Cocktails, with a Side of Science 101

An insider look at the handful of New York City bars serving up the thirsty, nerdy elite

There is an intriguing new fad taking hold in some of New York City's bars. Instead of just going to bars to act like an idiot — jumping onto tables and busting a move, and hitting on people that may or may not still be attractive the next morning — some folks are going to bars to... learn. More specifically, to learn about science.

The concept itself is quite simple: Bars are natural settings for engaging in thoughtful (and sometimes heated) conversations with your peers about the latest goings-on in the world. Just consider the function of ancient public houses, where the informal atmosphere lent itself to a hearty and boisterous exchange of ideas free from the stuffiness of the traditional college classroom. This new breed of bar event takes a modern approach to this idea — focusing in on a fun, if not obscure, science-based subject you might have never realized you wanted to know more about.

As for the lecturers, suffice it to say they aren't doing it for the money, or to make a career out of it. It simply seems that these are people who have found a subject that they're passionate about, and who now want to share that interest with you over a couple drinks.

In recent weeks, I've learned about everything from the physics of speed bikes to the social theory behind the recent explosion of infographics on the intellectual scene. In fact, these events have been better at motivating me to going out and learn more about what interests me in the world than maintaining my grades ever was. (OK, so the promise of cocktails helps.)

Interested in adding a little intellectual flair to your regular bar routine? Read on for the full scoop on five of the city's best events.