that this is probably not a money making idea in most area the call for Kosher returants is not that high. But it does not mean that I don't want it.
  • Suitboys = office workers who go out straight from the office wearing their (usually cheap and tacky) suits. Think trainee realtors, supermarket junior managers and the like.

    Designer-clothed lager louts = 'expensively' dressed (i.e. D+G, Hillfiger etc.) large packs of guys looking for alcohol, Essex girls and trouble. Usually from Essex themselves.

    Essex girls = The county of Essex is to London what the state of New Jersey is to New York City. Big hair, white stilleto heels etc.

    God, I'm such a snob....

  • Check the Vibe Bar in Brick Lane (AKA 'Click Lane' - ugh!) London. Surrounded by startups, geeky but cool clientele, fast netwrok connection for the free computers, great layed-back DJs, excellent projector visuals and a chill out area. And it's so much fun watching the suitboys, designer-clothed lager louts and Essex girls not getting past the front door...


  • A link to a page showing a VAX converted into a wet bar posted in answer to 'What Would You Want In A "Geek Bar"?' is considered flamebait? The moderation system is well and truly broken.
  • Drinking isn't the point of going to a bar. You can stay home and drink. Drinking in the presence and company of others doing the same is the point of going to a bar. (Well, that and the music and trying to get lucky.)
  • Do yo want it because it's Kosher, or because it's good?
  • It was "you" when I clicked "Submit", honest.
  • 'What Would You Want In A "Geek Bar"?'

    Doormen and bouncers that can sense the approach of Jon Katz sufficiently ahead of time?

    Or are you the type that wants him to park the bandwagon right out front for everyone to see?

  • Okay, I would like to second the thoughts of having no sports/no smoking in a geek bar. Not so much because I personally detest sports (though I do smoking) but because if you have Sports in there you're likely to turn into another sports bar and get those guys in there and I'll split.

    Well, all sports except for maybe Robot Wars or something. :)

    Honestly, and this may be old fashioned and too geeky, I'd like to see stuff like chess tournaments going on. Yes I'm *that* kind of a nerd.

    That network trivia stuff though is kinda fun, and if you get a good mix of geeks in your bar would likely kill other bars on the network, and that would be really fun.

  • Put access for laptops in a geek restaraunt or something, but a bar is supposed to be a place to get away from work and for some kind of social interaction. If you're looking for a place to plugin a laptop and send messages, it just seems to miss the point. The bar should harness technology for entertainment and/or comfort not just be a comfortable cubicle.

    I concur with the notion of booths that harness technology. Maybe wall mounted tv screens so that whatever you want to see could be on. A touch pad screen to manage a jukebox for the booth, like those old time jukeboxes in diners. Then some text pagers for booth intercommunication or order placement.

    Lots of comfortable chairs, lounge style with arm tables and that text pager for orders. A small common area that can be used for gathering, or maybe even dancing if the mood strikes. A big thing would be space. Crammed into cubicles, crammed into bars ... that ain't cool. This should be a place to get away from the norms and play.

    There should probably be foosball and pinball, if space provides, arcade style deathmatch area. 4-8 people, 20 frags, winner stays, nobody pays to play, just wait your turn.

    You want the place to be techno-centric, not techie-centric. Techno-centric allows all other people to visit and affords the geek a chance to be seen in an environment comfortable to him/her without the pager or problem to solve. Techie-centric is just like work. Might as well hand everybody task list, let 'em leave when they're done ... but let 'em drink stuff while they're working.

  • A mechanic RAM! *rimshot*

    -- Kaufmann
  • For a launch party a few years ago our bosses rented out a cyber cafe in Harvard Square. We spent a few hours having beer and wine, hot appetizers, and getting a chance to shoot our coworkers in a massive quake game. The big bosses (like senior VP level) even sat in and we got to frag their sorry asses.

    A few years later we wanted to do it again, but the place had closed. Seems like you could make good money if you were prepared to rent yourself out as one of your main revenue streams.

