If you happen to find yourself in Vancouver, British Columbia or Toronto, Ontario and are looking for a place to go out to that is filled with fandoms, horror, science-fiction, and all things geeky, look no further. Storm Crow Alliance has three of the nerdiest bars that you can find in Canada, and my nerd heart could not be happier to tell you about them.
Jessica, from the Manor in Toronto, describes what Storm Crow’s bars represent: “Many people in our community have spent their lives trying to find a place where they can be themselves without judgment and can find kindred nerdy spirits. We want the Storm Crow nerd bars to be places where they can gather and have a happy, joyful nerdy time.”
Game developer and entrepreneur Jason Kapalka opened the first location in 2012 as a “sports bar for geeks.” If his name sounds familiar, it is because he is the designer of the popular games Bejeweled, Peggle, and Plants vs. Zombies. Kapalka was also a writer for the video games Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle, Bookworm, and Alchemy. A good majority of the decor in each location is part of his own memorabilia collection. He also had a hand in creating some, including the Warhammer-influenced change table in the all-gender bathroom below.
Each location has a design and flare of its own where you can sit enjoy some food and drinks while playing a role-playing, board, or card game. Speaking of role-playing games, each location has an option called “DM & Dine.” Whether you are an experienced D&D player, a DM wanting a night off, or newbie, you will have a great time while rolling for initiative. Supplied by Storm Crow, during the three-hour game are character sheets, dice, and food for your group of five or six people. If you do not have a large group, you can enjoy a “One Shot Adventure,” and if you want to learn how to be a Dungeon Master (DM), the “DM Workshops” are the place to be.
The first location that opened is the Storm Crow Tavern, located on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. While it is the smallest location out of the three, it is still full of various nerdiness while still keeping the tavern look. The second location in Vancouver is located on West Broadway is the Alehouse. It has a giant Golden Age sci-fi mural on one of the walls.
The latest bar to open in 2018 is the Manor, which is in a Victorian mansion on Church Street in Toronto. This location is a nerdvana wonderland with something for every fan. The Manor also has the most themes incorporated in the layout. They include The Black Lodge, The Nautilus Room, a Jules Verne 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea-inspired room that is a hidden room accessible only from behind a moveable bookcase, The Apothecary, The Cyberpunk Room, The Shelley Bar, The Heaven and Hell mini-rooms, and a Frankenstein-themed bar area.
Throughout the year, they host a wide range of events at all the locations like Weekend Brunch, various trivia nights, Star Trek Picard viewing parties, Quest and Queers, Family Days, and more. It is time for a “Critical hit of the heart!” In celebration of Valentine’s Day, the Manor (the Toronto location) is holding a three-course meal available from February 14-16. The event is called Storm Crow is for Lovers! Guests will have a choice of one appetizer, entrée, and a shared dessert call The Valententacle. The desert is a unique cake created exclusively for them by the Grand Order of Divine Sweets (GOoDS) – you can read about GOoDS here. Everything comes with Intermezzo, which is oysters on the half-shell with a mignonette sauce, plus a complimentary D20 roll that will reveal a random shot for you to try. “We love to celebrate love in all forms – tentacles included!” – someone tell Dean Winchester.
A nerdy bar must-have geek-themed drinks and food, right? Of course it does. A lot of the menu names are thought of by Jason and the Storm Crow team. The Potion Masters concoct exotic drinks that mix delicious taste and fandom. Guests can also choose a d20 Random Shot, where they roll a d20 to determine what shot they will try – a natural 20 is a vodka-lemon concoction in a souvenir shot glass they can keep. Other drinks on the menu are a Mezterio that is served with smoke, local craft beer, Butterbeer, Romulan Ale, Coffee A La Crow, Wakanda Smash, Cthulhu Tiki, The Machete, Vulcan Mindmeld, District 9, Blair Witch, Katniss Everdeen, Khal Drogo, Sith Lord, Dark Side Bowl, and many more.
The pub menu includes vegan and gluten-free options. Likewise, the drink menu can be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Some fandom named food dishes to try are the Storm Burger, Batman Beyond Burger made with a vegan patty, Teenage Mutant Deep Fried Pickles, The Adventure Zone fans can enjoy some Tacos by Taako, if you are in the mood for a salad try the Green Arrow Salad, Wolverine Poutine, Steak Sandwich of the Slayer, to name a few. To see the full menu of each location, you can go to their online lists here.
Storm Crow welcomes all nerds! For further information, you can go to stormcrow.com, where you can sign up for email notifications.