There's something to be said for commitment. While other board-game and theme bars offer a light garnish of geek for the normies, Belmont's kitsch-packed, comic-wallpapered The Nerd Out (3308 SE Belmont St., 503-233-1225, thenerdoutpdx.com) is a yearlong boozy comic-con—so aggressively nerdy you'd feel uncool being cool. The lights are cafeteria-bright, all the better to flip through back issues of Wolverine from the take-one-leave-one comic library.
Your bartender wears purple lipstick and elf ears, and the table up front might be dressed in Little Bo-Peep or Deadpool cosplay. If you don one of the house collection of kid-sized superhero masks to fit in, the woman playing with the 4-foot-tall Batman might loudly demand to be in your selfie while aping the Dark Knight's charcoal growl.
The food menu is a form of meta-joke. Alongside a few items like a deviled egg of the day, much of the food is what Peter Parker ate at Aunt May's: chicken soup, a pot roast, or chicken with sweet corn pudding.
The $9-to-$11 drinks on the cocktail menu are likewise in-jokes for the out crowd. The neon-blue Fantastic 4 is a numbingly sweet AMF by another name; an accomplished zombie comes with a burnt cocktail umbrella and is called a George Romero; the white Russian is called The Dude Abides. The staff is happy to explain anything you ask, but the menu descriptions are cheerfully oblique. As the description for the stout-cider-whiskey Plutoxin Seven states, "Your questions are really beginning to annoy me." In other words, speak nerd or fuck off.