Minnesota’s first gay sports bar is taking over the Salsa A La Salsa building at 2841 Hennepin Ave. S. Managing Partner Mike LaGuire said garage doors will bring in the southern sunlight, and he plans to take full advantage of the four-season patio.
“You don’t have to feel like you’re going in to a place and hiding,” he said. “After Orlando, I think that a lot of us have become really scared and want to hide. I feel the exact opposite.”
LaGuire previously worked Downtown as the general manager of Union, where he organized rooftop LGBTQ events. LaGuire is gay, and said he’s long talked with friends about the need for a gay sports bar that allows people to follow the teams they grew up with in an inclusive environment.
“We want to be able to participate like everyone else does, in a place where you feel safe and feel welcomed,” he said.
He’s aiming to create the “best sports bar in Uptown,” with many televisions and perhaps a pool table, dartboard and yard games.
The menu calls for “standard bar food with a twist,” with an emphasis on ingredients and high quality.
LaGuire expects to host events surrounding the World Cup and Olympics, and play pro and college games. He’s a member of the Twin Cities Goodtime Softball League (one of the biggest in the country with 40-plus teams this year), and he expects the bar to become involved with that league and others in town.
“We’ll definitely be a hometown bar,” he said. “…It’s the first gay bar in Uptown, and the first gay sports bar in the state.”
Staff from the new Uptown Restaurant Group, including Steve Hark of the Fine Line Music Café, approached LaGuire about partnering to open the bar. The group acquired the building from Kaskaid Hospitality, and the grand opening celebration is slated for Aug. 19-21.
Kaskaid staff did not respond for comment.
Prior to opening, Game Sports Bar will operate a beer garden during the Uptown Art Fair Aug. 5-7, offering a preview of its food as well as daily performances including Dred I Dread, Mayda and The Casey Band.