  • Several comments have been made about the quality of the beer at a perspective geek hangout bar. Would good beer really make a difference? I work with databases during the day but brew beer during the evenings. Good beer could be made for just slightly more than standard (about $3 per pint) if a steady market could be locked in. Marketing, bottling, decor and entertainment lock up a big portion of the required capital of a brewpub.
  • I work on the damn things all day, I go to bars to get away.

    When I'm drunk the last thing I want to do is hack. My girlfriend, a total non-geek, would definitely hate going with me to somewhere with computers everywhere. There's tons of cafe's with them around here that I avoid.

    Actually, I want live music. If Pink Floyd (great hacking music also) played around here I'd be happy :-)* Basically I like going to places where the bands have horn sections. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Velvet Olive is cool for that stuff.

    Meanwhile, I have some drinking to do, so I'm off to meet my coworkers.
  • Thanks for the thought :). I think someone saw a one-line first post with a link, and out of habit went for "Flamebait" in the dropdown. At least that's what I hope!


  • After all, geeks need to get laid too. Of course, the old engineering addage applies to women, too:

    Good, Fast, Cheap: pick two

  • There was a wonderful place in Manchester (uk) where I used to love to hang out with fellow comp.sci students.

    They had a dalek, and a costume from babylon 5 by the dj's booth. They had a cabinet full of cult tv/movie related toys/memorobilia.

    They had original starwars & space invaders arcade machines, house of the dead, pinball, etc. Instead of tables they had some of the old fashioned table format arcade machines (ie, the screen horizontal so you put your drink down on top of the screen (sadly they weren't playable, but the demos ran.))

    They played funky 70s music, while showing wierd, surreal 60s/70s films, thunderbirds, old cartoons, etc. They put on a screening of Episode 1 the weekend after it was released in the states. (uk movie releases are months behind the states. Yes, this was illegal.)

    Sadly, the place has gone badly downhill. Rough, overcrowded, bad music, grrrrr. :-(
  • An overwhelming ammount of people keep talking about net connections and bringing their laptops and sitting booths and the like. Sounds to me like they want more of a library with a nice network drop. Something about the words "bar" and "privacy" don't mix!

    If I've been working at my machine at home all evening, I really don't think sitting in front of a computer (nicer net connection or not) in a different location is going to help me relax/socialize/unwind, which is kinda the point of a bar. The suggestions some people are making sound like they want something along the lines of a coffeehouse taylored towards the geek crowd.

    When I think of a bar, I'm thinking about Cheers; a friendly place with familar faces and nice people who share some sort of common bond with one another, in this case, geek-hood. A bar is not a place you go to sit isolated. You go to be around people and make some human contact, even if you choose not to actively socialize.

  • I've found that combining alcohol with a net connection can be bad. I've seen a lot of crazy emails and instant messages sent after a few pitchers.

    Also, the drinking songs would get out of hand.
    1. 0xFF bottles of beer on the wall....

    2. What do you do with a drunken coder?...

    Who is going to understand the code that you wrote while drunk? You didn't comment it, you don't understand it, but it works!
  • I agree! SciFi beats almost anything else on cable. I played football in high school, but I'd rather watch anything on SciFi (except Tales From The Crypt) than NFL, NBA, NHL, or NCAA.

    Maybe have a section with scifi movies playing:

    • Star Wars
    • Star Trek
    • Indiana Jones (OK, not truly scifi, but everyone loves Indy.)
    • Blade Runner (Lots of Harrison Ford. :)
    • MST3k
    • Babylon 5
    • ... brain freezing, recall failing ...
    This could be great. Where would this be, which city? I'm moving to Seattle, so maybe I'll find something like this there.

    Louis Wu

    "One of life's hardest lessons is that life's lessons are hard to learn."

  • To add my $0.02...

    Good quality alcohol. (Absinthe (not that Absente crap), Cognac (at least VSOP, if not XO), Single Malts no younger than 16 years, Canadian hard cide or tap, and good micro-brews of various sorts.)

    And for those of us who aren't alcohol snobs (with no offense intended to those who are)...blended drinks blended drinks blended drinks!

    I would be more likely to patronize a bar that served frozen drinks (ie, pina coladas, margaritas, daquiris) just for that reason. What can I say? I'm a girl-drink drunk. Give me drinks with little umbrellas in 'em every time.

