Metro Weekly

Feeling Nellie

The long-awaited sports bar, Nellie's, opens its doors

Really, what better name could there be for a gay sports bar than ”Nellie’s”?

You can thank Douglas Schantz’s great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, the eponymous inspirations for the newest addition to D.C.’s nightlife. After more than a year of remodeling — and community-wide marketing — the hot-topic bar is finally ready for visitors.

Don’t worry, says Schantz, you don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy Nellie’s atmosphere — though sports fans and athletes will likely find a lot to enjoy. From the racquets, bats, oars and clubs that decorate Nellie’s walls to the ubiquitous wide-screen televisions throughout both floors.

Even the bathrooms are in on the act, sporting sinks from D.C.’s long-demolished Griffith Stadium, home of the Washington Senators baseball team.

While there’s a lot for the fan of pro sports to watch at Nellie’s, Schantz also plans to make the restaurant and bar a destination for local gay and lesbian athletes. The walls of the dining area are ”a blank canvas right now that will be filled” with photos of local teams. Soon the tabletops will also feature information and memorabilia from sports teams and organizations.

Nellie herself gazes down over the bar, where a sculpted team of terriers whimsically stands guard along the rail. Upstairs has the vibe of an English pub, while an outdoor deck will debut this fall in time for football season.

From weekend warriors to occasional mini-golfers, Nellie’s looks to have all the bases covered.

Nellie’s Sports Bar is located at 900 U St. NW, and daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. — open to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturday, plus open at 10 a.m. on weekends). For more information visit

Sean Bugg is Editor Emeritus for Metro Weekly.