When you’re celebrating your significant other’s birthday, it’s generally bad form to take them somewhere you might enjoy more than they will. Selfish, even. But if you’re celebrating a week early, and using it to bookend a day that started with a homebrewing course, it’s totally acceptable. Right? RIGHT?! So…that’s how Dom and I ended up at The Way Station.
I first discovered the Doctor when I was deep in the throes of my early 20s melancholy, during which I had a pretty active Tumblr life, as one does in their early 20s (…right?!?). I binged. I loved it. It spoke to everything that was nerdy that I craved, with space and dashing gawky leads (not you Eccleston…never you) and workplace sexual tension that may or may not develop into anything because can the Doctor love?!? (He can.) Now I’ll watch pretty much anything that Britain exports, but Doctor Who was my gateway drug and I never looked back.
I don’t remember how far into dating Dom I divulged my Doctor Who fandom, but I’m guessing it wasn’t long because I’m weird and Dom’s always been pretty privy to that little tidbit. But unlike my childhood full of Star Trek and Star Wars and voraciously tearing through fantasy books, Dom’s didn’t involve nearly as much sci-fi/fantasy. If any. I’m still pretty sure he hasn’t seen Star Wars. Yes, even the original ones. So I’m not sure how I convinced him to watch the show, other than expressing it was something I had to watch every weekend. But I made him a fan, and now he thinks bow ties and fezzes are cool and that Matt Smith is the true doctor and that Donna was definitely the worst.
Why such a long intro? To justify our visit to The Way Station. IT’S A DOCTOR WHO–THEMED BAR, GUYS!! That’s all I really knew walking in, and from first glance for the uninitiated, it looks like a weird steampunk/British hybrid. But if you’re a whovian, you will freak out. There is a Tardis inside. YOU CAN GO INTO THE TARDIS. It’s actually a bathroom, with a Dalek trashcan, paintings on the walls of past Doctors and villains, and signatures from the cast. The drink menu gives you a choice of doctors to imbibe (sadly, all made with some Absolut abomination), or the option of the companion—a PBR tallboy and a shot of house whiskey. All of this is enough for me. Doctor Who theme, appropriate decor, themed drinks. I’m happy. I think Dom’s happy. BUT IT GETS BETTER.
In addition to live music, which I’m sure is all fine and good (especially the guy who claims to be a time-traveling veteran) there’s a Sunday event that brings all the Doctor Who fans to the yard. A host—who on our visit was sporting a kilt, fez, and bowtie—hand selects Doctor Who programming. Unaware what was going on, we watched people in costume filter into the bar. They all knew each other, hugging and complimenting each other on their River Song trench coats or striped scarves. We got to watch a Doctor Who–themed episode of The Weakest Link, weird promos for the show, and other assorted programming our bekilted host culled off Youtube. I was ridiculously giddy. The Way Station just feels good. I’m pretty sure most of the people who show up on Sundays to watch the projector screen and laugh at inside Doctor Who jokes don’t feel comfortable in other bars. But at the Way Station, every fan is welcome, including a few who might be dealing with their own mental challenges. After more than an hour there, I was plotting ways to transport Doctor Who–themed cupcakes to the bar for the season premiere. You’ve got my heart, Way Station. Both of them.