Geek Easy, Cloak & Blaster offer geeky spin on bar atmosphere
Those who can't make it to the far, far away galaxy of their favorite video game or comic book need not despair any longer. Two pubs have arisen to rule the Orlando geek kingdom.
Upon entering either the Geek Easy or the Cloak & Blaster, the fandom references soothe the senses.
To reach the former, one must go through a comic shop, aptly named A Comic Shop, to the back entrance.
Once inside, patrons are met with the silhouettes of popular characters, ranging from Mew to Harley Quinn.
Across the room at the bar, customers are illuminated by light fixtures in the shape of Super Mario Bros. question blocks.
With the bar having officially opened in 2013, one of the current owners and Batman fan Troy Doerner describes the Geek Easy as a "safe haven for nerds."
"[It's] somewhere where everyone could congregate and get along, sit down, have a beer and talk about your comics," Doerner said. "We talked about it being a sports bar for nerds. There's no sports, but we have the latest Marvel movie on."
Walking in to The Geek Easy, one might run into a screening or an open mic night. If it's Tuesday, things start to have a competitive edge with Geek Trivia.
Despite many places closing, Doerner states that there has been a "giant profit increase this past year."
Coty Rodriguez, a junior history major and a huge anime fan, has been going to The Geek Easy long before its official opening.
"For years, [it was] the only place I knew about to meet other nerdy people," Rodriguez said. "You can just go, and if you don't know anyone, you can hang out by yourself. You can talk to the owner and they kind of integrate you."
The Cloak & Blaster is more of a pub than a bar, serving geek-themed food choices, such as the Smaug Burger and the Triforce Sampler.
Comprised of two floors, attendees downstairs can eat away while watching Lord of the Rings or, more frequently, Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the screens by the bar.
Access to the Wii U and Xbox One define the second-story lounge, where anyone can sit down for a while to play Destiny, Hyrule Warriors or simply watch a Twitch stream.
While it's the closest to UCF, it's the newest of the two, having only officially opened in September.
Tolkien fan Andrea Zimmerman, along with her Trekkie husband Markus, came up with the idea for the Cloak & Blaster while bar hopping during their honeymoon.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the pub opened for beta testing this summer.
"I've always wanted to start a restaurant that was Lord of the Rings or Tolkien themed," Zimmerman said. "My husband and I talked about creating a place for adults to drink beer, get together and play games."
Despite being new to the area, Zimmerman stated that "during our first week of beta testing, we were packed every single day."
Both locations provide board games, as well as events throughout the month.
Cloak & Blaster events include anything from fictional-character birthday parties to weekend-long extravaganzas and monthly Hearthstone meetings.
Courtney Furiosi is a senior, marketing major and self-proclaimed Whovian.
"I would say the most difficult thing is finding your kind of geek," said Furiosi about finding a place to hang out in Orlando. "That's why I like the Cloak & Blaster so much. You don't have to be too geeky to go there. It's just a nice place for people who like similar things to be."