8 Of The Most Geek-Friendly Themed Bars In The World
Love 'Lost', 'Dr Who' or 'The Lord Of The Rings'? Here's where to drink with your people.
Pop culture has a funny way of erasing social boundaries. If you’re an introverted traveller with a bit of a geeky side, then you’ve probably experienced this before: you’re stuck in an awkward conversation with a group of new people until someone switches the conversation to Game of Thrones. Suddenly, you can’t stop talking.
The good news is that there are bars out there devoted to those geeky interests of yours. So next time you’re feeling isolated while overseas, duck into one of these fandom-themed bars and surround yourself with likeminded people. You’ll be quoting your favourite scenes in no time.
#1 The Way Station, New York City
For fans of: Doctor Who
The Way Station in Brooklyn is known for its Doctor Who Sundays, when old and new episodes are shown on a projector to dozens of excited Whovians. Though it was originally intended to be a steampunk bar, the addition of a TARDIS shifted things in another direction. You can order from a Gallifreyan cocktail menu or buy Doctor Who jewellery from the friendly folks behind the bar. Every now and then they hold a Doctor Who burlesque show with sexy Daleks and Cyberwomen, which sounds like something that needs to be seen, frankly. During his tenure on the show Matt Smith even popped in for a night cap, so you never know who you might run into.
#2 The Black Lodge, Vancouver
For fans of: Twin Peaks
Before Twin Peaks makes its glorious return in 2017, it’s really your duty as a fan to check out this fully themed vegetarian restaurant and bar. Not only is The Black Lodge’s interior modelled after a log cabin from the show, down to the owl carvings, bear skin rugs and ski collectables on the walls, but there are plenty of little touches for scrutinising fans. Laura Palmer’s iconic prom photo presides over the dining area, where you can order items like the Log Dog (a faux hot dog stuffed with avocado, cream cheese, tortilla chips, jalapenos and salsa), or a slice of damn fine cherry pie. Make sure you check out the bathroom before you leave – the décor matches the Red Room from Agent Cooper’s dreams, down to the red velvet curtains and black and white zigzag pattern on the floor.
#3 The Lebowski Bar, Reykjavik
For fans of: The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski is so beloved that it inspired a religion, so of course it’s also inspired a bar. Next time you’re in Iceland, you can immerse yourself in The Dude’s world at this American-style hangout, which is themed according to key locations in the film – a bowling alley, an old fashioned porch, a ‘50s diner and a playboy lounge bar. Since The Dude’s drink of choice is a White Russian, naturally, there are 16 varieties of White Russian on the menu.
#4 The Hobbit Pub, Southampton
For fans of: The Lord of the Rings
The Hobbit Pub prevailed against a copyright lawsuit due to the support of Stephen Fry and Ian McKellen, so it automatically joins the ranks of pubs worth visiting. The traditional English pub has a very student-friendly crowd, but it’s a rite of passage for any Tolkien fan in the area. The massive beer garden has a jovial, fairy-tale atmosphere that will make you feel like you’ve landed in Middle Earth. If you’re in the area for a few days, tackle The Fellowship Quest by trying all 13 of the pub’s Lord of the Rings cocktails. You’ll win a collectable T-shirt for your efforts, not to mention epic bragging rights.
#5 Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den, Minneapolis
For fans of: Night of the Living Dead
If Minneapolis ever becomes the site of the zombie apocalypse, you can ride it out in this dive bar. Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den is an homage to all things George A Romero, with a little bit of Shaun of the Dead thrown in for good measure. The interior is very Vegas kitsch, though a few bizarre hunting relics add to the eclectic atmosphere (for example: there’s a deer head on the wall that shoots actual laser beams). There are also plenty of props to use in your inevitable zombie battle, including a chainsaw inside a case that reads “In case of zombie attack, break glass”. The bartenders, who dress like Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead (i.e. white shirt, red tie and blood splatter), will help you design your own delicious craft cocktails.
#6 Bar Bharma, Barcelona
For fans of: Lost
Remember the Dharma Initiative from Lost? They were responsible for all that weirdness on the island, like the polar bear and the frozen time travel wheel. The founders of Bar Bharma were so enamoured with the concept they modelled their entire bar around the group (they even nicked the Dharma logo). Their decor includes a light-up hatch, the tail-end of Oceanic Flight 815 embedded in the wall, and mock ruins like the ones the characters encountered throughout the series. In other words: selfie opportunities abound. TV fans gather here on Thursday nights to watch everything from old episodes of Lost to classic ‘80s movies.
#7 HR Giger Bar, Chur
For fans of: Alien
Get your camera ready, because when you step inside this Swiss bar you’re basically stepping onto the set of Alien. The venue was created by the film’s Oscar-winning designer, HR Giger, who constructed it in the same creepy biomechanical art-style that dominated Alien and its sequels. There’s a second location in Gruyères, opposite the HR Giger Museum, where the artist’s enormous body of work is on display. There was a third bar in Tokyo, until it turned into a Yakuza hangout and eventually shut down. But really this only adds to its coolness factor, because what self-respecting gangster wouldn’t turn this into their underground lair?
#8 Wayward Coffeehouse, Seattle
For fans of: Firefly
This late night coffeehouse in Seattle is a haven for geeks of all sorts, especially Firefly fans. The walls are covered in Firefly and Serenity memorabilia, and the sandwich menu features items inspired by each crew member. It’s really more like a lounge room where you can hang out with your mates than a traditional coffee shop. You can spend hours taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi without raising an eyebrow. Check it out for the board game nights and live music on Fridays and Saturdays, or head along to one of the regular social meet-ups if you’re a Firefly diehard.