Everyone wants to belong, and everyone wants a sense of home.
At Geek Bar, we're giving Chicago a place to commune and celebrate our love for geek culture in all its forms. A home in this city full of geeks! Geek Bar will be your sanctuary where you and your friends can gather to relax after a long day. We'll be a warm, inviting space that will set you instantly at ease, immersed in geek culture and surrounded by like-minded folks. From science to science-fiction, fantasy to technology, geeks of all stripes will find Geek Bar to be a space that suits their unique needs.
We reached our initial goal in just TWENTY-FOUR HOURS!!!
We are now on Stretch Goal #3. Read on to find out more.
Recent press and accolades:
- We were honored to be chosen by Seed Chicago!
- We were featured in Grid Chicago in the Chicago Sun Times!
- And again in Grid Chicago for our Kickstarter!
- And in the Huffington Post for our Kickstarter too!
- DNAinfo ran a great story for their Lakeview edition!
- The RedEye is excited to see us opening as well!
- HBO has issued a call to arms for the Iron Throne to happen!
- We did an interview on Your World radio on WNUR
- We were featured live on Morning Amp on Vocalo Radio
- Nerd-blogs Another Castle, Zombies 4 Breakfast, Sugar Gamers, and The Drunken Moogle believe in us!
Recent updates and news:
- At 500 backers we're throwing a party at MSI Chicago!
- We added a $50 add-on to flip a table!
- We talked FOOD!
- We're offering upgrades!
- We hit our first goal in 24 hours!
David Zoltan -- President and CEO
David Zoltan was first an entrepreneur as a hobby game store owner in the Metro Detroit area. He sold that business for a profit to move to Chicago. He is a marketing pro, having graduated from Michigan State in marketing and Carnegie Mellon with a masters specialized in marketing and fundraising for the performing arts. He organizes a 1,500+ person gaming meetup, Chicago Game Lovers, running events in bars and game stores across the Chicagoland area. His claim to fame as an entrepreneur was creating a culture for gamers at the game store he owned where people felt comfortable, could count on great events and a warm environment, and fly their geek flag high. He developed the community that supported the game store by devoting the vast majority of the space at his game store to play space, using leagues, tournaments, and other events where gamers of the local neighborhood could come to be a part of gaming culture every day of the week.
Matt Wolff -- Chief Marketing Officer
Matt is a native Chicagoan and relentless gamer, writer, and geek. An absolute tour de force in avant garde marketing and promotions, having worked in and around geek culture for almost two decades, his understanding of geeks is second to none. He has led marketing initiatives for several technology companies and has held titles ranging from manager to director. Matt currently heads up marketing, social media, and outreach initiatives for the Chicago Game Lovers organization. His passion and drive for promoting geek culture gives any project he takes on a unique, authentic voice that sets him apart from the rest of the nerd herd.
Tom Kern -- Executive Director of Cuisine
Chef Tom's experience includes five star/diamond resorts such as the Vinoy in St. Petersburg; Ashville, North Carolina's famed Inn at Biltmore Estate; and the Ritz Carlton Naples, Fl. Resort. He founded and runs BadHappy Poutine Shop, widely held as serving some of the best food in Chicago. Chef Tom plans on bringing his unique spin on comfort food to Geek Bar, utilizing his love for modern, sui generis technique applied to gastropub-style food.
Chef Tom brings 23 years of restaurant experience and an unmatched geeky passion for food that will create an outstanding experience for patrons of Geek Bar.
From our founder, Zoltan: "On August 22nd, 2012, they announced the new season of Doctor Who, and I thought to myself 'Where can I go to watch Doctor Who with other Whovians across Chicago?' After all, you can throw a stone down any street in Chicago and hit a half-dozen faux Irish bars and sports bars, but there's no place for the nerds and dorks and dweebs of Chicago to feel at home, to see the things they want to watch on the screens, to celebrate who they are. So that's our ongoing mission: To celebrate geekdom in all its forms.
"Having founded and run a game store up in Detroit for three and a half years and run geek events around Chicago for years, I've discovered a great deal about what geeks like and don't like about your average bar. Geeks want a space where the volume isn't loud so that they can talk, not shout directly into their fellow geek's ear. We want to see Jean-Luc Picard, Iron Man, and other geek heroes on the screens. We want tables large enough to play games on or to put our laptops and iPads on comfortably instead of perched precariously around our food and beer. We want to see parts of our culture represented in the decor and the special events going on in the space. That's what Geek Bar is going to be."
