You don’t have to be a geek, and it doesn’t have to be a date, for you to have fun at Geek Date Night, according to event host Rob Callahan. “If you’re honestly apprehensive about going because you don’t have a date, I’ll be your date,” he says. “But only until after the movie. After that, I’m going home to wash my hair.”
Since leaving its old venue, Clubhouse Jäger, the popular Tuesday-night trivia series has moved to self-described geek bar Byte, located in downtown Minneapolis, where a suitably nerdy happy hour beginning at 9:00 p.m. allows patrons to roll a 20-sided die for discounts. And starting next month, it will add a second night, at the Nomad World Pub.
Essentially, Geek Date Night is a weekly pub quiz—a chance for nerds and non-nerds alike to come together and test their knowledge and win prizes. Categories include trivia basics such as geography and current events but also extend into inventive and more specific entertainment themes such as “Will Smith or Won’t Smith” and “Looking for Love in Alderaan Places.”
“In the ‘September Morn’ round you have to guess whether a line of poetry is, in fact, poetry that was once recited as a gag in a Star Trek episode or if it’s song lyrics Neil Diamond wrote when he was stoned in the seventies,” Callahan said. “One round is called ‘Sci-Fi Hi-Fi,’ and you have to combine clues about a musical artist and a science-fiction franchise and create a mashup of their names, such as Rihannamator, Bachman Turner Maximum Overdrive, the Empire Strikes Beck, or Do Androids Dream of Electric Light Orchestra.”
Other rounds involve album-cover identification or visual puns. Most participants enjoy a meal and drinks at the venue before the game gets rolling at 7:00 p.m. Prizes include bar tabs, board games, and books.
“Bar tabs are pretty standard prizes at trivia events around the world, and the games are given out to the second-place winners every week on the basis that they need to step up their game,” Callahan explained. “If you take last place, you get books because you need to read more.”
After the game has wrapped, participants can stay to watch a screening of a different quintessentially “geeky” movie each week. The last movie of September will be Blade (September 26), followed by Halloween-appropriate selections during October: The Book of Life (October 3), Starship Troopers (October 10), and Shaun of the Dead (October 17). When the winter holidays roll around, Callahan said Geek Date Night can promise the best available recording of the atrocious yet ever-popular Star Wars Holiday Special.
The series almost met its end when Callahan decided to walk away from Clubhouse Jäger when he and the rest of the Twin Cities found out its owner, Julius Jaeger De Roma, had made a financial contribution to white supremacist David Duke. (Within days, Jäger’s entire staff later quit, and the bar closed.) But he underestimated the local interest in the event—Byte was the first of several venues to reach out to him about continuing the series.
“I never expected it to become more than just a quiet little movie and trivia night among my friends and me, but it gained a following and now it’s this much bigger thing that I’m responsible for running,” Callahan said. “If it gets any bigger, I’ll probably have to turn it into a business and hire additional hosts.”
Geek Date Night is Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. at Byte, 319 1st Avenue North, Minneapolis. Starting October 2, it will also be Monday nights at the Nomad, located at 501 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis’s West Bank neighborhood. For more updates on Geek Date Night, visit their Facebook page here.