Nerds Are Stoked About St. John’s First Geek Bar

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In early September, The Rock House Pub, a small bar above The Rock House, was transformed into the city’s first Geek Bar. Self-described Manager and Mastermind, Jody Bowen, was behind the traditional pub’s nerdy make over. 

“We are technically part of The Rock House, we like to say we’re Freaks and Geeks upstairs, and they’re Rock n’ Roll downstairs,” Bowen explained.

Bowen started bartending at The Rock House Pub after moving home from Edinburgh, where she worked as an event planner who organized nights like Sci-Fi Burlesque and Zombie Cosplay. In August, she approached the pub’s owners with a proposition to revamp their quiet bar into a geek haven.

“The owners took a huge leap of faith, they’re old school pub owners, I don’t think they understood what a geek bar was when I approached them,” Bowen said.

“In this economic climate it’s hard to take a chance on something completely unkown. We love the space we’re creating, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it if they hadn’t taken that chance, so I’m incredibly grateful.”

Bowen started setting up The Geek Bar on a shoestring budget. She joked that she pretty much moved her entire apartment into the pub. The bar has a stockpile of board games, a Super Nintendo set up on a flat screen in the back, and a classic NES system set up in the front.

Customers have been helping convert the space into a bonafide geek den by donating everything from graphic novels and cosplay masks, to hand-crocheted Totoro and Poké Ball artwork.

Bowen is excited about some special events the bar has lined up for the coming weeks. One is a series of Dungeons and Dragons Newbie Nights (beginning November 26th), where people will have a chance to learn the basics of how to get into the game.

She’s also looking forward to the Geekdom Christmas Market (December 6th), a mini-market where local artisans who make fandom arts and crafts will be selling their wares.

The Geek Bar also hosts lots of regular events including weekly movie marathons and quiet craft nights. Every Saturday they set up a letter writing station that provides clientele with all the required accoutrements including stationary and wax seals. Bowen also provides letter requests from a site called The World Needs More Love Letters, for anyone who doesn’t have a recipient in mind.

“You seal it up and we’ll pay the postage for you. I go every Monday morning and post all that good Karma out into the universe,” Bowen said.

Bowen is a warm and enthusiastic person and you can hear the pride in her voice when she describes the cozy space she’s created, with the help of her devoted staff and customers.

“We tried to set the bar up to be as inclusive and welcoming to absolutely everyone as possible. I like to call it a really friendly geeky dive bar, but a lot of people have said it’s sort of become their second home.”

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Eva Crocker

Eva Crocker is a writer from St. John’s, her short story collection, Barrelling Forward, was published by House of Anansi Press in 2017.

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