‘Geeks Be Gone!’ Party Invite in Gaslamp Angers Comic-Con Fans

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Event graphic by The Smoking Gun bar in Gaslamp Quarter came down Thursday. Image via Twitter

By Ken Stone

A Gaslamp Quarter bar called The Smoking Gun is taking heat after posting an event on Facebook that many took as critical of Comic-Con-goers.

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Its “first annual” Geeks Be Gone! party was set for July 23 — the Monday after an expected 135,000 attendees clear out of the San Diego Convention Center and environs.

“Party people reclaim the Gaslamp,” said the posting. “It’s our turn to party.”

Flamed on social media, the event posting was removed Thursday.

On a San Diego Reddit page, user Juanpablo_the_cat identified himself as the general manager of the 555 Market Street “laid-back bar with tabletop games doling out Southern-inspired fare & seasonal cocktails.”

The Smoking Gun on Market Street in Gaslamp Quarter. Image via Goole Maps

“It was a huge verbiage mistake on our behalf,” the GM wrote. “Being a San Diegian [sic] veteran, I love comic Con and all the attendees.”

He said the bar was simply throwing a post-convention party for “all those who work downtown tirelessly by offering a half off the bar night for them.”

The GM apologized to San Diego, saying: “We never meant to cause harm or offend anyone.”

Not everyone was forgiving — as noted in stories on bleedingcool.com and an unofficial Comic-Con blog.

On Reddit, one person said: “Imagine there was some kind of NAACP conference in town, and you let ‘slip’ an advertisement that said ‘no blacks allowed.’ Then you might understand why it wasn’t taken as ‘cute.'”

User Martin Boruta posted a review on the bar’s Facebook page: “All the backpedalling in the world will not make a lick of difference in getting me to visit this establishment when I’m in town.”

He called it a kind of crass marketing that could “only come from alpha-male ex-high school jocks that are threatened by the fact that they are not top of the food chain anymore.”

User Beaujean Betouliere said the bar’s name is fitting “for a business stupid enough to have shot themselves in the foot by alienating a huge community of people that bring massive amounts of business to San Diego every year.”

Said user Justin Lemme: “Hope your ‘Bros Only’ business fails miserably and a new, more friendly business takes over that welcomes ComiCon attendees into their establishment. Serious Mistake.”

And user Sandy Davis wrote: “I’m in the military here in San Diego, and most of us are proud Nerds and Geeks. Do you have any idea how fast word spreads through the Military?”

But one defender popped up Friday.

“I don’t know man,” wrote user Rick Waldron. “The response to this is why I avoided nerds and geeks in high school despite having a backpack full of comics. You guys are more toxic then the jocks.”

Twitter user Adrianna Lincoln of San Diego apparently lit the fire around 6 p.m. Thursday, with a tweet to a Comic-Con fan account.

“@HallHLine can you get the word out not to go to The Smoking Gun SD in the gaslamp because I guess we ruin their fun,” Lincoln posted — leading to a retweet to 12,300 followers.

The Smoking Gun did not immediately respond to voice mail and Facebook requests for comment.

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