VSosmic Gorilla is a new comic book and board game store in Findlay Market that not only offers the latest issues of your favorite superhero’s adventures, but also a full bar with signature cocktails, both fortified and non-alcoholic .
It’s the latest venture from Gorilla Cinema Presents, the company behind La Ofrenda, Tokyo Kitty, Tiki Tiki Bang Bang, Lonely Pine Steakhouse and Overlook Lodge.
Step through the door on a sunny afternoon and you’ll be treated to a bright and welcoming front room, tastefully appointed to showcase shelves adorned with comics and graphic novels. There’s also an imposing life-size statue of Darth Vader in the middle of the room (it’s not for sale). To your right is the cashier’s counter, decorated with a retro Silver Surfer mural. The store aims for a boutique experience with regularly replenished inventory, and the overall aesthetic is clean and well-organized – a delight for fans of Marvel, DC, indie publishers, and tabletop games.
The primary motivation behind Cosmic Gorilla is to create a family-friendly destination, says owner-manager Greg Newman. Gorilla Cinema Presents owner Jacob Trevino echoes that.
“We wanted to appeal to families and we want to appeal to something that we felt was missing in the market,” Trevino said. CityBeat. “We see so many people of all ages coming down to enjoy one of Cincinnati’s tourist attractions, which is Findlay Market itself.”
The Gorilla Cinema’s tequila bar, La Ofrenda, is a short walk from the Cosmic Gorilla. Operating this space, which opened in late 2019, has given the Trevino team a new perspective on the evolving needs of Findlay Market visitors. And while the bar caters to adults, Trevino has begun to notice that there aren’t hangout destinations at the market aimed at everyone, including kids.
“For so many other stores, you grab your product and walk away,” says Trevino. “How do you create a space where we can celebrate pop culture, we celebrate gaming culture, we can celebrate all of those things…and provide a place for the community to come and gather – not just 21+, but all ages?”
He accomplished this at Cosmic Gorilla through a combination of neatly curated retail shelves — the comics, board games, and action figures — and the back bar’s cocktail menu.
After passing the merchandise in Cosmic Gorilla, you enter a back bar, which Trevino and Newman refer to as “Capes + Cloaks”. It serves cocktails, mocktails and beer. The menu was first written for mocktails, then guests can add spirits to any of them. The idea behind it was to have a full menu of carefully crafted drinks that could be enjoyed by everyone.
Every drink name on the menu pays homage to comic book references, which is sure to spark a few conversations among fellow fans. “Agatha All Along” is a citrus drink made with an infusion of dry ice that appears to have been bewitched by Agatha Harkness, the Disney+ series’ villainous “curious neighbor” Wanda Vision. The hard version of the drink is made with citrus vodka, cranberry, grapefruit, lime, and agave nectar.
Cosmic Gorilla plans to hold weekly events aimed at attracting repeat visits, with activities such as watch parties for shows like Boba Fett’s Bookmonthly quizzes, and world-building exercises for Dungeons & Dragons-style “Dungeon Masters” (DMs) looking for inspiration for creating their next campaign.
“I’m going to be having World-Building Wednesdays every Wednesday night,” Newman says. “What our company does is create worlds. Instead of playing a D&D campaign, I’ve created a stack of, like, 150 cards with different things on them like a tavern, a castle, a forest and then I’m going to randomly draw one and we’re going to build it collectively. The point being, maybe you have writer’s block as a DM and now you can chat with other DMs or other people about how to get through this or you can take what we have built and add it to your game that you play at home. ”
With a creative cocktail menu, plenty of comics and board games, and a cozy space to enjoy them, Cosmic Gorilla is well-positioned to become a nerdy oasis in Cincinnati.
Cosmic Gorilla, 1834 Race St., Over-the-Rhine/Findlay Market,