3308 SE Belmont St., 503-233-1225, thenerdoutpdx.com. 4 pm-close Tuesday-Sunday. Happy hour 4-6 pm Tuesday-Friday: $1 off drafts and starters.

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 is a yearlong boozy comic-con—so aggressively nerdy you'd feel uncool being cool. 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 descriptions of menu items are cheerfully oblique. As the blurb for the stout-cider-whiskey Plutoxin Seven states, "Your questions are really beginning to annoy me." In other words, speak nerd or fuck off.

(Henry Cromett)
(Henry Cromett)