By Brittany Doohan
If the slogan “Cold Pitchers, Hot Catchers” doesn’t lure you into the Castro District’s one and only gay sports bar, we don’t know what will (besides the next Giants or 49ers game).
Even though our beloved Lookout, Pilsner Inn and Moby Dick have been known to show a sports game or two from time to time, Hi Tops (2247 Market Street) is the first gay bar in San Francisco to fully commit to an overall sports theme. Owners Matt Kajiwara, Jesse Woodward and Dana Gleim joined forces to transform the mod-like interior of what used to be Lime, into a more casual, sporty feel. The space is decked out with reclaimed lockers, tables made from bleachers, 16 flat-screen TVs (broadcasting sports round the clock), and the occasional shirtless bar tender. “Our goal was to open a neighborhood bar in the Castro, aimed toward the GLBT population who is either interested in or involved in sports. It's an underserved niche in SF and in the neighborhood specifically,” said Woodward.
Freshly opened last December, Hi Tops is already getting MVP-worthy reviews on Yelp. “This is becoming one of my favorite bars within the Castro! Good mixed drinks, diverse and attractive crowd, excellent food, sports and a shuffleboard table — what's not to like!?” said Joel C., from San Francisco. Out-of-towner Carl C. from New York, NY said, “This place is simply agayzing. I read somewhere that the owners were trying to channel the gay sports bars in NYC like Gym or Boxers but this place is so much better. Why? Because people actually watch sports here.”
And we all know watching a good game isn’t complete without some good grub. Try the BBQ corn on the cob with lime, Manchengo cheese and chili, or the pork chop on a stick with Yucatán style pickled spicy onions and Mexican cheese. If you’re looking for larger portions, order the blackened ahi tuna burger or grilled cheese sandwich jam-packed with four different kinds of cheese.
Along with your hearty meal, dive in to one of their signature cocktails. Looking for a boozy protein cocktail after the gym? Try the chocolate Muscle Milk (the low-carb kind), Kahlua, and vodka. Or maybe you want to represent yourself to the fullest with “The Big Unit”(St. Germain, vodka, and champagne). If fancy drinks aren’t your style, they’ve got 10 beers on tap, over a dozen by the bottle or can, and a wide variety of sparkling wines (you know, for when the Giants win the next World Series).
Not only are the drinks hi-top-notch, but they have weekly specials and events, too. “Monday is 25 cent wings all night and happy hour all night. Tuesday is our Trivia night. Wednesday is our bingo night. Thursday is a party we call Gym Class and it's a retro sports theme night,” said Woodward, “[and] every Sunday we do a fundraiser for a local gay sports team or league.”
The unique angle that Hi Tops brings has definitely shaken things up a bit for the Castro District. “The response has been overwhelmingly supportive and we are having a great time. Our clientele is the best and we are so happy to have great customers,” said Woodward.
So come on over to the new Castro bar where everybody knows your name (and your game): Hi Tops.
2247 Market St
(between Sanchez St & 16th St)
San Francisco, CA 94114
[Photos: Hi Tops]