Update 12:56pm 1/07/17: Game Sports Bar, the newest addition to Minneapolis’ LGBTQ bar scene, appears to have closed its doors for good on Sunday night after the Patriots beat the Falcons, according to patrons and employees. The bar was the first foray of LGBTQ nightlife in Uptown when it opened in August. A report from City Pages notes that the bar may be changing concepts but keeping limited weekend hours as an LGBTQ bar or may be closing indefinitely.

Employees and patrons took to Facebook on Monday to lament the demise of the bar in public posts.

Benjamin Kaufman, who had once hosted trivia and bingo as drag personality B. Louise, wrote:

No matter which bar is “your” bar, a LGBT bar is all of our bar and when one closes it makes me incredibly sad. I hope everyone who was working there lands on their feet and to everyone I worked there with as B. Louise, thank you for making it a fun environment!

Benjamin Jacobs, who worked at the bar, remarked: “Goodbye Game sports Bar! I will miss you!”

Game’s General Manager, Emerson Kellogg, simply wrote: “Game Over”

Though the website and social media properties still listed it as open as of Monday night, the bar’s phone number had been disconnected. Google Maps listed the business as “permanently closed.”

First opened in August, the bar underwent a rebranding with new management in late-December. In a post on Facebook, the bar’s management wrote:

A NEW YEAR. A NEW GAME.
Here at GAME, we are excited for a new year filled with many exciting changes, including new management. A GLBTQIA sports bar is a unique concept, and we’ve spent the past few months exploring and experimenting as we find our place in the community. As we unveil a new GAME, we’d like to address some of the great feedback we’ve received, and some of the changes you’ll experience.

Update 12:56pm 1/07/17: According to City Pages, the bar may be changing format:

An employee shared with City Pages an email reportedly sent to all staff on Monday, February 6, from the current general manager. He informed recipients that the bar was going to change concept — to “a Lotus restaurant,” seemingly a reference to the popular long-time Vietnamese spot in Loring Park — but would continue operating on weekends as Game Sports Bar for the time being.

The Lotus, a popular Loring Park restaurant has been posting about its return to Uptown on Facebook:

Or Game could be closing indefinitely, City Pages reports:

On Friday, management told staffers the bar would be closing Monday through Thursday immediately and indefinitely; the news was met with tears and concern from the staff, according to one employee.

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Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I agree – it’s sad when any LGBT establishment closes. Much like breweries are a tight-knit group that support one another vs. compete, so do the gay bars.

    That being said, Game had a lot of marketing and social media mistakes that led to their demise. They never launched their website (last time I checked in December it still said “Coming Soon”), their Facebook and twitter were inconsistent and had very little presence. They rejected or didn’t respond to several event ideas by gaymer groups, breweries, and other organizations, and didn’t seem overly prepared to cater to company or org functions that did book events there. After their initial debut in late summer, most of my friends kind of forgot they existed … there was never any “must attend” event, theme night, or drink/food specials that were marketed heavily enough to keep in their clientele’s heads.

    Even their apparent closure was botched … when you just shutter your doors and don’t do any type of clear announcement or communication, you’re burning bridges with your patrons. If you decide to reopen, rebrand, or open another establishment, people will remember that you have a flaky reputation, and it will be damaging.

  2. a concept like game, a gay sports bar could still make it if they did it correctly. First of all starting in uptown was a major mistake, way too expensive as far as rent. I believe that restaurants of all type have come and gone many times at that location in the last few years. They should have started at a smaller less expensive place, they should have tried to build up the place organically, with a strong word of mouth and online with promotions for all the different sports teams we have here. I don’t remember any promotions of any type. also as both a gay bar and a sports bar there should have been more of a fun vibe, but when ever I was there it just felt like any other bar in the twin cities. they should have been willing to think outside the box more, how ? I don’t know, that’s not my expertise. I still think a gay sports bar could work here what with both a large gay community and a large sports community. Next time start smaller and try to make it more original

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