If you’re female and a geek in Houston, we have got some really excellent spots where you can express your love for all things nerdy in a welcoming environment. Since finding those spots can be a chore sometime, here’s a handy list.
10. Neil’s Bahr
This is Houston's premiere geek bar and the unofficial after party spot of Comicpalooza. You can always find great games to play and good geek-themed trivia nights. I'm only ranking Neil's Bahr so low because you do occasionally bump into the creepy gentlesir with boundary issues, but most of the women I know who make Neil's a home base for a nerdy cocktail report it a safe enough space.
9. Houston Gaymer Meet Ups
For great local video game events that are both gender and sexuality inclusive, you're gonna want to like the Houston Gaymers Facebook page and look for their various meetups. Some, like the Gaymers Drag Show, are really out of this world, and for the civic-minded they're working on the local participants in the Extra Life charity. Participants get to game for up to 24-hours, and the proceeds benefit Texas Children's Hospital.
There are some rather unfortunate stories about how women get treated in local geek conventions, but nearly every report that I've heard out of our biggest, Comicpalooza, has been positive. Founder John Simons did not respond to an email request for specific anti-harassment policies, but an organizer for one of the Women and Diversity in Comics panels told us that the staff is very sensitive and willing to provide escorts for anyone that feels unsafe. Oh, and they offer a nursing area for breastfeeding mothers, which is a very nice bonus.
7. Ettin Games and Hobbies
241 FM 1960 Bypass Road East
A place that gets consistently good feedback from Houston women geeks is Etting Games out in Humble. They get a particularly nice thumbs up from local fantasy author Angel Pidcock...
Ettin Games and Hobbies has been fantastic. They're warm, welcoming to everyone regardless of gender, race, or geekdom. Every single employee remembers you by name, it really feels more like an extension of home than it feels like just another retail store. I'm very proud as a geeky, gaming girl to consider it my home away from home for all things tabletop!
6. Station Theater
Comedy has a somewhat rough reputation for newcomers, with very much a No Safe Space attitude more prevalent than is strictly necessary. Station Theater has the cure for the more extroverted nerds in the world. They have a very strict policy on punching up rather than down, and a tremendously welcoming and encouraging atmosphere.
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As owner Viator Smith told us...
Our priorities are to make everyone feel welcome. We have regular events for Space City Lady Planeswalkers, a Magic: The Gathering group, and we're also listed on Planeswalkers for Diversity. Houston Houston LGBT Game Night hasheld meet ups at the store as well. Our Wednesday D&D nights are the most diverse by all measures that I've ever seen and our other RPG events are equally well attended by a good mix of people.
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4. Alamo Drafthouse
114 Vintage Park J & 531 South Mason
The most cinematically and drunkenly feminist thing I have ever done is watch Death Proof at Alamo Drafthouse with my wife and a bucket of Ace Pear Cider. They have absolutely amazing special events constantly that cater to all kinds of geek markets, and the constant attention by the servers keeps creeps and troublemakers away. Oh, and keep an eye out for their Geeks Who Drink events.
3. Geek Girl Brunch
This is an international organization started in New York City, and we have a chapter here in Houston that plans regular events. "We strive to be LGBTQIA inclusive and plan a variety of events that other geek girls would enjoy," says officer Stephanie McFall. "In the past, we have had a video game brunch, a villains brunch, and a strong women in anime brunch. We also went to go see Ghostbusters as a group and had an impromptu Pokémon Go hunt after the movie. Get-togethers are once a month-ish.
2. Bedrock City Comic Company
Over the least several years the Bedrock City chain has really stepped up their game catering to female fans. Ladies Nights are a common occurrence, for instance. Still, when it comes to a welcoming comic environment it still has to be...
1. 8th Dimension Comics and Games
No one walks the walk as a safe space for lady geeks like 8th Dimension. They were the ones that got the Ladies Night concept really going in Houston to wild success, and they work with local Girl Scouts to foster an interest in comics and gaming from a young age. "It's one of the few comic shops where I have always felt welcome and the ONLY one that ever made me feel comfortable enough to DM for Dungeons and Dragons," says customer Larissa Evans. It remains consistently one of the brightest spots for geeky girls and women in the city.