Every bar is looking for that new big idea. Something
simple, yet unique to draw in a crowd. Candice Kronika had just
taken over the Monday night bartending shift at Merry
Arts Pub and Grille in Lakewood. She knew it was traditionally
a slow night, but she had no idea how slow.
“There was nothing
to do on Mondays,” she said. “One night it was just me and my
friend, I spent the whole night playing Silver Strike bowling.
So one night I brought in the movie 'The Usual Suspects.'”
As she watched
that movie with a small group of friends, an idea formed. Kronika
decided that her target audience was right in front of her face.
Nerds. She convinced bar owner John Granzier to let her have a
theme night. The next week “Nerd Movie Night at Arts” was born
with the showing of Space Balls.
In just a few
weeks, what started out of boredom has turned into not only a
reason to go out on Monday nights, but a profitable business venture.
first asked me I thought it might be illegal, but I called and
checked that it was ok,” Granzier said. “It has more than doubled
our Monday nights. It often depends a lot on the weather and what
movie is showing. Candice has a lot to do with it as well. She
is a different kind of bartender and she has a great personality.”
her loyal collection of nerds make sure each Monday is unique
and special. A sheet is passed out each week with drinking rules
specific to that movie. Naturally there is popcorn, but also each
week has a food and drink theme passed on that night‘s movie.
we passed out Baby Ruth candy bars and created a shot called Wishing
Well Water,” Kronika said. “For Ghostbusters I and II, we had
shots called Slimers. It was Midori, Absolute, and Pineapple Juice.
It looked just liked slime, but it was good.”
The beer special
is fitting as well, $1.50 bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
“That is the
beer that all of these guys drink,”
has always been one of two Patti’s Famous Tacos night at Merry
Arts. Served until 11 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays and considered
the best in Northeast Ohio, the tacos are so good that they were
once discussed on Late Night with David Letterman by former Merry
Arts regular and future Nerd Movie night featured actor Tom Hanks.
Patti is happy to share her night with the nerds.
“I like it,”
Patti said. “I love 80s movies because I am still stuck in the
80s. It has brought in a good crowd.”
Those in attendance
say there is no secret why the night is so popular.
movies and they love to drink,” Alex Perez said. “If I wasn’t
here I would be home doing the same thing. Mondays are laid back.
You can come in here and relax and just enjoy the movie. It is
“You don’t have to hear loud rap music for three hours,”
Dave Schalno said. “And who doesn’t love movies like Goonies.”
There is a group of regulars who have been there from
the beginning. But word of mouth is increasing the size of the
“I did not think
it would get this popular,” Sean Mramor said. “There used to just
be eight people in the bar on Monday nights. When someone new
walks in unaware, we just hand them a beer and rule sheet. They
always join in.”
Merry Arts fixture
Trey Lamb summed it up best.
Beer. It is just like college.”
Often when someone
visits Merry Arts for the first time on a Monday, they ended up
enjoying the vibe.
“A girl walked
in and said she was just telling her boyfriend about the movie
Princess Bride,” Kronika said. “He had never seen it and here
we were showing it. They stayed and watched it with us.”
everyone has a nerd inside of them.
“We call ourselves
nerds before someone else does,” she said. “Nerd night is for
anyone who has memorized all the lines to their favorite movie.
It is for anyone who wanted to be in their favorite movie or wanted
to become their favorite character or is just willing to toast
a drink to their favorite character. Or at the very least someone who doesn’t
mind all of us quoting our favorite lines out loud during the
the scheduled movie is the Great Outdoors starring John Candy
and Dan Akroyd. The feature shot will be an @$$ Blaster (a better
than it sounds combination of Yukon Jack, Bailey’s and Grenadine)
in honor of everyone’s favorite movie bear. Future movies include
Strange Brew and the Burbs.
pleased in how movie night has turned a slow night into a good
time. It isn’t just a testosterone crowd, as there is also a large
percentage of females in attendance as well.
“It is not only
nerds, our regulars enjoy it as well and there are a lot of ladies
here too,” Granzier said. “It is something different. You always
look for niche, something original to draw in a crowd. So in two
months I expect every bar in Lakewood will have movie night.”
Merry Arts Pub & Grille is located at 15607
Detroit Ave in Lakewood. Phone (216) 226-4080.