    Sections that are quiet. (Sound-proofed if possible.) Half the time I go out I can barely hear myself think, let alone the person across from me.)

    Seconded. One of my favorite bars has one room with dancing, loud thumping music, etc, and another that's fairly quiet, with some couches arranged around a tv or two, and another little setup with cards and board games. You can sit back there, play chess or cards and talk to people, then run out and shake your thang when you hear that song that you've just got to dance to. It's the best of both worlds.

    Good live bands. (Groups like "Land of the Blind" that thrive on low crowd noise and lack of tobacco.)

    Ack! I vote for NO live bands. They're uncontrollably loud, and they get offended if people don't pay attention to them. Also, the only bands I want to hear live, or for an hour at a time, are the ones I like well enough to buy concert tickets. Good canned music (ie, not too much you would hear on the radio, although a little is ok, say one song an hour) that can be turned down, that won't cuss you out if you ignore it, is my vote.

    Networked deathmatch games.

    Can I hear a "Hell, yeah?"

    TVs that do not show sports. (Marx bros movies, Sci Fi, Ray Harryhousen movies, cartoons, Hong Kong action or fantasy films, or anything else I woul feel like showing.)

    Sounds good to me. But not in the same room as the dance music, please? If I want to watch tv, I usually want to hear it too (unless its more of an ambiance thing, like Godzilla vs. Gamera or something)

    Good looking females with an IQ.

    I tell ya, we'll show up, if you give us good looking males who are capable of intelligent conversation...and, of course, Quake and Diablo and pina coladas...


    "We can't all, and some of us don't." -- Eeyore

  • I think that you are on the right track with the video games. That appeals to the population you want and enables you to have more than just a terminal room.

    LAN gaming is incredibly popular in Asia... Everywhere you turn in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, even Thailand and Indonesia (just the biggest cities), you'll find places with rooms full of top-end computers, and many of them sell drinks.

    They offer internet connectivity and other things as well, but it generally happens that the places get completely taken over by gaming. The noises (speakers, yelling, etc.) are too loud for anything else, really.

    On the one hand, it's good, because the atmosphere is more fun (I assume; I don't play video games) than you'd get in your house. Lots of people all playing at the same time and clearly having a lot of fun.

    On the other hand, though, it seems hard to mix with anything else. Sort of like trying to have a dance club with a Ye Olde English Pubbe section as well; it just doesn't work unless you've got a huge building and some very impressive soundproofing.

  • Well, first, you should probably check out DNA Lounge []. jwz [] (of Mozilla fame) is working on it, and he has some interesting notions.

    I think that one of the important features is that it's somewhere where geeks can socialize offline. I've been to cyber-cafes and they are pretty lame. I think that jwz had it right when he decided to not be a cyber-cafe, while still retaining the geekish computer-centric attitude.

    I think that you are on the right track with the video games. That appeals to the population you want and enables you to have more than just a terminal room.

    I would say that you should have music at your club, since most geeks that I know will really appreciate it. See about getting live bands and DJs. But, based on my geek-centric concert activities, you want to turn the volume down below the earsplitting level, especially off of the dance floor. Most of my geek friends seem to dislike places where they can't hold a conversation. But you might as well invest in excess capacity so that you have the potential to crank up if I'm making a generilization that doesn't hold.

    You didn't mention where you were located. Location is very important, because you need to be in a place where there are a good number of geeks. Bay Area good, Podunk Illinois bad.

    Make it no smoking and have a wide assortment of drinks -- both alchaholic and non. Most geeks tend to have more diverse tastes in both categories, plus a lot of geeks don't smoke. You can always tweak both depending on demand.

    And finally, make it look geek. Not cheezy-geek, but geek-chic. Comfortable, yet futuristic. You get the idea.

  • What do I want?
    The usual stuff, I suppose... moussaka, dolmades, retsina, some guys playing the bouzouki...

    Oh, geek bar. Sorry.

