At first glance, the Sports Bra looks like any other of its kind, with its room filled with avid fans trying to watch matches on its TVs.
But its screens host a unique selling point: the bar only shows women’s sports.
The bar was the brainchild of Jenny Nguyen, who was inspired to start the business after going with her friends to similar bars.
“I think that there’s this universal feeling that women have when they go to sports bars,” Nguyen said.
“It’s not just me. It’s not just my friends. It’s actually quite common … I mean, it goes anywhere between uncomfortable to unsafe.”
At one point, she tried to watch the NCAA women’s basketball championship game with a group of her friends at another bar with 32 TV sets.
None of the screens were showing the game.
Their server switched one of the TVs to the match, but it was one of its smallest screens in the bar’s corners.
The sound was also turned off.
One of Nguyen’s friends later said, “it would have been so much better if the sound was on.”
After the Sports Bra opened in April, a woman in Seattle announced plans to open a similar bar.
“I’ve had more people ask to be an investor than I could have ever imagined,” Nguyen said. “I’m getting cold emails from people saying they want to invest. It’s such a reflection upon what an awesome and needed thing this is.”
Public support was also one of the reasons that Nguyen was able to open the bar in the first place. Before opening the Sports Bra, Nguyen started an online fundraiser, asking for €43,000. She received €105,000 in just 30 days.
Since its opening, the bar has also become a local watering hole for the city’s LGBTQ+ community since Portland no longer has lesbian bars. As of 2022, there are less than 20 lesbian bars in the country.