Balls out

New gay sports bar Hi Tops scores. Plus: Moodymann, Tin Man, more nightlife

Hi Tops co-owner Jesse Woodward takes one for the team

SUPER EGO If, by some miracle, I manage to make it through this entire column about a new gay sports bar in the Castro without dropping a single awful double entendre, then I totally deserve a Stanley cup, a Heisman trophy, and a Super Bowl ring. IMPOSSIBLE! Why does everything jocky sound so dirty when you sprinkle a little fairy dust on it?

"Well, our barbacks will be wearing jockstraps pretty frequently," Jesse Woodward told me of new venture Hi Tops (2247 Market, SF., set to launch with a big free shindig Sat/1, 6pm-2am.* Woodward, who's opening Hi Tops with former QBar manager Dana Gleim and Matt Kajiwara, knows the value of a good double-wordplay: "Cold pitchers, hot catchers" is his bar's motto, and a handmade Buster Posey dreamcatcher recently adorned its Facebook page.

But other than a few ironic touches ("No, we won't be playing that Huey Lewis Sports album," the painfully lithe and hip Woodward assures me), Hi Tops will be all about the gayme: 15 screens, including a video wall and hanging Jumbotron configuration will pump out local tourneys, while the kitchen, headed by former Top Chef contestant Jamie Lauren, turns out gourmet takes on "stadium food," including warm pretzels, chicken wings, beef-bacon burgers, Cobb salads, and pork chops on a stick.

"The pork chop on a stick is a pork chop we put on a stick," Woodward clarifies.

No worries about this being an overcompensative no fats no femmes dude-bro move: Woodward, who's no stranger to underground alternaqueer dancefloors, merely wants to complement SF nightlife with some unique flavor. "What inspired me to do this was the lack of any place to go with my teammates after a basketball game where we could hang out and talk, but not have to shout over music. I also think that, looking at the Castro, the neighborhood could use something like this to make it exciting. A lot of bars offering something different have closed, and the scene here has become really one note." Yes, Jesse, and that one note is Rihanna shrieking at us through her tiny, alien nose.

Hi Tops takes the place of fuschia-tinted hetero barf puddle Lime, where I used to go through purses. Anything would be an improvement, but a totally gay (and lesbian!) sports bar that plans to sponsor local queer teams and host fundraisers sounds pretty neato. Plus, barbacks in jockstraps hello. This place will totally be my new Hooters.



I haven't always fallen for his post-modern, Scion-sponsored Blaxploitation schtick — skinny white DJs in Europe still think it buys them instant street cred to sample him; annoyingly they're often right. But Kenny Dixon Jr., known to the world as the mercurial Moodymann, sure knows how to pump out the classics, foretelling the current wave of re-edit mania by about a decade and representing the Detroit house scene with a soulful flair for experiment and a thrilling rage against the obstacles that still stand in the way of international recognition for many African American dance music artists. He's a talker on the decks and often anarchic: last time he was here, he got bounced from his own party. Buckle up and work it out, finally some danger. With UK deep techno martialist Untold and the Icee Hot crew.

Fri/30, 9:30pm-late, $20 advance. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.




Marke - we are all excited about a new queer bar in the Castro, but let's not join in the pretense that there has never been a queer sports bar in San Francisco. Two blocks away. Still open. Granted, the Pilsner doesn't "perform" queer sports bar; it just IS one. Let's hope Hi Tops can become the real thing too.

Posted by Miltonic on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 10:34 am

That people do indeed go to the Pilsner to watch games -- and many local gay and lesbian sports teams gather at Lookout, the Cafe, Moby Dick, Midnight Sun, and the Mix (miss you Uncle Bert's). All of them have been known to play games on their screens, and host great fundraisers for local teams.

