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Geek Bar Finds a Home in Lincoln Park, to Open in Late Spring

By Serena Dai | December 17, 2013 4:03pm
 Geek Bar will be located in Lincoln Park, 1960 N. Clybourn Ave.
Geek Bar will be located in Lincoln Park, 1960 N. Clybourn Ave.
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Geek Bar

LINCOLN PARK — A new bar just for geeks has finally tied down a location — 1960 N. Clybourn Ave., a two-story behemoth in Lincoln Park formerly home to two Mexican restaurants.

Geek Bar, a project of David Zoltan and parent company Cantina Forward, started a Kickstarter earlier this year to raise money for a bar dedicated to all things geeky, from comic books and fantasy board games to Dr. Who viewing parties and nerdy speaker events.

The highly anticipated project ultimately earned nearly $45,000 with 658 backers, far exceeding the original $9,750 goal.

Zoltan was planning on opening in Lakeview, a neighborhood he deemed to be one of the nerdiest in the city, but months of searching for a place with real estate company Baum Realty found that no location met all the Geek Bar's needs, Zoltan said.

  The bros, the gays, the soccer moms — and now, Lakeview can add "the geeks" to its list of resident stereotypes. A planned bar just for geeks follows a string of geek-themed events invading the neighborhood.
Geek Bar Lakeview
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They expanded their reach to Lincoln Park and found the two-story, 10,000 square-foot space at 1960 N. Clybourn Ave., near North Clifton Avenue., formerly home to Caliente and Lalo's Chicago.

"It's huge," Zoltan said. "Absolutely huge. It's going to allow us to really do some amazing things."

For one, two floors means that special events can happen on one floor while casual comic book readers and board game players can grab a drink and meal on the other, Zoltan said.

The "diverse nerd community," whether they be sci-fi lovers or fantasy lovers, will be able to have their own spaces, he said. And Katherine Darnstad of Latent Design, who has already drawn up initial sketches, "understands geeks tremendously," Zoltan said.

"I've been very excited about what they're showing us," he said.

Just one downside to the new location: Because it took so much longer than anticipated to find, the opening date has been delayed from March to April or later, Zoltan said. They still need to take down all the Mexican decorations and replace them with the Geek Bar decor, and the city still needs to approve all the required licenses.

Depending on construction, they may be able to open just one part of the bar before the other, Zoltan said.

"Nothing is for sure," he said. "We have a plan. We’re going to try to stick to that plan."