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1637 N. Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622


Street-Level Youth Media is a non-profit, media arts literacy organization serving Chicago's youth.  We teach audio engineering, mixing, video production, digital photography, online journalism, and more.  If you are between the ages of 12 through 24, all of our programs and services are free.

If you live in Chicago and are between 12 - 24 years old, come take part in one or all of our media arts programs, book a private studio session, use our computer lab or join one of our clubs.  We also host an open-mic on the first Friday of each month.  


SL @ Geek Bar

Nancy M. Abbate

SL @ Geek Bar 

On Sunday, March 15, 2015, some members of Street-Level’s Anime and Game Club spent some time at the Geek Bar’s all ages Funimation Brunch event. Our youth had the opportunity to meet with David Zoltan, the Fleet Admiral and leader of Geek Bar. In more common terms, David is the owner and corporate liaison at Geek Bar Chicago. He shared with Street-Level’s youth some insights into how he started and grew his business, as well as some helpful tips on the board game development process. 

Interview with David Zoltan:

SL:  What inspired you?

DZ:  Dr. Who. I thought why not open a place where people can come watch a show? I did six months of research, started doing fundraising, and learning about equity financing and debt financing. 

There is a lot that goes into creating, developing, and opening your own business. Pivot. If you can't keep going straight, pivot. You have to keep momentum going. Even when it seems like you are getting nowhere, or that your end goal will never be accomplished, just keep moving. Success does not always travel along a straight path; sometimes you will have to pivot in order to get to where you want to be. 

The key to making Geek Bar come to life was creating the space. Once the space was found, my team and I were able to open to the public in just nine days. I would recommend, however, not opening a business in nine days, but rather, to take your time.

 Ultimately I wanted to bring the geek community together. It is important to build a community with a bunch of people who make you feel welcome. Geek Bar is a community center with a bar attached.

SL: Favorite superhero?

DZ: Green Lantern, because of Jong's brilliant mind. I think the Green Lantern mythology is the best in comic world.

SL: Any future plans for Geek Bar?

DZ: I plan to expand nationally.

SL: What is the next big event for Geek Bar?

DZ:  Geeky Trivia takes place every Thursday from 8-10pm. Geeky trivia is actually pretty challenging because geeky categories really have no boundaries. The categories can range anywhere from anime to art history to chemistry.

 SL: What are your top five favorite board games?

1. Terra Mystica

2. Battlestar Gallactica

3. Puerto Rico

4. Settlers of Catan

5. Egizia

And I also enjoy playing

6. Helios

"If you play to learn, that's how you have fun."

- David Zoltan

SL: We are currently working on developing a board game. Do you have any suggestions for us?

 DZ: You've got to create a game that attracts the audience you are tailoring it to. What you choose will make a difference. Test it many, many times. Test it with your friends, then test it with people who aren't your friends and see how the game looks through their eyes. You can take people's advice, but you also don't have to. You have to weigh both options. Test, play, test, play.


Street-Level’s Anime and Game Club have been working over the past semester on developing an original board game. They’ve only completed about 12% of the development process and believe they have a long way to go, but have been super excited about the process! Once their game is developed further, they plan to host an event at Geek Bar to test it with a larger audience.

 You can keep posted on the activities of the Anime and Game Club, including upcoming dates for BOARD GAME TESTING by signing up for Street-Level’s Newsletter, where you’ll also get info. on program activities, showcases, and fundraising campaigns! You can also follow Street-Level’s Anime Club on Facebook and Instagram!

 To learn more about the awesome folks and events at Geek Bar, you can subscribe to their newsletter, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram.



Also, if you have any comments, questions, or words of encouragement for our Street-Level board game developers, we hope you’ll share with us. Thank you!