  • If I could set up the place, I'd have...
    --an additional balcony level that opens into the main floor; throw in a small fountain and some good natural lighting.
    --big, plush, upholstered chairs and sofas, and good rocking chairs.
    --a good air filtration system
    --a big 'no smoking' sign
    --a big 'no Anheuser-Busch products' sign
    --a separate, closable bar (thanks to the craniorectal "homeowners" around my neck of the woods)
    --two acoustic music stages, one for each room.
    --BYO-headphones, mice, keyboards, or rent for $2-$5. For mice and keyboards, this would require hot-swappables.
    --color-controllable spot lighting for nighttime--some of those LED-based lights would do the trick.
    --Bar and booths: solid wood, embedded flat panels, byo-peripherals (as above).
    --Sound absorption in each room, to reduce echo.
    --Subscriptions to math/sci/med journals and newsletters, made available for browsing.

    I'm suprised that the various IP racketeers (RIAA, MPAA, etc..) haven't attacked anything like this.

  • A room full of pocket protectors and pasty white faces that haven't seen the sun in years are flashing through my mind. Sounds like some parties I went to in university. ;-)

    A nice quiet pub accomplishes much of what you're looking. And it doesn't reek of resigning yourself to being a separate caste from the rest of humanity. Who knows, you could meet some standard-model humans while you're at it.

    On the other hand, having gaming tables and good draft ale could be an interesting mix. (Mmmmm ... Shadowfist and Guinness)
  • by Black Art ( 3335 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @11:11AM (#374173)
    Most of the things I would want in such a place would get it shut down by the forces of Moral rectaltude.

    Good quality alcohol. (Absinthe (not that Absente crap), Cognac (at least VSOP, if not XO), Single Malts no younger than 16 years, Canadian hard cide or tap, and good micro-brews of various sorts.)

    Sections that are quiet. (Sound-proofed if possible.) Half the time I go out I can barely hear myself think, let alone the person across from me.)

    Good live bands. (Groups like "Land of the Blind" that thrive on low crowd noise and lack of tobacco.)

    Networked deathmatch games.

    TVs that do not show sports. (Marx bros movies, Sci Fi, Ray Harryhousen movies, cartoons, Hong Kong action or fantasy films, or anything else I would feel like showing.)

    Good looking females with an IQ.

    Of course, any sort of unsupervised fun is deemed wrong and immoral by the constabulary and must be stomped out without mercy.

    "So shall it be, this is the land of the free..."
  • by alecto ( 42429 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:53AM (#374174) Homepage
    One of these [] would be nice!
  • by babbage ( 61057 ) <cdevers@cis.usoutha l . edu> on Friday March 09, 2001 @11:11AM (#374175) Homepage Journal
    One of the coolest places I've been was a little bar/restaraunt/coffeeshop in Auburn, Alabama called (IIRC) There were plans, not realized as of the last time I was there (but then that was over a year ago) to set up some internet connected computers for web, email, etc. (Thus the joke behind the name). They had places set up for the computers to go, but other things came first.

    Previously, the space seemed to have been a used bookstore, so the walls were lined with shelves and lots of books (classic literature, philosophy, art, etc that you'd expect in a college town -- I didn't see any O'Reilly books... :), which you were free to peruse & buy. At the back was a little deli where you could get sandwiches, soft drinks, coffee, tea, and beer. Scattered all over the place were chairs, recliners, sofas, etc that could be moved around freely. Up front -- this was the best part -- was an area that would every now and then be cleared out so that rock bands could play, and none of that whiny Don McLean acoustic cover shit either.

    That place had a great mix. Too many rock clubs are just flat out dingy, depressing places. Too many of the places you can go late at night will give you a choice between either a cup of coffee or a glass of beer -- you typically can one or the other, but not both from one establishment. This mix isn't really something "geek specific" -- maybe "me specific" more like :) -- but I thought this was an awesome place, and it sucks that it's well over 1000 miles from here (Boston). I would put it as a near ideal setup for a "geek bar"...

