Binge of the nerds

Hey Ace, what gives? I get all primped and cologned to go groove with the ladies at Rapture, but I get there and find a bunch of shrimpy dudes and mousy chicks playing live bar trivia, wearing taped glasses and suspenders and stuff, but not ironically, you know? I asked them who they were and what they were doing in my mack pad. They called themselves the Geeks Who Drink, and told me that Rapture was theirs now. Who are they really, Ace, and how can I reclaim my territory?—Alph Amaille

Don’t tell Ace you didn’t see this coming, Alph. The Geek Renaissance has been gestating for decades, and was arguably and finally ushered in with President Obama’s election—although it wasn’t until the 2009 Radio and TV Press Correspondents’ Dinner that John Hodgman, popularly known as Apple’s “I’m a PC” guy, would coronate Obama as “our first nerd president.” Never you mind the subtle differences in connotation between “geek” and “nerd,” Alph—or “dork” and “dweeb,” for that matter—because the explanation would probably be lost on you, who no doubt sees them all bearing resemblance to a punching bag, or an ATM machine, or something for stuffing in a locker.

Those days are over. And while Ace can attest to the fact that geekery and inebriation have never been opposed, the recent success of Geeks Who Drink is a sign of the times: It means that America’s Poindexters are now drinking socially.

Based in Denver, Geeks Who Drink has been setting up quiz nights in bars throughout Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and the state of Washington since 2006. Featuring a live MC and categories like “Douchebags of History” and “Country Music That Doesn’t Suck,” the full eight-round quiz lasts anywhere from two to three hours. Due to the nature of the event, audience enthusiasm and engagement run high: Bonus questions, for example, require contestants to bumrush the quizmaster with their answers, to score a free pint. Other prizes range from the useful—bar cash, primarily—to the bizarre, with a typical giveaway being a yodeling toy pickle.

September 10 marked Geeks Who Drink’s first and only foray so far onto the East Coast, at Charlottesville’s very own Rapture club. Founders Joel Peach and John Dicker estimate that it takes “between one to six months” to build a consistent crowd—meaning, Alph, that you’ve got a narrow window of opportunity to take back the night. How, you ask? The same way the Tri-Lambs vanquished the Alpha Betas: by besting them in the Greek Games.

Make it so, Alph. Which is to say, see you next Thursday at Rapture at 8pm, and don’t forget your Hitchhiker’s Guide.

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 20 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to

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