Minnesota's new woman-owned bar exclusively caters to women's sports — and its fans

Left: A Bar of Their Own logo, Right: Three women standing and smiling inside of a women's sports bar

Jillian Hiscock — the owner of all-women’s sports bar A Bar of Their Own — is having an especially exciting Women’s History Month.

Making a little history of her own, Hiscock just opened the first all-women’s sports bar in the Midwest, which will broadcast only women’s athletic events in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis.

The bar’s grand opening was on Friday — just in time for the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament in Minneapolis — and all weekend long, lines stretched out the door.

“Anticipate long wait times,” A Bar of Their Own posted on Facebook this weekend. “We have 85 seats in the bar and lots more than 85 butts that want to fill ‘em.”

A screenshot of a reel posted by A Bar of Their Own
Photo courtesy of A Bar of Their Own

Hiscock took inspiration from similar all-women’s bars across the country, like Portland’s Sports Bra, which opened in 2022 to widespread success.

There are only a handful of others: Icarus Wings & Things in Salem, Oregon, Rough & Tumble in Seattle, and Athena Keke’s in New York City.

But, why do women need their own sports bar anyway?

Well, let’s start with the stats. According to a Unesco study on gender equality, although 40% of professional athletes are female, women’s sports only make up 4% of all sports media coverage.

Jillian Hiscock poses for a selfie, wearing a Sports Bra beanie
Jillian Hiscock (left) and her partner show their support for The Sports Bra, another women-focused sports bar. Photo courtesy of A Bar of Their Own/Instagram

And as Hiscock puts it in an interview with MPR News: “I jokingly say that every sports bar you walk into in the Twin Cities area is probably a men’s sports bar. We just don’t call it that.”

Creating a space centered entirely around women’s athletics is transcendent for fans who are relegated to watching their favorite teams play from home — or even calling mainstream pubs ahead of time to make sure they can spare a single TV for the women’s game.

“I’m so excited for my girls to grow up with this level of excitement for women’s sports,” one customer wrote in a social media comment during opening weekend.

“I’ve been waiting to be at a place for hours, watching the games I love,” another customer told MPR News in a TikTok. “I plan to stay ‘til close.”

The point of the space is to be comfortable and welcoming for all kinds of sports fans. Prior to opening, the bar introduced its diverse employees on social media, giving customers a look into the inclusivity the space hopes to offer.

The space isn’t the hot-pink Barbieland you might imagine (though that would be cute, too). It’s full of tasteful decor — like some signed jerseys and posters from the Rockford Peaches (the women’s baseball team that inspired “A League of Their Own”), and some Pride flags.

“The places that you would go to watch sports don’t necessarily have women in mind,” one customer told MPR News. “And the places that have women in mind aren’t generally thinking of our patronage from a sporting perspective.”

Minnesota Lynx player Diamond Miller smiles at A Bar Of Their Own
Diamond Miller, a player for the Minnesota Lynx, chats with fans at A Bar of Their Own. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Lynx/Instagram

With an all-women construction crew from Wonderwoman Construction, Hiscock designed the space to be a traditional family-friendly sports bar serving up classic brews and bites.

The only difference? When you look around at the bar’s twelve TVs, all you see is women’s sports.

“What if when you walked into a sports bar, you knew your favorite team would be playing?” A Bar of Their Own asks on its website. “What if you had an inclusive, welcoming spot to gather with your crew to watch the big game? What if that place was committed to celebrating and lifting up women athletes?”

With a massively successful first weekend in the book, A Bar of Their Own is already well on its way to answering those “what ifs.”

“I want to be in this space,” a TikTok commenter wrote. “Immaculate vibes, even just from the video, it feels like safety and joy.”

Header images courtesy of A Bar of Their Own/Facebook

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March 4, 2024 8:55 AM
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