The Sports Bra, billed as the first and only bar that will exclusively screen women’s sports, has announced an opening date.
The business, located at 2512 NE Broadway, will officially begin welcoming customers Friday, April 1. That’s just in time for the NCAA Final Four women’s matchups featuring Louisville versus South Carolina and UConn facing off against Stanford, two games that will undoubtedly be on every TV screen in the bar.
Since announcing the opening of The Sports Bra in February, the venue has gotten national news coverage and social media engagement from countries as far away as Brazil, Portugal and Spain. The bar also raised $105,000 through Kickstarter, which was more than twice its goal, and donations of sports memorabilia continue to pour in for display purposes. All of that attention and support has reinforced owner and chef Jenny Nguyen’s belief in her original mission, which is to provide a space that empowers girls and women in sports.
“When I first set out on this journey to open up, I had no idea the impact it would have on so many so quickly. And we are just getting started,” she stated in a press release. “The statistics about girls and women dropping out of sports are staggering. Girls who play sports have higher self-esteem and a more positive body image. The Bra will be more than just a place to view women’s sports. It gives people a space to be together and celebrate.”
Once the bar opens, its five TVs will play women’s athletics featured on broadcast, satellite and cable as well as some limited programming from Just Women’s Sports. And, of course, that includes Portland Thorns matches.
However, Nguyen adds that finding enough coverage of women is a challenge, since currently 96% of all sports media coverage on TV is of men. She hopes her bar will change that.
“We’ve worked hard to develop a few partnerships with several sports media brands to bring more coverage than the measly 4% that’s out there, but this is just the beginning, and even with the added media, there’s not nearly enough content for us to show 24/7,” Nguyen explained. “We just want to put it out there that there will be times when there are not any games on TV, and when that happens we may choose to turn the TVs off. We think it’s not only powerful to highlight the 4% that is showing, but also to highlight what is NOT showing.”
Nguyen was inspired to open The Sports Bra after watching the 2018 NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament Championship game between Notre Dame and Mississippi State at a local pub. While she and her friends did get the server to turn on the match, Nguyen realized by the end of it that they were relegated to the bar’s tiniest TV tucked away in the corner. On top of that, there wasn’t even any sound on.
Motivated by the social justice campaigns that unfolded in 2020, Nguyen saw an opportunity to take her experience as a chef and turn it into something more significant on a cultural level.
When The Sports Bra opens next week, you can expect a menu of standard pub fare, such as burgers, sliders and tots as well as some of Nguyen’s family recipes like Mom’s Baby Back Ribs and Aunt Tina’s Vietna-Wings. Ingredients are sourced from women-owned businesses, including beef from Carman Ranch, alcohol produced by Freeland Spirits, and Vibrant Valley Farm’s produce.