'At first, I thought that The Bra would just be a place to celebrate women in sports but now I see that it's uplifted girls in so many different ways,' shared the owner.
Women's sports receive far less television coverage and attention than men's. However, one venue is attempting to change that. A woman-owned sports bar called The Sports Bra in Portland, Oregon caters specifically to women and their sports. Rather than broadcasting the most popular sport, they only promote women athletes and their sports. The bar is dedicated to championing athletes identifying as women. The Sports Bra has been open since April 2022, after owner Jenny Nguyen birthed the idea of a sports bar and restaurant for women and girls. In an interview with Mise, Nguyen, who's also an LGBTQIA+ advocate, shared, "At first, I thought that The Bra would just be a place to celebrate women and girls in sports. But now I see that it's highlighted and uplifted girls and women in so many different ways that are just amazing and beautiful to be a part of."
The Sports Bra's mission is "to make great food, delicious drinks, and provide a space that supports, empowers, and promotes girls and women in sports and in the community." If you ever find yourself in Portland, make a point of stopping by The Sports Bra. Even the menu is sports-themed. In addition to cocktails, the bar serves meals such as burgers and salads and hosts a number of community events.
Also, they regularly post schedules of what sports will be on TV on their social media, ranging from tennis to boxing. They provide a place for female athletes to be recognized. Making room for younger fans is also essential to the company's success. Minors are welcome to enjoy the atmosphere until 10:30 p.m. and there's a children's menu available for them too.
When asked about the inspiration behind the establishment, Nguyen responded, "I really just felt like there was a need for a space like The Sports Bra, that there was a void where women's sports could be the highlight and not just the concession. Back in 2020, I was in between jobs and really just was reevaluating my life and trying to find my place in the world that was changing and fluctuating so much at the time. I knew I wanted to do something that mattered, something to uplift and impact our community. That's when I decided that my idea of The Sports Bra could become a reality."
Nguyen continues, "Representation matters. If you can see it, you can be it. When girls grow up and all they see are men on TV playing sports, they have no reason to believe that women play, too. I want to normalize showing women's sports on TV." She adds, "I want every bar, hotel, and restaurant to put on women's games like it was normal, but that also means having access to these games. If the media doesn't show it, how can we play it? And if we can't play it, how can it grow? It's an entire cycle that needs to be fixed and really it all starts with investment."
It is indeed high time such places start existing equally around the world.