Change is in the air at Sidelines Sports Bar in Wilton Manors. Since the beginning of the year, the bar has been smoke free. Co-owner Marty Kildea says the change has been for the best. “I’m so glad we did,” he said. “We’re so glad the community is embracing it.”
The proof is in Sidelines’ bottom line, business has picked up at the gay-owned and operated establishment. The bar is busy every night. It’s not packed to the rafters with a long line of people waiting to get in, but Kildea says there’s always a steady flow of regular clientele.
If you absolutely have to have a smoke, there’s a small patio outside with tables and chairs where customers can still light up and root for their home team.
In the 5 years that it’s been in business, the big draw at Sidelines has always been sports. “We don’t do drag, we don’t do videos – we do sports. And it works for us,” Kildea tells SFGN. The other big attraction is the friendly customers and staff. The music is never blaring and you can actually carry on a conversation without yelling.
While the bar is filled with pool tables, dart boards, and a foosball table, what you won’t find here is food. Sidelines serves only free popcorn and peanuts. That’s enough to keep patrons happy. The bar goes through about 250 pounds of peanuts each week.
March Madness is a busy time at Sidelines. There are games showing on 15 big screen TVs. People come in all day to check on their brackets and see how their teams are doing.
Spring training starts soon so baseball fans will start following their favorite teams, and it doesn’t hurt that the Miami Heat is in the playoffs. Hockey’s catching on more and more, but Kildea says the sport is still a hard sell.
In the summer when basketball is over and sporting events slow down, Sidelines is home to cook offs. On Sundays, there will be barbeques on the patio with beer pong. Top chefs in the area will compete for best ribs, chicken wings and chili. Last year, by the finals, the place was packed.
Each night has a different drink special and sporting event. Here’s the breakdown:
Happy Hour: Monday to Saturday: 2-for-1 drinks from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday: Beer Buckets. $12 for domestic, $15 imports
Monday: Game night featuring poker and Jenga. 2-for-1 drinks for hospitality workers
Tuesday: Discounted pitchers of beer and free pool from open to close
Wednesday: Wild Wednesdays features Dart Night. 2-for-1 drinks from open to close
Thursday: 2-for-1 well drinks and draft beers. $3 margaritas from 9 p.m. to close
Friday: 2-for-1 drink specials from 2 to midnight
Saturday: Free pool from noon to 5 p.m.
Sidelines goes beyond just being a great sports bar. The owners have chartered buses on occasion and have taken groups of their patrons to Miami Heat games, Panthers hockey games and other sporting events. The bars’ owners are a part of the community and are regular participants in LGBT charities like the AIDS Walk.
A big fundraiser is also on the horizon. On April 12, Sidelines is raffling off two tickets for a first class Silversea cruise, 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Florida AIDS Walk.
As for the future, Kildea says he’d like to expand the business. “I’d like to see a Sidelines in every major city in the world.”
Sidelines is located at 2031 Wilton Drive. Visit SidelinesSports.com for more information.