Exclusive: Hi Tops, San Francisco’s First Gay Sports Bar, Takes Shape in Former Lime Space
"You don't have to be a jock to like being in a sports bar," says Jesse Woodward, one of the co-owners of Hi Tops, which is the aforementioned gay sports bar that will be taking over the space recently vacated by Lime (2247 Market Street, between Noe and Sanchez). "It's going to be for everyone. You don't have to be someone who wants to watch sports on TV to want to hang out there." The concept is pretty simple: A neighborhood bar where you can watch the Giants game, eat some all-American bar food (with S.F. twists), and enjoy one of the best on-tap beer selections in the Castro. And they're hoping to be open in time for the World Series this fall. Something you won't find at Hi Tops: bottomless mimosa brunch. "Our Sundays will have a distinctly different vibe than what the neighbors have been used to for the past few years," says Woodward.
Unlike other bars in the neighborhood which may be baseball-friendly (Moby Dick and The Pilsner, for instance), Hi Tops will be playing a variety of games on multiple TVs throughout the year, and be a dedicated sports bar in the vein of Gym in New York or Nellie's in D.C. And if there isn't a notable game on, there'll be some good, non-dancey music playing and a comfortable vibe, promises Woodward.
Renovations are starting this month, and the place will get a completely new look, with the help of partners Matt Kajiwara and Dana Gleim. "Want to buy some marble?" jokes Woodward. "We're selling a lot of marble." The trio says this is going to be their "dream bar" and they hope to bring more of the local LGBT community back to the neighborhood on weekends, when many of the bars have become over-crowded with tourists and less comfortable for those who live nearby.
All the details, including the food menu, the overall look, and what kinds of arcade games they may be featuring (shuffleboard is being discussed), are still up in the air. But the food will be better than your average bar food. "We want to keep standards high yet have a menu that brings back memories of ballgames and stadiums."
And people in the neighborhood should enjoy the tagline: Cold Pitchers, Hot Catchers.
Look for Hi Tops to open around October 2012, give or take.