Fans of women's sports are about to get a new hangout, and they have Jenny Nguyen to thank.

Nguyen is the founder of The Sports Bra in Portland, Ore., the nation's first bar dedicated to women's sports, and Jillian Hiscock's inspiration to bring the idea to her hometown.

"It was crazy and cool — and something I didn't think I would be doing," Hiscock said. But she is: Hiscock recently announced that A Bar of Their Own will open early next year in the former Tracy's Saloon and Eatery in Minneapolis' Seward neighborhood.

The path from idea to realization wasn't a direct one for the longtime sports fan (she's a Lynx season ticket holder) and athlete (she was a gymnast and played softball). Kicking around the idea with friends in October 2022, Hiscock wasn't sure it even made sense.

"I don't know as much about restaurants, but maybe that wasn't a bad thing. This isn't a restaurant you could copy and paste," she said. Plus, her career in the higher education and nonprofit sectors unknowingly prepared her. "We operate on very little resources which, it turns out, is 90% of what you need to know to open a bar."

Those casual conversations with friends turned serious, and Hiscock met with The Sports Bra's Nguyen.

"I said, 'Talk me out of it. Tell me why I shouldn't do this.' And she said, 'Absolutely you should do it.' "

Lifting women up

To be clear, A Bar of Their Own is a bar that highlights women's sports, not a sports bar for women. Inclusivity is a major tenet.

Hiscock talks about growing up in a sports-minded family, but not having many opportunities to watch women excel as athletes. Women athletes are playing and excelling at the highest level, she said, but that's not represented on many screens.

Hiscock aims to change that.

"I can't help but think about the power and impact of being able to see professional athletes that look like you," she said. She envisions families and youth softball teams coming in to watch the Women's College World Series as a team, something that wasn't available to her. "I just want to be a place that switches the channel."

Throughout this endeavor, Hiscock is purposeful in her efforts to support women. She's prioritizing women vendors, jerseys from women's teams will hang from the walls, the menu will keep women's needs in mind, and the bar's name is a nod to the movie "A League of Their Own," about the World War II-era female baseball league.

"We are about celebrating and uplifting women in all facets," she said. "We're just looking to provide an inclusive space to watch women's sports."

She found that space in the former Tracy's Saloon, which closed in September after 44 years. Hiscock knew what she was looking for; she wanted an existing neighborhood restaurant with free and nearby parking that could accommodate 75 to 100 people.

"We looked at several locations, and Tracy's was the first one where I walked in and said, 'This could be it,' " Hiscock said. The lease was signed Dec. 1.

The previous owner left many of the furnishings, and the sprawling bar will remain intact. Hiscock plans to lighten up the room and decor and install plenty of televisions to view women's sports.

There will be traditional sports bar food — including the famous wings from Tracy's — but the accessibility Hiscock touts also means there will be robust N/A options and more than token options for those eating vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free.

"We want to flip the script on what food options can look like at a sports bar," she said.

A Bar of Their Own (2207 E. Franklin Av., is aiming to open March 1 — just in time for the Big 10 women's basketball tournament, which will be held in Minneapolis.

"Clearly, there's interest and energy around us," Hiscock said (a crowdfunding campaign, scheduled to end Dec. 15, has been gaining momentum). "We couldn't be happier to bring this to the Twin Cities."