For years, Jillian Hiscock has been a fan of women’s sports but has struggled to find a local sports bar that regularly showcases the leagues and teams she passionately follows.
Rather than continuing the search for that location, Hiscock is instead creating one herself while attempting to assist in the growth and reach of women’s athletics.
Hiscock, a season ticket holder of the Minnesota Lynx and Minnesota Gophers softball, plans to open up the first-ever bar in Minnesota dedicated to showing exclusively women’s sports on TV screens.
A Bar of Their Own, which is on track to come to the Twin Cities in 2024, will provide fans with an inclusive, family-friendly location to come together to share in the enjoyment of women’s sports around the clock. It’s a vision that has been in the works for Hiscock ever since she became a passionate supporter of the Lynx, Gophers and women’s sports around the globe.
“It was really inspired by The Sports Bra, which I think a lot of Lynx fans know about. They started out in Portland in February of 2022 and when it first started, we were geeked out about it and were like ‘we gotta get out there.’ I kept asking my friends who was going to do this in Minnesota,” Hiscock said on the Hitting the Hardwood Podcast with Mitchell Hansen. “At the time, I was actually working for the Women’s Final Four, which happened to be taking place in Minneapolis. It was such a cool time to be surrounded by all these women’s sports fans and seeing all the excitement in Minneapolis as all of these women’s sports fans came from all over the country to watch women’s basketball. I just had this feeling that it could work here.”
After pondering the idea for months, Hiscock finally decided it was time to pursue this dream full-time with the hopes of opening in March of 2024 at a location to be determined.
“After about six months of kind of joking around about it with my wife, we got really serious about it in May of this year. I reached out to Jenny Nguyen who owns The Sports Bra and talked with her about how she got started and how everything happened. In July, we really started taking off and working on this full-time. I am now officially launched in terms of our website and we have some crowdfunding going on with the goal of being open in March, which is when the Big 10 women’s and men’s basketball tournaments will be back in Minneapolis.”
Hiscock has been heavily involved in the Minnesota sports scene since she was a three-sport athlete in high school in Mankato. She is not only a proud season ticket holder of the Lynx and Gophers softball team, but she is also a community owner of Minnesota Aurora FC and continues to be involved in recreation sports teams throughout the community.
This next endeavor for Hiscock has been one welcomed with support — and donations — from many women’s sports fans, including Lynx fans and the organization itself.
“The blessing we have of being in Minneapolis is that we have a huge list of women’s sports teams here locally, both at the professional league all the way down to youth and amateur leagues that are reaching out and being like ‘how can we be involved?’ I met with [ President of Business Operations] Carley Knox from the Lynx [recently] to talk about what that could look like in terms of working with them,” Hiscock said. “There has been lots of support in terms of them wanting us to be successful and believing in the concept.
“I think that’s one of the cool things is that support is coming from all over the place. It’s not just the huge population of Lynx fans, but it goes down to like a youth softball league reaching out to me asking if they can have their team party here. That’s exactly the kind of stuff that we want to have and build in the community here with A Bar of Their Own.”
Like many other followers of women’s athletics, especially Lynx fans, Hiscock wants A Bar of Their Own to be a go-to location for fans to visit to enjoy the sporting events they love while also exposing the casual fans to the WNBA, women’s basketball and all other women’s sports.
“I have found such an incredible community of sports fans that support the Lynx, support the Gophers softball team, support all these different teams, that I just really love,” Hiscock said. “One of our big goals in building the community at A Bar of Their Own is that we want to make it easier for people to be casual sports fans. We want people to be able to walk into a bar and be like ‘I’ve actually never watched roller derby, let’s see what this is all about’ or ‘oh, I’ve heard volleyball is really popular but I’ve never sat down and watched it because I don’t have whatever channel it’s playing on.’
Hiscock wants to share with others why she enjoys being a supporter of the Lynx, the WNBA and all other women’s sports. That community has given a lot to her in terms of entertainment, and now she wants to give that right back to others while helping increase the exposure and enjoyment of basketball and all other women’s athletics.
“I’ve heard so many stories from people that have reached out about how difficult or frustrating i can be to walk into a traditional sports bar and feel like my sports aren’t on TV,” Hiscock added. “We want it to feel safe and inclusive, and that you can walk into A Bar of Their Own and know that your game is probably already going to be on the TV. And if it’s not, we absolutely want to change it and get it on there because that’s what it is about — lifting up those women athletes.”
Listen to the Full Podcast
Hear the entire Hitting the Hardwood podcast with Jillian Hiscock, including her endeavor of opening up A Bar of Their Own, what she hopes this new space will provide sports fans of all ages, what her thoughts on the Lynx are, why she supports the Lynx and the WNBA, and more.