GeeksNGlory LLC: A gathering spot for gamers
-December 7th, 2017
Stepping into GeeksNGlory gaming bar feels like jumping into an Xbox.
A bright green strip splits the dark walls. The dim lighting and minimalist black furniture are illuminated by bright green lights beneath the chairs, sofas, and bar. Television monitors hug the walls and display a variety of video games released in the last 40 years. On the ceiling are plastered wall décor of characters from favorite video games, such as the Kingdom Hearts games, Final Fantasy VII, and the Halo series.
GeeksNGlory LLC opened Nov. 17 in 1,500 square feet of space in a standalone building at 6710 E. Sprague, says Martin Russell, co-owner. So far, Russell and co-owner George Humphries III are the only employees.
The space was empty and needed some renovation, says Russell.
He and Humphries chose to open up a gaming bar as a way to unite geeks in the Spokane area, he says.
“We just wanted a place where gamers and nerds could hang out and a place that we could chill, so that was the main reason we (opened GeeksNGlory),” says Russell.
First and foremost, Russell says, the business is a bar. Bar entry and gameplay are free.
“I don’t believe that we should charge to play video games. Why charge for something you can play at home for free?” he says.
The bar has two PlayStation 4 consoles, one Xbox One system, and one Wii U, along with older gaming systems, like the Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis, he says. Altogether, the bar has about 1,000 games.
“A lot of them are just games we’ve collected over the years,” Russell says.
The owners constantly buy new games for the bar, a few each week, he says.
“We usually spend the tip money on games because that’s probably what we’d do with tip money anyway,” he says, laughing.
The bar also features eight Raspberry Pi 3 systems that feature about 8,000 games each, he says.
Russell says gaming bars are becoming trendy, but GeeksNGlory stands out because of its emphasis on console games rather than arcade games.
The gaming bar does, however, have a Pandora’s Box system, which holds 700 arcade games that people can play for free, he says.
Right now, GeeksNGlory offers beer, cocktails, liquor, and wine, he says.
The quirky drink menu contains a selection of handmade concoctions referencing popular gaming culture, drinks like Bowser’s Breath, a mixture of apple-flavored whisky, cinnamon whiskey, soda, and sweet-and-sour cocktail mix.
“Our goal is to create more than just a place for people to drink and play video games,” says Russell. “We really want to build up a community, the geek and nerd community.”
In January, GeeksNGlory will host a meeting to educate attendees on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, he says.
Russell says GeeksNGlory will hold video game development workshops and acting workshops, too.
The bar also partners with live streaming service Twitch, owned by Twitch Interactive Inc., and has an account to help give exposure to streamers who choose to use it, he says.
The owners plan to create their own YouTube series in the bar as well, he says, adding that he hopes that within a few years revenue from online content will surpass liquor sales at the gaming bar.
The owners also plan on holding cosplay contests each month and send repeat winners to the annual Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, says Russell.
“Cosplay” is short for costume play, which involves people dressing up as characters from fictional works and often acting like that character at events.
Russell says a Christmas-themed cosplay party is planned for Dec. 23, and another party is scheduled on New Year’s Eve, he says.
The bar is hosting seven gaming tournaments this month, the first on Dec. 11, he says.
He says he hopes to sponsor gamers that consistently win the tournaments for Major League Gaming qualifiers.
Major League Gaming is a division of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision Blizzard Inc. that specializes in “e-sports,” which is short for electronic sports.
Russell describes e-sports as competitive video game playing with a large following.
“We’re hoping to create a better industry, and it will be cool for a lot of people to compete with professional gamers,” he says.
Russell previously worked in cybersecurity, and Humphries worked in retail. After they were both laid off, they thought it was the perfect opportunity to open GeeksNGlory.
Russell says the bar is entirely self-funded. It cost about $50,000 to open. Along with other ways of raising money, he sold his entire comic book collection and used the proceeds to help open the gaming bar. Humphries used a portion of his inheritance money, and family—especially Humphries’ father—pitched in to help open the bar.
“We put every last dime of our own money into it,” says Russell.
GeeksNGlory is open every day from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.