It’s very important not to think too hard about Boxers. To be sure, the self–proclaimed gay sports bar raises a lot of difficult questions. Is a gay sports bar an unnecessary act of self–segregation of the LGBT community? Is it exploitative for a bar to dress its waiters in nothing but clingy basketball shorts? Is it wrong to bill a place as a sports bar if none of its nine TVs are actually showing a sports game?
Set those thorny questions aside, though, and Boxers can be a really fun time. The beer selection is ample, ranging from Yuengling and Coors to hipper, hoppier stuff like Lagunitas and Yards. The cocktails are strong and often discounted. The bartender mixed me up a sweet, sharp drink with pear vodka, St. Germain, Rose’s lime juice and soda that would have passed muster at Charlie Was a Sinner, but even the basic Tito’s vodka and coke (which was only $5 when I went) was smooth and strong enough to give a good buzz. The music was a reliable mix of ‘80s hits and crowd–pleasing pop. Oh, and the servers are the sort of men who look very, very good with nothing but shorts on, so those looking to do some male gazing won’t be disappointed.
It’s not clear whether this will be a successful formula. On a Tuesday night at 8, the bar wasn’t bustling, but the groups of friends meeting for drinks and the gay volleyball team stopping in after practice all seemed to be having a good time. The bartender assured me that the place gets full for major sporting events like March Madness (which is presumably shown on the TVs, displacing the Golden Girls reruns and reality shows they were playing when I visited). In addition, the theme nights they throw probably create more of a party atmosphere — the advertised “Gearheads and Glamboys” night sounds memorable, to say the least. When the bar starts serving food next week, it could become more of a destination. For now, Boxer’s seems like more like one stop on a night in the Gayborhood, a place to grab a few drinks, sing along to the cheesy tunes, and try not to stare too hard at the bartender’s biceps as he shakes your cocktail. Just don’t expect to see your team playing.