Portland chef and restauranteur Jenny Nguyen is aiming to turn the stereotype of male-dominated sports bars on its head with the founding of The Sports Bra, an all-ages bar and restaurant dedicated to women’s sports.
The bar is scheduled to open in Portland in early April and was recently profiled by Eater.
Like any good sports bar, The Sports Bra will house numerous televisions playing women’s sports airing on cable, satellite or streaming services.
When it opens its doors, the NWSL season will already be underway and the WNBA will tip off shortly thereafter so there will be plenty of opportunities to (hopefully) watch Candace Parker, Megan Rapinoe, Ali Krieger and other out athletes in action.
Next to all the flatscreens, the bar plans to honor legendary female athletes with posters featuring luminaries like Serena Williams or Sue Bird, as well as institutions like the Seattle Storm. As you’d expect,
The Sports Bra will also be an official viewing party location for all home and away Portland Thorns matches.
Nguyen, who is LGBTQ, first conceived the idea after watching the 2018 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship in a crowded sports bar and realizing she had to request one TV be turned to the game—and even then it was on mute.
After a few years mulling it over, she was inspired to take action by the USWNT’s fight for equal pay as well as a Me Too reckoning in the Portland restaurant scene.
It was an offhand comment from her partner that truly solidified her vision.
“There were these social movements that really had me thinking about what I could do,” Nguyen told Eater’s Brooke Jackson-Glidden, “It was my partner who said, ‘Hey, you know how you’ve been joking about The Sports Bra for years? You should do it.”
After committing to making The Sports Bra a reality, Nyguen ran into a sizable obstacle when every traditional investor she contacted took a pass on her idea. So she turned to Kickstarter. As of March 6, Nyguen has raised $92,488 compared to an initial $48,700 target.
Doubling the initial start-up goal certainly seems to say “there is an audience for this.”
In addition to showcasing the best women’s sports have to offer, Nguyen created her drink menu by partnering with local female-owned brewers and distillers like Migration, Freeland Spirits, and Herbucha. The Sports Bra’s food menu will feature classic pub food like buffalo wings and burgers, as well as Nguyen’s Vietnamese-style baby back ribs.
They’re best paired with an Ashlyn Harris save or an Elena Delle Donne layup.