Boxers, the gay-owned and operated chain of sports bars with two locations in New York (Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen) and one in Philadelphia, will open two new venues in NYC this year: one on the Upper East Side and another in Washington Heights late spring.
“Washington Heights deserves it own neighborhood gay bar,” says Bob Fluet, co-owner of Boxers. “We have made it our mission to go into neighborhoods that have lots of gay people but no gay bar. We are bringing the contemporary gay bar to them.”
The Upper East Side venue, located at 1664 3rd Avenue at 93rd Street, is actually already open. They celebrated its grand opening over the weekend, and Wilsonmodels was there taking photographs of the crowd.
Billed as “America’s Gay Sports Bar,” Boxers mixes elements traditionally found in sports bars like pool tables, beer on tap, brick oven pizza, 2-for-1 happy hours and flatscreen TVs broadcasting sports games with touches like DJs, large outdoor spaces (a terrace in Chelsea and an open rooftop in Hell’s Kitchen), pop-music videos and shirtless male bartenders in gym shorts.
Boxers first opened in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood in 2010, the creation of two gay athletes who wanted a place they and their teammates could hang out at after a game. In 2012, the bar expanded into New York’s Hell’s Kitchen with a second location that also serves brunch on its rooftop, one of the only rooftop decks in the neighborhood. Then, in 2014, they opened a third spot in Philadelphia.
“As the gay community has continued its migration, so has Boxers,” explains Fluet. “We’re a place to hang out with friends, relax, have fun, listen to great music, catch a sports game, eat, mingle or watch an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. We also strive to bring greater visibility to the gay community in each neighborhood we serve.”
The chain of gay sports bars also maintains strong ties to the local LGBT sports leagues in each area, sponsoring over 20 leagues and the Major League Soccer Team NYCFC.
“They do it by being all-inclusive,” a statement reads. “Boxers welcome gays, lesbians, transgender and every letter of the LGBT+ allies into its bars. Perhaps most surprisingly, straight people also feel welcome due to its laid back and contemporary feel.”
Co-owner Rob Hynds adds, “We believe that in order to achieve full equality, the gay community needs to open its arms and show its love to our allies.”
They also released a calendar in association with Smirnoff vodka and the Human Rights Campaign. Shot by photographer Julio Nuno with graphic design by Mattioli Productions, the calendar is free and available at all their locations.
“With two New York locations opening soon, we have a lot to celebrate in 2018,” Fluet sums up. “It’s all thanks to our customers who have supported us through the years.”
“To show our appreciation, the 2018 calendar is our gift to them. We hope it is a small reminder to toast inclusivity and love in all its forms each and everyday.”