Behind the culinary vision of Chef Tom, we'll feature an amazing menu of elevated, playful, geek-themed gastropub cuisine served alongside masterfully crafted cocktails and local craft beers. Our menu will feature appetizers, entrees, soups, and salads but the crowning jewel will be highly customizable, sharable menu items called Companions made to order by the piece, like tapas, and shared with your friends.
A sampling of our menu:
Fried goat cheese medallions served atop an eggplant reduction, garnished with a chickpea relish. Vegetarian friendly.
Crab and chorizo corndogs served alongside a ramp pesto sauce.
Gin martini with melon, lime, and elderflower notes. Dark surface of rum.
At Geek Bar, we want geeks from every walk of life to feel welcome, and it's because of that we're making sure we feature items that address the dietary and lifestyle requirements of our guests. From vegan and vegetarian options, to gluten-free and soy-free choices too, we'll have something for everyone so that you feel at home at Geek Bar. Because at Geek Bar, you belong.
SCIENCE! Bar & Binary Bar
We intend for Geek Bar to be a warm, inviting space where you'll feel instantly at home. With long, communal tables and lots of creature comforts, from TVs to plentiful outlets.
We also plan to have two themed bars in different sections at Geek Bar - SCIENCE! Bar and Binary Bar.
SCIENCE! Bar will feature bartenders in lab coats. Smoking drinks and cocktails that blur the line between science fiction and reality. Mad scientists have taken control of the bar and it's the geeks of Chicago that will reap the benefits! SCIENCE! Bar within Geek Bar will be a fun, playful space where SCIENCE! rules.
At Binary Bar you can follow us down the rabbit hole to a place where mathemagical theory and mysterious fringers unite. Binary Bar within Geek Bar will be our sophisticated, sharp take on a future in cyberspace, where bits and bytes rule. With cutting edge cocktails and dark, cool decor.
(We made our 1st stretch goal, the cards will be PERSONALIZED!)
We plan on treating all our guests like geek royalty, but we're saving some really special things for our regulars and those that see themselves making a home at Geek Bar. It's for this reason that we've designed the GeekFleet Very Important Geek (V.I.G.) program. For a low annual fee, you'll rise in the ranks of GeekFleet enjoying fantastic benefits from day one. The more you spend, the faster you'll ascend seeing more and more perks out of the program. And at the $50 WIZARD level, you get a Kickstarter-only card that will get you even extra benefits every month! Here are the ranks and a sample of the benefits we're planning for its launch:
Everyone has to start somewhere, right? Being a n00b is nothing to be ashamed of, since even as a n00b you'll enjoy a discount on your bill, exclusive access to GeekFleet special events, and your own V.I.G. card to show the world you're a revered geek at Geek Bar!
As a Lab Rat, you'll see all the perks of being a n00b, but with the added bonus of a free drink every year on your birthday. And who says scientific experimentation is a waste of time!
Membership has its benefits! Evil Minions will enjoy everything Lab Rats enjoy, but having risen further up in the ranks you'll also have full access to our game library without any rental costs! The best and newest games at your fingertips with no cost to you!
Code Monkey like Geek Bar! Code Monkey like Tab and Mountain Dew. Code Monkey see all benefits from Evil Minion but also Code Monkey get free birthday dinner on Geek Bar's tab every year! And added to that Code Monkey get exclusive pre-sale access to Geek Bar special event tickets!
It's good to be the boss. The Mad Scientist gets everything the Code Monkey gets but with a VERY valuable addition in our Geek Bar Concierge service. Mad Scientists can reserve tables up to a week in advance, they can reserve board games to be ready when they come in, and more.
Geek Bar is slated to open in March 2014 in or near the Lakeview area or possibly even sooner with enough support from the community and continued investor momentum! Your contributions will directly help us create this space.
We've raised the initial money through equity funding to get a basic bar, but we need your help to geek it out properly. Every dollar you contribute will be another dollar of geekdom that we add to the bar. We are looking for a start of $9,750 to be spent on geeking out Geek Bar. We will be focusing initially on how we dine in the form of custom tables and what we watch in the form of licensing for the shows and movies we want to show on the TVs. In the end, this will add to our other efforts, including equity investors and sponsorships, to get us to our ideal goal to open the bar of $500,000.
As a show of how important you are to geeking out Geek Bar, every tier will include a unique Geek Flag sticker in the theme of the Chicago flag (shown below) that you can autograph and affix to a special community support wall at Geek Bar. Your permanent addition to the space we're all building together.
