Societal stereotypes dictate that the mere existence of a gay sports bar is a paradox. Since when can the two diametrically opposed worlds of cutthroat athletic competition-- the historical gridiron of manliness--and the “alternative lifestyle” coexist? Since now. Nellie’s Sports Bar has done more than just open up a great sports venue. It is challenging the close-minded, all-too-pervasive stereotype that male sports are not for the homosexual community. I specify “male,” not because Nellie’s message to the lesbian community is any different (it’s not), but because I feel like the sports/lesbian dichotomy is less pervasive. It is much more acceptable for female professional (and collegiate) athletes to admit to being gay than it is for male athletes. But, Nellie’s, in its fun-loving manner, tackles this controversial issue, and ultimately debases the lingering stereotype that sports are not for the gay community.
The beauty of Nellie’s message is the subtlety by which they achieve it. There is nothing political about their message. In fact, the only political undertones you will find are a few patriotic decorations and their motto, “Nellie Wants You to Join Our Team.” It is reminiscent of the Uncle Sam Army posters that the United States utilized as a wartime marketing technique. But whereas politics, and especially wartime politics, are marked by divergence, confrontation, and unilateral disagreement, Nellie’s message is clear, “all are accepted here.” Their proof is in the pudding. Not only will you find every demographic, from gay to straight, from man to woman, from black to white, but you will find every sport. The main room is decorated in antique sports paraphernalia, but NOT your expected football, baseball, and hockey memorabilia. Rather, wooden tennis rackets, croquet mallets, and crew paddles—the so-called more refined sports--adorn their walls. But then, in typical Nellie fashion, they are juxtaposed with an extensive collection of antique fraternity paddles. Brilliant! Moreover, you will find the collegiate basketball banners in the back room and realize that Nellie’s pays homage to all sports, just like they invite all races, and all sexual affiliations to “join our team.”
Come to Nellie’s. The cement floors and old exposed brick walls are cozier than you might think. And their "antique sports" decorative scheme is tasteful and neverending. Nellie’s embodies what all competition should--an even playing field for everyone where the rules are consistent for all those involved. This message is clear, all while taking a back seat to their primary message, “have fun.” And they are most certainly that. How else could you explain a former fraternity meathead visiting alone, without the security blanket of his friends, and having a wonderful time?