  • by zTTTz ( 176815 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @07:01AM (#374176)
    Up at Purdue we had a split level ranch with the bar/den in the lower level. We could move the couches out from infront of the TV giving us a 50x30 room, that opened up to the back yard with a lake, waterfall, and privacy fence (can we say party). At any rate, black lights were the only source of lighting at the bar, aside from a 486/66 PC driving X11 Amp over VNC to a slackware box in the back room. We cabled the out to the surround system which provided plenty of music for the parties. What else does a true geek need? Highlighters! Yes, you don't have to be too techy to be a geek. Chicks let you draw on their faces and then they come back every couple minutes to show their friends their preety glow-in-the-dark faces. Don't forget the webcam, digital camera, palm pilot to hand girls to enter their phone numbers, and Mic's strown all about the bar to record girls comments about the tall dark dj, beer server. Three sound cards and a lot of disk space can make this fun. Festival running on your linux box can make the computer talk to people at the part, but only do this after 2:00 (when everyone is warm and fuzzy). Next, you might want to setup an IOpener at one edge of the bar (for sex apeal), to take requests. For some reason the flat screen jutebox request machine impresses chicks. Lie and tell them you can put it in your car and use it to play every song. If you have unlocked rooms in your home, consider putting hidden webcams in each room, routing them to your VNC server for entertainment (or security) purposes.
    Moderate me.
  • by Spamalamadingdong ( 323207 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @07:52AM (#374177) Homepage Journal
    First thing I'd want in a geek bar: clean air. If I can't breathe, I'm outta there. NO SMOKING, PERIOD.

    Second thing I'd want in a geek bar: quiet space. Most places are too loud to have a conversation. Acoustic engineering isn't quite rocket science, you could have booths or entire rooms which are lined to absorb sound from people and things more than a short distance away.

    Third thing: Connectivity and power, with table space. I'd love to be able to haul in my laptop and plug it into a 10baseT and a 12-volt supply (why not 110 volts? because the cable that plugs into a car is a lot lighter and smaller than the transformer for line power).

    Fourth thing: security. Cable locks for computers, lockers for books and bags. Build them into the tables and booth-backs, charge a quarter to release the key like airport lockers. Maybe plant a security tag in the key so that anyone trying to take one out of the building gets "beeped".

    Fifth thing: I want to be able to select my own entertainment. If I can't play what I want by streaming it from my laptop (or even if I can, because laptop speakers are so tinny) I'd like to be able to pick what's coming over the speakers in my booth. Let the speakers cancel what's coming from the booths on either side (active noise cancellation). Or put the building inside a Faraday cage and broadcast different music, news and TV sound channels over little 100 mW FM transmitters. Bring a headset radio and tune in whichever thing you want for background, put the volume up or down at your pleasure.

    Sixth, food. Geeks get enough grease and too little exercise at work. I want to be able to get good coffee, fresh salads and tasty low-fat food. If the kitchen doesn't even have a grill or a deep-fat fryer, GREAT. Put it next door to a sushi bar for real fun, man I'd never leave (what's that smell?).

    I second the vote for "no sports". SciFi, Cartoon Channel, financial news, but no sports.
    spam spam spam spam spam spam
    No one expects the Spammish Repetition!

  • by RomulusNR ( 29439 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @08:00AM (#374178) Homepage
    Alcohol behind lockable cabinets or a separate closable bar so that you can serve coffee and websites after the bar closing time and be open all night.

    Dont forget a free email account with your first pitcher.

    And no pisswatery beer.

    I also recommend tabletop / board games. You could even have tournaments. Beats frickin' karaoke. Hell, at a place like that I could have some interesting MTG games.

    I had the same idea about a year ago, but personally I dont have the funds nor associates who think its a good idea, nor do I relish the idea of having to fight Boston's repressive tendencies. I'd open it in a tight place like Flann's, call it something corny like "The Root Sheller," and wait for Cambridgiophiles to deign to visit it. (Maybe it's not such a great idea.)

    BTW, have you seen jwz's notes on the DNA Lounge that he is building in SF? Dunno if he has 'geek bar' in mind, but his experience is still helpful: []


  • by peccary ( 161168 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @07:13AM (#374179)

    In fact, turn off the damned ESPN entirely. Give me the Sci-Fi Channel, 24/7.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.