But none of them have been explicitly touted as sports themed -- the Pilsner's direction is a bit of a mess, at least to me. Who the heck knows what it's supposed to be? Yet I still love it, even though the patio redo and party bus destination Fridays kind of turned me off of regular attendance a few years ago. Also hot babe bartender Warren, my secret boyfriend, left for LA ;(

Still, point taken, I'm just disagreeing on semantic thematic grounds. I hope Hi Tops doesn't suck away business from other bars, but adds to the rubustness (robustity?) of the Castro bar scene while maybe giving the other bars a little thought toward tightening up their vibes. I really dislike "theme bars" other than sports ones, but it would be cool to have the other joints in the area up their game in terms of outreach and concept maybe. They're all kind of blobs to me, in my mind.

Posted by marke on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 11:03 am

Sorry, the castro is not "one note", but rather two note:
1) bars owned by Les Natali
2) bars owned by Greg Bronstein

This is why the castro nightlife scene appears to be channeling Sacramento and not SF. Things will not get better until those two queens relax their chokehold on the castro. Patio anyone?

Posted by Dedicated_local on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 11:48 am

too true -- although yet again the Bronstein slash and burn out cycle seems to be on "implode" setting. And Natali, well, what's up with Toad Hall anyway? There was something vaguely interesting there on Tuesday for the first time in my memory of the place.

Posted by marke on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 11:55 am

Greg Bronstein doesn't own any bars anymore, friend. Please catch up. The last two, Trigger and Lime, closed earlier this year. And the Cafe, which remains mega-popular, is owned by neither of them. In place of Lime is a new bar with some brand new blood from first-time bar owners, Hi Tops, which hopes to attract a more local crowd. And also, The Edge, the Midnight Sun, and Q Bar all changed hands in recent years and have had/are getting makeovers. That still won't stop the bridge-and-tunnel folk from not knowing where else to go on a Friday or Saturday.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

the pallid ghosts of his leopard skin pants and pimped-out Escalade remain ...

Posted by marke on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

That is, craft and micro brews, rather than $2 PBR and 1990's cocktails.

Castro bars have the worst beer in the city. Is beer a straight thing?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

I regret no asking Jesse about the beer menu -- I'd love someone to do for beer in the Castro what Blackbird has done for cocktails and wine ...

Posted by marke on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

am willing to go to.

And, for that matter, Lucky 13 a few doors down has a stellar beer selection, including DogFish Head and Pliny, although arguably not so gay-friendly . . .

Posted by Guest on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

Never had queer vibe probs at Lucky 13 when we used to go there when I used to drink beer.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

So Lime closed down? What Happened there and when?

Posted by TLBarry on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

after a few temporary closings -- same weird thing happened with Greg Bronstein's other bar Trigger, which limped over the finish line sometime this summer.

Posted by marke on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

For Godess sakes someone please buy TRIGGER and turn it into a proper HOUSE club

Posted by Guest on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

if only I had a few million!

Posted by marke on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

Which is the hardest thing about opening a bar or club - if the location came with a liquor license I'd have snapped it up by now and hired my favorite 'mo on the scene, aka: Marke, to do one helluva night up in there.

A girl can dream...

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

lucretia you flatter me.

Posted by marke on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

That what the Castro needs more of are good, quality bars/lounges/clubs which cater to the neighborhood and the desire for excellent music and service. What it needs less of is tourist-oriented establishments designed for the vacationer and the day-tripper from the East Bay. The neighborhood lacks soul these days - it's no accident the coolest stuff is happening outside the Castro.

Here's to hoping it makes a comeback!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Nov. 28, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

"...and that one note is Rihanna shrieking at us through her tiny, alien nose."

Posted by GuestDanielD on Nov. 29, 2012 @ 1:45 am


Posted by marke on Nov. 29, 2012 @ 9:24 am

which had visible ball shaped weights which swung outward to at the highest permissable RPM.

Incidentally, "Balls to the wall" refers to WWI fighter planes whose ball-ended throttle levers would contact the firewall in front of the pilot when pushed to the extreme.

Nothing gay or testicular about it which is my preference. Otherwise, carry on.

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Posted by Hair Extensions UK on Jul. 23, 2013 @ 1:31 am

The new sports bar for gays is a good idea, as there are many people who are not brave enough to go in public bars as they are afraid of he society. This would be a freedom for those guys to have a good time without any stress or tension.

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Posted by sdfsd on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

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