December 3, 2022


healthy part of faith

Column: The bar where women’s sports come to play

6 min read

Jenny Nguyen and about a dozen of her close friends needed to observe the NCAA women’s basketball championship match, which didn’t seem to be too much to request at a sports bar with 32 televisions.

“None of them experienced that match on,” Nguyen recalled, “which is stunning to me.”

No issue. A server agreed to switch one particular of the TVs to the large match. Granted, it was the smallest monitor in the spot, over in a corner, where they didn’t even trouble to change up the sound.

Nguyen was just happy to get a glimpse of one of the fantastic games in NCAA Match history: Notre Dame rallying to conquer Mississippi Point out on a 3-pointer with a tenth of a second remaining.

“I don’t forget leaping up and down,” she explained, “and then on the lookout all around the restaurant and knowing we were the only kinds observing this match.”

On the way out, a single of Nguyen’s buddies created an even much more poignant observation.

“It would have been so a great deal far better if the sound was on,” she reported.

Then and there, a revolutionary concept was born.

Welcome to The Sports Bra.

From that epiphany four several years back, Nguyen recognized her dream to launch a bar devoted entirely to women’s sports activities.

It opened on April 1 in Portland, Oregon, where by any converse of The Sports Bra remaining absolutely nothing additional than a joke (granted, its double- entendre mantra is “We Help Women’s Sports” ) was promptly erased by the significant crowds that lined up outside the doorway each and every day.

“One detail I needed to be intentional about with The Sports Bra is we’re not reinventing the wheel as considerably as sports bars go,” Nguyen stated. “They’ve been all-around for a long time. There is a way about them that is pretty endearing and has that cozy experience.”

Of course, this is not just any other sporting activities bar.

That’s apparent from considerably a lot more what’s demonstrating on the five TVs, which are solely devoted to women’s (and a little bit of coed) athletics.

The partitions are lined with memorabilia focused to female athletes and teams. The drink and food items menus are mainly gleaned from gals-owned companies, brewers and distilleries. The two restrooms are gender neutral. Nguyen helps make guaranteed to give gluten-no cost, vegetarian and vegan selections, all with a target of currently being as inclusive to her guests as achievable.

That’s not to say 1 won’t locate some of the more common athletics bar offerings.

“We have burgers and nachos and tater tots,” Nguyen pointed out.

Robin DiPietro, a school professor at the College of South Carolina, stopped in at The Sports Bra for the very first time this 7 days although on a West Coastline trip.

“I consider each and every town wants a women’s athletics bar,” DiPietro claimed. “I hope it gets a craze. We do not have more than enough locations where we can go look at women’s sports activities.”

As the 50th anniversary of Title IX was commemorated this week, it was only pure that considerably of attention was on key breakthroughs manufactured by gals athletes in the wake of the landmark legislation, countered by how significantly even further they have to go to achieve real equality with their male counterparts.

But let’s not neglect more compact gestures that assist progress the induce.

A solitary bar focused to women’s athletics may possibly not sound like substantially, nevertheless it could be the catalyst for a thing far bigger. Nguyen is keenly conscious that her mission goes past excellent food, delicious drinks and earning positive the TVs are turned to the WNBA or the NCAA softball championship or a soccer match featuring the hometown Portland Thorns.

The communal character of fandom has usually been a huge variable in the achievements of men’s sporting activities. There is no motive it should not be that way for the game titles women participate in.

“When I 1st conceived of The Sports Bra, when I 1st started to do it, I had no strategy it would be what it is,” Nguyen stated. “But now I’m observing it as component of the movement, a domino in a wave of dominos.

“It’s fantastic organization to invest in females,” she included. “It’s just a matter of time in advance of men and women latch on to that and see that when a community is moving forward towards fairness, every person wins. Not just women of all ages. Equality is excellent for all people.”

Nguyen, a very first-era American whose mothers and fathers emigrated to Portland throughout the Vietnam War, is especially passionate about basketball. She took up the sport all-around the age of 5 and was established to play at a local community college or university when she blew out a knee a week ahead of her first sport.

That was also all-around the time she arrived out as a lesbian, so she was working with a whole lot of conflicting inner thoughts. Lonely and depressed, Nguyen made the decision for an entirely clean begin at Western Washington University.

It was there she learned a enthusiasm as great as basketball.

“I understood I experienced been wholly spoiled by my mom’s cooking,” Nguyen remembered. “When I obtained to higher education, I discovered it really hard to get good food. That is when I started out cooking.”

She bought the same experience in a kitchen area that she located on a basketball court docket. A calmness. A peace.

Right after graduating from Western Washington, she enrolled in culinary school and released her daily life in a new path.

Then, all through the tumultuous summertime of 2020, when the nation was dealing with a devastating pandemic and a racial awakening, Nguyen made the decision she experienced to do some thing to make the environment a better position. She understood it ought to include cooking. Her girlfriend reminded her of their idea for The Sports Bra.

Inspite of the apparent struggles in launching a new business — primarily in an sector that took a massive blow from COVID-19 — Nguyen wrote up a business enterprise approach, cleaned out her discounts account and borrowed some money from family and friends.

She nevertheless didn’t have more than enough to get a athletics bar off the floor, so she launched a fundraising effort and hard work on Kickstarter. She established a aim of $48,000. In 30 times, she had raised some $105,000.

Business enterprise has been brisk because The Athletics Bra opened, with Nguyen estimating approximately a quarter of the clientele is guys.

“It turns out that when a person, any man or woman, is looking at sports, they actually don’t care who is actively playing,” she said. “They just adore sporting activities, like to enjoy sporting activities.”

The rousing achievements of The Sports activities Bra has persuaded Nguyen that her strategy can operate in other metropolitan areas. When she wrote up her initially business strategy, she talked about franchising and estimated that probably a dozen other towns would assist a women’s sports activities bar.

Now, she believes that concentrate on was also very low. On Thursday’s 50th anniversary of Title IX, she issued the #channelchangechallenge on Instagram, encouraging individuals to ask their beloved sports activities bar to transform a person Television set as soon as a working day to a women’s sports activities party.

“If just one bar changes a channel,” she reported, “and two gals or two adult men or whoever exhibits up to check out, which is a win for everybody.”


Paul Newberry is a nationwide sporting activities columnist for The Related Press. Create to him at pnewberry(at) or at


More AP sports activities: activities and