Emily Omvig of Bismarck, N.D., was visiting friends in Minneapolis when they learned Friday morning that a new kind of bar was opening. Soon they were standing in a long line queuing up for Minnesota's first watering hole dedicated to women's sports.

"There's not a women's sport that I won't watch," Omvig said.

An ensemble of bagpipes and drums welcomed Omvig and other sports fans waiting to be seated at A Bar of Their Own at 2207 E. Franklin Av. Patrons gathered in a circle to watch Jillian Hiscock, the bar's owner, throw out an underhand softball pitch, signaling the opening of her establishment. Applause broke out as the ball was caught.

Employees quickly checked IDs and ushered people to their seats as the smell of fried food filled the bar. Memorabilia celebrating women's sports lined the walls, including U.S. soccer legend Mia Hamm's Wheaties cereal box, a framed photo of the Minnesota Gophers softball jersey from their 2019 Women's College World Series, and a piece of art that said "Watch women's sports."

The idea for the bar came, Hiscock said, when she visited the Sports Bra in Portland, Ore., the first bar of its kind to feature women's sports. Hiscock had some casual conversations about the concept with friends in October 2022 but wasn't sure if her aspirations could become reality. After a conversation with Jenny Nguyen, owner of the Sports Bra, she decided to go for it.

Nguyen had one word to describe the feeling of opening the first women's sports bar: "Frightening." But people "were just really jazzed about the idea," she added.

A Bar of Their Own opened its doors less than a week before the sold-out Big Ten women's basketball tournament, a goal of Hiscock's. Jaime and Sarah Mills both said they want to watch March Madness there in the future.

"That would be cool to come and watch that," Jaime Mills said.

Hiscock's bar opens at a time when women's sports are growing exponentially, between the emergence of the Professional Women's Hockey League and Iowa basketball phenom Caitlin Clark showcasing her talents to the world.

"Places like this help that happen," Hiscock said of growing visibility for women's sports.

While the restaurant features women's sports, not everyone who attended the opening were there for that. "I don't follow sports in the slightest," said Fred Kreider, who sat at the bar with a drink.

The address once housed Tracy's Saloon and Eatery, and it still attracts former customers. Kreider said he just wants to support a local Minnesota business. "I hope they do well," he said.

Nguyen reiterated that while support for women's sports is growing, a lot of work still needs to be done.

"We have an agenda to push," Nguyen said. "That's representation, exposure and access and investment for women."