By NATHAN GARDNER
Somewhere, in a faraway land, there resides a magical tavern unlike any other. While most taverns were filled with orcs and trolls – swilling pints of beer and gulping mounds of questionable food, shouting over each other to be heard, each trying to establish their place of leadership over the others – the tavern of this story draws a fairer folk.
Elves, dwarves and hobbits; wizards, witches and muggles; superheroes, Jedi, Klingons, aliens and mythical gods. All who visit this tavern are welcome, nay encouraged, to be themselves and partake of games, food and merrymaking more suitable to their natures.
At Waypoint 6 Tavern & Geekery, a short ride across the Bay of Tampa and into the land of Largo, football is swapped for quidditch, beer pong for board games and trivia for Cards Against Humanity.
“That place sounds super cool,” said Veronica Gray, junior writing major. “As someone who identifies as a geek/nerd, it is rare to find these places outside of a convention.”
There was a sign in the door that, according to one Tampa Bay Times article, that was seen on the internet more than 700,000 times. This sign was a line in the sand. “Sports Fans,” it began, “This is not a sports bar!”
If that wasn’t clear enough, the sign continued: This tavern “was designed by geeks for geeks to enjoy their geeky delights…We will NOT be showing sports unless it is Battlebots, drone racing or quidditch.”
“We made a choice that this restaurant was designed for geeks and we needed to stand by our decision,” Kevin Daniels, Waypoint 6 owner, said. “The announcement went viral and just a few seemed really upset by our choice, but their comments were replied to by other patrons telling them to calm down and go to another place.”
From whence does this earthly replication of Tatooine’s Mos Eisley Cantina come?
“My wife and I have been performers in many theater events as well as local festivals,” Daniels said. “And after rehearsals or performances we would go out with friends and cast members and there was never really a spot we felt truly catered to our likes. We always felt that there should be a place where the food, drinks and décor was geared towards fans of the geek life.”
Daniels, along with wife Stephanie, left their jobs earlier this year to open the tavern which has been adorned with comic books, Lucha Libre masks and Hogwarts house flags.
“There are over eighty-seven sports bars in this area to choose from but only one Geekery,” Waypoint’s famous sign read. That truth has meant more demand than supply. Not a bad position for a bar to be in, but maybe less desirable as a patron.
“We got there at 7:30 p.m. and they were already sold out,” Kat Christie commented on a Facebook post about Waypoint’s Cards Against Humanity night.
“Dude. There was no room!” Maria Becker commented on another. “We got there at 7 and the parking lot was packed.”
One thing about geeks: they understand.
“We have been blown away by how many people love the idea and want us to open more locations all over the world now,” Daniels said. “I am not exaggerating, we have had messages as far away as Australia complimenting us on taking this risk and asking us to bring this to them as well.”
Waypoint 6 will be hosting some as-yet-to-be-announced events around the holidays to benefit the Makers United for Children’s Hope Foundation (M.U.C.H.). Founded in 2015, M.U.C.H. partners with companies like Microsoft, Unlimited Tomorrow and Artix Entertainment to provide advanced technology to special needs children, including robotic limbs and sight and hearing implements.
In true geek fashion, when M.U.C.H representatives meet children they show in full Hollywood-quality costumes – there are princesses and superheroes, Star Wars and Spiderman, among many others. A noble organization made in Geek Heaven.
Waypoint 6 will also be hosting a New Year’s Eve party. The downside? You’ll have to buy a ticket. The upside? The tickets will limit the number of people attending, so if you buy one you’ll be sure to get in and, bonus, your ticket will include some food and drinks.
“We are very proud to be a part of the geek community and we will strive to make more events to bring all the nerds and geeks together in a spot where anyone can come in cosplay and feel full accepted and not bothered for letting their geek flag fly,” Daniels said.
Nathan Gardner can be reached at email@example.com