Geek Retreat, the brand new comics & gaming cafe based on Linthorpe Road, opened its door for the very first time this weekend

Geek Retreat, the brand new comics & gaming cafe based on Linthorpe Road, opened its door for the very first time this weekend
Geek Retreat, the new comic & gaming cafe on Linthorpe Road, is a short distance away from Teesside University

Geek Retreat, a new comics and gaming cafe in has opened for the very first time this weekend in central Middlesbrough.

Opening to a small queue of people at 10am on Saturday morning, the new multi purpose venue on Linthorpe Road offers a range food and drink, gaming merchandise, plus ample space to play all your favourite fantasy board games.

Specials included on the menu, include Geek Retreet’s sci-fi inspired milkshake range, including the likes of Chocolate Thunder; The Martain Manhunter and Jaffa The Hutt – perhaps unsurprisingly, consisting of a blend of Jaffa Cakes and ice cream.

The venue also has plans to hold specialist gaming events in the near future.

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“Absolutely manic, but genuinely surprised”

That was the verdict of store manager, Gered Langley in reaction to a busy opening morning.

“We’ve been trying to network,” he said on his attempts to advertise the weekends opening event, but was still “really pleased with the feedback straight away.”

But despite helping to extend the Glasgow based companies existing presence in the North-East, a move into cafe ownership was not an obvious one for the former care-worker.

It was only after working in the industry for 10-years and finding his management role becoming  “less about looking after the people and more about the admin” that he decided a change was required.

That realisation, coincided with the opportunity to become his own boss, as a franchise owner of a Geek focused cafe and noting the lack of anything like this in the area, Gered decided to take the plunge.

“I wanted to do something that was my thing and I really enjoyed doing” went on to explain the avid Dungeons & Dragons fans, as he set out his burning ambitions for the place going forward.

“There will be loads of free events, weekly tournaments and lots of new stock coming through.

“It’s a be-all shop for anything geeky, its a cafe first and then its a shop.

“You can just come in, bring your own games to play, enjoy the environment and get to meet new people.”

Manager and franchisee owner for Geek Retreat Middlesbrough, Gered Langley
Manager and franchisee owner for Geek Retreat Middlesbrough, Gered Langley

The Public’s reaction: “I think it’s quite essential”

One of the first people on the scene to try out the brand new venue were friends Carl, Lee, Lowri, Marc and La.

Interrupting a game of Magic the Gathering to ask for their first impressions, the five proved to be a tough but appreciative crowd.

“Could do with some work, but getting there” was Carl’s plain assessment, but he did see a positive future ahead.

“It’s fresh and definitely something that was needed in Middlesbrough, I think it’s going to gain traction” said Carl.

“I think it’s quite essential” added Lowri, who wen onto explain that other gaming options, like playing online, wouldn’t feel the same as playing in person amongst friends.

On a table not to far away, the more traditional board game of Monopoly could be found, with the family of Jonathan, Fiona, Edward and James enjoying a chance to to play at being ruthless property tycoons.

Commenting on how the new venue was”really good for kids”, Jonathan would go on to highlight a further important benefit of coming out to play at Geek Retreat;

“They cheat more in the house” he quipped, “and there’s too many distractions, like electronic devices.”

Also present on the opening morning were Marc and Kirsty, who had spent the morning enjoying Geek Retreat’s retro console, before relaxing with a milkshake and catching some Pokemon.

“I think it’s great” said Mark, who also commented that anything “nerdy” was a big draw for him.

And for Kirsty, who revealed she was a “reluctant” Pokemon Go convert, she felt the new venue providing some different for Middlesbrough.

“It’s not like anything in the area. It’s good.”

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Geek Retreat can be found at 255 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough (close to the mini Tesco) and is open 11am – 9pm weekedays, 10am – 8pm Saturday and 12pm – 7am Sunday.

More details on upcoming events can be found on the Geek Retreat, Middlesbrough Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/GeekRetreatMiddlesbrough/

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