The first gay sports bar in Minneapolis opened on Friday night. What, you might ask, does a gay sports bar look like?
Truth be told, it looks pretty much like any other sports bar you’ve ever been in, with darts, a pool table and electronic games. But there are a few notable departures from the expected, like the bar back clad only in a red Speedo and the penalty box you can visit if you’ve been very, very bad. There’s also a house DJ.
The requisite framed sports jerseys grace the walls, and the usual flat-panel televisions decorate the bar and are scattered around the room -- 20 in all. While most of the screens were tuned to various sporting events, others scrolled through photos of nearly naked athletes showing off their long (hockey) sticks and holding strategically placed – ahem – balls, helmets, and towels. Female athletes were on display as well, although vastly outnumbered by the beefcakes.
The layout remains unchanged from the space’s two previous brief incarnations, as Bone Yard and then Salsa a la Salsa. Managing partner Mike LaGuire was able to open the restaurant a mere three weeks after Salsa a la Salsa closed its doors.
“Four days ago, there was still construction going on,” our bartender marveled.
The large bar is the focus of the room, and the drinks, with cheeky names like Blow by Blow and Below the Belt, were well executed by knowledgeable and personable bartenders under the direction of Ralena Young, formerly of Coup d’Etat.
In addition to the hand-crafted cocktails, there are drinks on tap as well as a couple of slushies, perfect for sipping on a sunny day while sitting the restaurant’s expansive outdoor patio. When it’s not raining, large garage-style doors open to connect the indoor and outdoor spaces.
If beer is more your drink, you’ll have plenty to choose from, with local brands well represented, along with just about every light and lite beer on the market. A dozen or so wine selections round out the drink menu.
The menu offers your standard bar fare, from burgers and sandwiches (handhelds) to flatbreads and salads. Entrees include lobster mac and cheese, tacos, and steak frites. There are plenty of appetizers if you’re in the mood for a little something to munch on with your beer.
The bar hosts happy hour Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Get $2 off appetizers and flatbreads, $3 domestic light taps, $5 house wine, $5 premium rail cocktails, and $6 craft cocktails.
Game Sports Bar
2841 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis