Saleem Fernandez, the owner of Social Junkie, the new sports bar opening next month in the old Sawyer Park digs on Washington Avenue, is changing the layout, look and decor of the bar, and hopes to dispel any lingering feeling that the door policy will be based on the color of your skin.
"My places are not for everybody. I'm not trying to attract everybody," Fernandez tells CultureMap in an exclusive interview."(But) if you notice my name, I am a minority...I can confidently tell you that my place is not racist. It's just a perception."
"My places aren't for everybody. I'm not trying to attract everybody," Fernandez tells CultureMap in an exclusive interview. "(But) if you notice my name, I am a minority...I can confidently tell you that my place is not racist. It's just a perception."
In the past, some patrons were denied entrance to Sawyer Park and clubs that Fernandez owns for not meeting a dress code, which some have interpreted as a way to keep minorities out. "The race card will always be thrown—I'm not worried about that," Fernandez responds. "I'm wanting that general demographic of sports junkies who want a nice place to drink, with no kids."
Fernandez, who owns numerous clubs and bars, including Roosevelt Bar on Washington Avenue and 5th Amendment in Midtown, says the remodeled space will be "fun and classy." Labeling it a "sports bar with class," he says Social Junkie will include a full-serve bar and grill, four private rooms (Sawyer Park only had one) and outside cabanas.
"It will be much nicer than any sports bar around. We have other people, athletes/investors who we are working with," Fernandez says. "Tuesdays we will have a live video broadcast with a Texans player—can't say who that is yet. We will also have a live radio broadcast here—an a.m. sports radio station."
The bar will have 30 TVs to watch your favorite team— private viewing parties will be allowed. The weekend is particularly aimed at sports enthusiasts, with drink specials and brunch on Sunday.
Fernandez says customers should feel comfortable coming to his bar — it is a sports bar after all — but he will insist on a dress code. Not permitted: Tank tops, shorts above the knee, and chains hanging out of your pants. "Standards of entry will be the usual — the dress code will have to be enforced when they get there," he says.
The bar is set to open Sept. 13.