Bellevue teachers Melissa Baker and Jake Nonis demonstrate a chemical experiment. The two are among a team that will launch the first Beakers and Booze event on Oct. 21. Jon Ladd/staff photo

Local teachers make science fun at adult-only Beakers and Booze event in Bellevue

  • Thursday, October 19, 2017 9:46am
  • News

By Jon Ladd

Bellevue Reporter Intern

Two local high school teachers and their spouses are starting Beakers and Booze, a chemistry-themed evening entertainment event. Hosted at the Red Lion on Main Street, Beakers and Booze is group oriented and will involve several chemistry experiments, games, dinner and, of course, drinks.

Inspiration came to Melissa Baker, one of the teachers and founders, after teaching chemistry to students at a summer camp.

“I have been teaching chemistry at summer camp for middle school and elementary kids for about four or five summers now, and so many parents over the years have asked, ‘Do you ever have a workshop day for adults?’” Baker said. “They hear kids coming home saying, ‘Oh I got my hands lit on fire,’ or, ‘We did this really cool reaction that changed colors.’

“So finally, after peer pressure over the years, I decided I would do one [for adults] and thought it would be really fun to do it right before Halloween to get people in the spirit.”

The first Beakers and Booze event is scheduled for Oct. 21.

One might assume that chemistry and alcohol wouldn’t be a great combination as far as safety is concerned, but Baker and her colleagues have taken precautions.

“You can have about one drink before, and you do have to sign a waver, but you can drink more after the chemistry,” she said. “People coming to the event will get their own safety glasses and gloves, and we have a transition to make sure everything is safe before dinner; taking off disposable table cloths and washing hands.”

The dinner, an all you can eat fajita buffet, might not be chemistry related, but it will be followed by a periodic-table themed cake for desert.

Jake Nonis, one of Baker’s associates, compares Beakers and Booze to other budding group-based interactive entertainment movements.

“When escape rooms first came out it was sort of like this secret thing that was just starting out and you had to find it, and now they’re everywhere,” Nonis said. “So I really think we are planting a seed and starting something new, a whole new genre of evening entertainment: fun with education. And I think that’s something people want.”

Educating is one of Nonis’ and Baker’s primary goals. They want to make chemistry fun for people who may have had negative experiences with it.

“You don’t have to think. If people have a bad memory of their high school chemistry [classes] this will turn it around,” Baker said. “We’re probably not like the high school teachers you remember. We’re the cool ones.”

For more information or to check for upcoming Beakers and Booze events, visit

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