If you like an idea but you aren’t sure if everyone likes it too, the cool new thing to do is start a Kickstarter campaign and then only do the idea if everyone says they agree. It’s super smart way to go, we just wish we knew about it before we decided to execute our ill-fated date “just pull your dick out there at the picnic and she’ll probably go for it” plan. Just so we’re clear, if you live near us this counts as us notifying you about that stuff. …oh and the “8 bit bar” is using Kickstarter to try and get their geeky bar idea off the ground, so we chatted them up to talk about their plans.
We decided that St. Louis nerds and geeks NEED a place to congregate and know that they are in good company- the company of fellow individuals who share an interest in the less mainstream pursuits, such as science fiction, technology, video games, anime, intellectual pursuits, and almost anything else “geeky” one can imagine.
Our dream is to create a social hub that brings people together in an environment that enables them to use their common interests and passions to build relationships with the business, the community and each other.
Who’s involved in the project? Veteran bar people or is this something new for you?
The driving force behind this bar is myself, Tim Scherer, I’ve been bartending at the International Tap House for several years now. So to answer your question, yes opening the business is a new venture for me, but we’ve got a great network of veteran bar owners that I’ve been tapping into on a regular basis to help me when I have questions or concerns. Everyone has been very supportive and helpful.
It’s a great idea, but what started this idea for you and made you try to bring it to reality?
Before any of this was even a glimmer in my mind’s eye, I was working in the United Kingdom managing the public relations for a Boeing/Rolls Royce research center. I worked there for 5 years (2005 until 2010) when, like a lot of people in this economic climate, I was laid off. Without the work visa, I basically had to abandon my the life I had built for myself there and come back home and move back in with my parents – this was when I was 30.
Not long after I was home, I started my job search and was not having any luck finding a job, so decided that in the meantime, I needed to keep busy, so kept on working on my MBA and I applied for a bartender position at the International Tap House. I started as a barback doing all the fun things barbacks get to do, and eventually worked my way up to bartender. As my job hunt continued to fail, I decided in late 2010 that I needed a back up plan in case I couldn’t get back into PR, so I thought about opening a bar.
Early on I decided that we wanted the bar to be a social hub, but I wanted it to be about things that I was interested in, nice beers, science-fiction, board games, video games, etc….These are all things that have the common thread of “Geek” running through them, and are things that I know and love to talk about. When you have something to talk about and share interests, you can build relationships which are critical to the service industry and especially bars. I like to think of the “product” as relations those relationships.
Is there a general time frame for all these plans?
Our Kickstarter page is going to run for 38 days. It ends on Monday, April 16. The thing about Kickstarter is, that you have to reach your funding goal or you don’t get any of the money. If we do reach our goal, figure it will take us 3-4 months to build out the location, so I’m thinking late August or early September for opening. Wish us luck!
Do you have a location picked out?
When we originally conceived the idea for this bar, we wanted to put it in South City. We felt it had the right “vibe” as well as the right demographic for the services and entertainment we were offering. However, we have literally been across the city trying to find the right location for bar, and after about 4 months of looking we think that we have the right location chosen, 3407 California St. just of Cherokee. It’s a 4000 square foot historic building and has a lot of the things that we need to get started, but there’s still a lot of work we’d need to do to take it from an empty space to a bar.
How much money do you think you’d need to get started?
The business plan has been in the works for around 8 months now. During that time we’ve been meeting with potential suppliers and cost everything out – and not surprisingly, the costs add up quickly. Having said that we think that to get the bar up and running we’re going need to raise $68,000. If we exceed our goal we’ll be able to offer a lot more at our opening, but $68,000 is the minimum we need.
Clearly, this is a lot of money, but we think that with the Kickstarter rewards we’re offering coupled with the incredible amount of support we’ve generated will make this an achievable goal.
We’ll never know if a geeky bar can make a go of it in St. Louis unless they hit their Kickstarter goal though, so if you’re interested, throw a few bucks their way. We offered to pick the bar up, look in to real close, cuss a few times, and then blow in it while we move the bar up and down to get it going, but they said they’d rather just have the cash. Give them some here.