A photo of two gay 49ers fans making out at the bar at Hi Tops (2247 Market Street) appears on page 48 of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. It’s a first for the magazine, for sure, and huge exposure for the bar and the very concept of LGBT sports fans, especially when you consider this is the Super Bowl preview issue and one of the most read issues of the year. The magazine sent a photographer and writer to cover the scene at Hi Tops on January 20, which had a packed house all day for both the NFC and AFC championship games, and photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice snapped the photo from behind the bar at the moment of victory. As owner Jesse Woodward tells NBC Bay Area, "Sports fans come from all walks of life, and we’re a great big melting pot here."
As writer Chris Ballard puts it in the accompanying story, "If the Niners win it all … some of us — a number of whom might be gay, or vegan, or gay and vegan — might even ride on top of a cable car."
Hi Tops opened in the former Lime space on December 2, just a few weeks too late to celebrate San Francisco’s second World Series win in three years, but just in time to get in on football season. Since then, it’s already become a popular spot on weekends, with or without a big game on the sixteen TV screens.
Woodward and crew expect a line out the door on Sunday, and thanks to the SI coverage, maybe Hi Tops will become a tourist destination, too. And we should all look forward to a day when the idea of a gay sports fan doesn’t seem so wacky and new.
That said, please observe NBC’s coverage of this new and wacky phenomenon.
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