When news broke that Sporty's Pub & Grill, the beloved hangout for University of Minnesota students in Minneapolis' Como neighborhood, was changing owners, we worried it would suffer a glossy, North Loopy makeover.
Veteran Sporty's bartender Jana Kern took over the space in June, shut things down for a bit, and recently reopened it as Como Tap. Her bar at 2124 Como Ave. SE. has been called many names as it's shuffled owners since 1963—the Como Inn, Grutes Place, the Sportsman's Bar—but it's never been called fancy.
Sporty's, with its worldwide coozy loyalty initiative, clearly meant a lot to its patrons. Just look at this in memoriam clip from local Twitter personality @fettyschwapp:
We Remember. pic.twitter.com/gazMWPnluv— maddie from the local news (@fettyschwapp) June 19, 2019
Or this 2001 mini-documentary from local comic Jenn Schaal:
We're happy to report that very little has changed.
On a recent afternoon visit, the bartender informed us that Como Tap is "85 percent" identical to Sporty's—same hardwood floors from 1913, same overload of kitschy posters from every era, still zero pretense but plenty of karaoke and pool. The tap beers remain affordable ($4-$6); the daily happy hours (3-6 p.m. plus 9 p.m.-midnight) remain generous. Some items and prices on the menu were tweaked, our bartender said, but it's still the Sporty's staff cooking up those "famous" burgers and fresh-cut fries.
As the luxury student apartment boom thunders on, it's reassuring to know that, along with neighboring Manning's Cafe, current Gophers will continue to have an old-school drinking oasis at 22nd and Como.