On Saturday night, the Castro welcomed its first new bar in several years: Hi Tops (2247 Market Street). The new spot is being billed as the Castro’s, and San Francisco’s, first dedicated sports bar for the LGBT set, and that is mostly true, even though bars like The Pilsner Inn, the Lookout, and Moby Dick have been known to show certain games and have softball teams of their own. Put it this way: Hi Tops is the first gay sports bar to commit fully to the sports theme, with reclaimed lockers and tables made from bleachers, and the tagline "Cold Pitchers, Hot Catchers." And unlike those other bars, they have sixteen flat-screen TVs which will be broadcasting sports round the clock (including less often seen sporting events like college wrestling), except after midnight on weekends when things turn a little drunker and cruisier. Grub Street broke the news about the place a few months back, and as we’ve reported they’ve got a food menu that was created by chef Jamie Lauren of Top Chef All Stars fame. She’s lately been living in L.A., but Lauren was around overseeing the food for Friday’s soft opening, and we can attest that the fried chicken sandwich, the wings, and the bacon burger are all winners.
Owners Jesse Woodward, Matt Kajiwara, and Dana Gleim have been working together for several months to transform the former mod and retro interior of Lime into something more casual and sporty, inspired by places like Gym in New York and Nellie’s in D.C. The space feels significantly bigger, minus the central DJ booth; the weighty, white marble, sit-down bar; and the booths and raised platform in back. There’s now a kitchen and food-ordering counter at the back with high tables for dining, a wall lined with sound baffling and reclaimed bleacher seats turned into wood paneling, and artwork by Topher Sinkensen that’s meant to look like vintage sports posters and memorabilia.
The bar opened early on Sunday morning for their first 49ers game, which drew a decent crowd, and the sometimes shirtless bar staff was kept busy Saturday and Sunday nights too, mixing a set of ten signature cocktails, including a twist on the margarita called the Baby Bull; one called The Big Unit that involves St. Germain, vodka, and champagne; and a boozy protein cocktail involving chocolate Muscle Milk (the low-carb kind), Kahlua, and vodka. Also, there are ten beers on tap, and over a dozen by the bottle or can, and seven wines by the glass, including Gloria Ferrer sparkling, you know, in case someone wins a big game.
See our slideshow below.
Update: Please note that the bar is closed for today and tonight, so no Monday Night Football. They’ll reopen Tuesday, December 4.
Hi Tops - 2247 Market Street between Noe and Sanchez - 415-551-2500 - Open Monday to Wednesday, noon to midnight; Thursday to Friday, noon to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to midnight.