One way or another, with or without your support, we're opening by March 2014. But you have the power to make Geek Bar truly amazing right from the start with your contribution.
Custom tables - $6,000
We are commissioning local Chicago furniture designers to create custom gaming tables for the space. These are not your typical tables, not by a long shot. Our patrons should eat, drink, and play on tables as unique as Chicago's amazing geek culture. It's for that reason that we're having communal gaming tables built. High-quality, 24 feet long, extra wide tables made from reclaimed wood and iron that can seat up to 12 per side with special features our gaming patrons will surely appreciate, from the wide width to accommodate board games to swivel-out trays to keep food out of the way of your dice. It's these little touches that will speak to the geeks of Chicago!
To thank you for your help with these tables, we have a special limited slot at $200 for 40 contributors to have their names engraved on plates that will be on the two tables we fund through Kickstarter!
Licensing and media - $3,750
At Geek Bar, we plan on being a focal point for the geek community in Chicago. Geeks love TV and film, so we owe it to our customers to have the ability to show their favorite shows and movies any given night of the week! We will be buying broadcast rights from several studios including Disney, New Line Entertainment, Paramount, and Fox to ensure we are properly licensed to show classics from Star Trek to Doctor Who, The Avengers to Lord of the Rings. And so many more! In addition, we'll be purchasing a media library, so that you'll never be without geeky entertainment when you visit.
Our initial goal represents one year of once-per-week movie nights at the bar. When you walk in, we'll be playing Aliens or Wreck-It Ralph on the TV while you enjoy the amazing food, insane cocktails, and the company of your fellow geeks.
We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but we have some amazing stretch goals planned out for this Kickstarter campaign. While our tables and media library will truly be epic and make Geek Bar a warm, inviting space for Chicago's geeks to congregate, we have a great vision for the space that we'd love to see realized.
STRETCH GOAL ACHIEVED! WIZARD SUPPORTERS GET A CUSTOMIZED CARD!
At $20,000 we will do several things. First we will be able to afford licensing for another movie night every week, so we'd have TWO instead of one! Also we'll be able to upgrade our televisions to larger, crisper displays to show those movies as well as all our other great programming. We'll also be able to expand our board game library to give you more options and the latest, greatest games.
Stretch goal #1 Supporter Bonus: We'll upgrade the WIZARD level Kickstarter Supporter GeekFleet V.I.G. card to a customized card, one with your name and charming face on it!
At $40,000, we're going to bring in a professional sound engineer to create a custom solution and make Geek Bar a technological masterpiece in acoustics. From sound dampening fixtures to expertly tuned audio, we'll make sure your experience at Geek Bar will be an aural experience like no other. So that no matter what you're doing at Geek Bar, you won't be interrupted by excess noise from elsewhere.
Stretch goal #2 Supporter Bonus: We'll add a new KILLER CYBORG reward level at $79 that will assimilate you into part of our gaming collective! You'll get an exclusive invitation to play your favorite games with the Geek Bar founders! We're gaming experts and pretty darn fun to game with if we say so ourselves. Plus, you'll get everything at the WIZARD level too.
At $70,000, we're going to pay the iron price and purchase a replica Iron Throne from Game of Thrones for our Chef's Table! Sold exclusively through HBO, this throne is carved from a solid piece of fiberglass and painted to be an exact replica. It'll be available for photo ops and, of course, for those that dine at our exclusive Chef's Table. A Lannister always pays their debts, and you'll always want to sit on this throne.
Stretch goal #3 Supporter Bonus: We'll add a new reward level at $1337 that lets you be SUPREME RULER of Geek Bar Chicago for a day! You'll sit on the Iron Throne, select the entertainment on our TVs from our media library, decide what drink is on special that day, and let Chef Tom know what your favorite dish is so that he can riff on it for you and serve it as the food special of the day. All in addition to everything at the OLYMPIAN level.
We have more stretch goals in mind too, but we'll announce those as we achieve the ones above.
ADD-ON: FLIPPING AWESOME - This $50 add-on to any level is an invitation to come and flip a table. We'll set up the board game of your choice and other choice tangibles on a small, flippable table and video you while you flip it! Then we'll post it to Facebook and YouTube, and you'll have lasting proof of how much of a rage-quitting bad-ass you are.
Help us make our vision a reality! Geek Bar will be a true communal effort, bringing together the disparate geek culture groups from the city, and providing a shared space to eat, to drink, and to gather - together. Chicago truly needs Geek Bar, and Geek Bar truly needs you.
