Brooklyn's Steampunk Hangout
The Way Station has been described as "the de facto clubhouse of the NYC steampunk scene"
You've heard of sports bars and cop bars and dive bars, but The Way Station in Brooklyn is a nerd bar. You can tell from the moment you walk into the joint, as a full-sized TARDIS is in a corner. In "Doctor Who," the TARDIS transports you to distant times and places. At The Way Station, it provides convenient access to the restroom.
The cocktail menu includes concoctions such as the "Picard Maneuver" (Earl Grey and honey infused Bourbon) and a selection of "Sonic Screwdrivers," each named for a Doctor Who character. Two drinks ("4th Doctor" and "Dark and Stormageddon") feature Kraken Rum as an ingredient.
The Way Station caters to geeks of all stripes, but it's a favorite hangout for steampunks. In fact, it's "the de facto clubhouse of the NYC steampunk scene," according to NYC Steampunk, which included it as a location on the "Steampunk Map of New York City."
This self-described "Music Venue and Nerdvana" is the brainchild of Andy Heidel, who founded it in 2011 after many years as a book publicist. As a publicity manager for HarperCollins, he launched the Eos imprint and directed campaigns for books by Terry Pratchett, Neal Stephenson and Neil Gaiman. He's also an accomplished science-fiction author. As R. Andrew Heidel, he penned Desperate Moon, a short story collection that drew praise from Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury. Another Heidel book, The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy, shares his mixology tips.
The idea for the TARDIS came from Doc Wasabassco, who helped Heidel build the bar and is best known as a producer of "neo-burlesque" entertainment. In addition to the TARDIS, there's an old fire extinguisher turned into a bar tap, and a steampunky fan that serves as a visual pun. At the end of the bar, a small Dalek sits atop a bookshelf.
"Steampunk is the perfect blend of science fiction and fantasy with Victorian sensibilities," Heidel told us. "I wanted to make The Way Station unique, which is also why I decided to go with that motif."
The Way Station includes a stage for live music and standup comedy, and hosts recurring events such as the "Geeks Who Drink" trivia contest and "Nerdeoke."
It's located at 683 Washington Ave. in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Hours are 4 p.m. to close daily, including Saturdays and Sundays.
Photos by Gail Heidel. Used by permission of The Way Station.