Because at Geek Bar, you belong.
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenge once we get started is managing the licensing process of the city and the build-out of the space to keep on deadline. We have the power of one of the best realty groups in town behind us to help us navigate that process efficiently, and we have a number of consultants and allies on call that have gone through this process before. We're in the process of hiring an attorney that specializes in working with the city of Chicago's liquor licensing process.
Once we open, we will need to maintain quality standards including serving times and events that speak to the geeks out there that want to make this bar their home away from home. We have extensive event experience and will be using state-of-the-art tracking systems in the form of a specialized point-of-sale system designed to manage restaurant operations and give real-time reports to ensure that we're meeting the needs of our customers. We'll be using this same system to monitor operations to ensure top-quality service in the industry.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Starting a bar is an extremely expensive proposition. In an ideal world, we will have raised $500,000 by the time we open, of which Kickstarter is a part. Our investors have gotten us enough money to open a bare-bones bar. White walls, a bar, a kitchen, and a sign outside that says Geek Bar Chicago. Let's be honest here... That doesn't sound exciting or geeky. We can certainly do geeky things inside those walls, but when you walk into Geek Bar, you want to know you're there by the decor, the tables custom-made for geeks, the appropriate sound levels for geeking out, the geeky shows on the TVs, and the Iron Throne sitting there just waiting to be claimed.
As is well-known, Kickstarter does not accept projects to get seed funding for businesses. We probably all know several people that have been denied a campaign on that basis alone. So our strategy to get fully funded was to get our seed funding, enough to open that bare-bones bar at least, so that Kickstarter and our Kickstarter supporters would have the full confidence to know that they were backing a project that was going to happen for certain. What Kickstarter is helping us with from here is purely in the level of geekitude of the bar. Every dollar we raise on Kickstarter is another dollar of geekiness we can add to Geek Bar.
You are an essential part of building this bar for geeks, and we're proud to have the geek community supporting us every step of the way. Thank you!
As nerds, we're fans of data and research. Also, Data, but that's another story.
Kickstarter has all sorts of great information for us out there, like the fact that projects of $10,000 or less are far more likely to get funded. So we broke down all the various things we needed into smaller chunks and parsed them out over an initial goal and successive stretch goals. We've announced three stretch goals to get us to $70,000 that include another movie night, acoustic engineering, and HBO's Iron Throne. Each stretch goal will add a bonus reward as well. There are more beyond the $70,000 goal as well that we'll announce as we achieve each stretch goal.
Our ideal funding goal between Kickstarter, our equity investors, and various other deals we're working on to help us fully realize our concept is $500,000. Our equity partners already got us a significant part of the way there, enough that we're negotiating on locations now and getting our designers and contractors hired. All we need is the money to geek the place out, and that's where you come in. Every dollar raised on Kickstarter is another dollar of geekiness for the bar.
We are seeking locations primarily in and around the "Geek Triangle" between Uptown, Lincoln Square, and Lakeview where we’ve found tremendous success with geek events with Chicago Game Lovers and other events that we’ve both run and participated in as organizers.
Our space requirements are a minimum of 3,000 square feet of space that is divisible or could be in build-out, typically in the form of multiple distinct rooms or multiple floors to the building, that can allow us to hold events at the same time as maintaining top standards for restaurant and bar operations. It must be easily accessible by public transit and have acceptable parking options for people that come from farther away.
We have three primary locations that we’re considering at this time, and we are looking for more locations in the event that our primary locations fall through for any reason while we work towards funding.
When we say that our vision is to Celebrate Geekdom In All Its Forms, that goes for the food too. In fact, you can see Chef Tom making one of our favorite vegetarian options, Gold Coins, in our Update #4 video! Gold Coins are going to be a deep-fried goat cheese medallion with a chick pea relish and an eggplant reduction. Even non-vegetarians are going to love this and many of our other dishes for sure.
We recognize that the geek community has a lot of people with food lifestyle choices and/or allergies that require dishes that cater to their needs. Something beyond just another salad or a defrosted Boca Burger. We also know that there are a ton of food geeks out there that want something really fantastic to explore on their plates. We believe that we're be able to delight you with some pretty amazing options, no matter what your food inclinations are.
Geek Bar Chicago is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of guests in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate at Geek Bar Chicago, except in select pre-scheduled events. Guests violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from Geek Bar Chicago at the discretion of management. Our anti-harassment policy can be found at: http://www.geekbarchicago.com/anti-harassment
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