Fans of Wood Tavern's laid-back scene will rejoice to hear that owner Cesar Morales is opening a sports bar in midtown.
Benchwarmers, an intimate neighborhood spot is scheduled to open mid-June on the first floor of the former SoHo Lounge space on NE 36th Street in Midtown. Back in October, Morales leased the space with plans to open up a nightclub, Bizerq, on the second floor.
Bizerq is still opening, with Benchwarmers the first phase of the project.
Morales explains the intimate sports bar will seat between 50 to 60 people and sell well-priced sports bar favorites like wings, nachos, and burgers. What's new and notable? Well, potatoes... in many different forms, for one.
In an attempt to find out what potential customers like best, Morales polled his Facebook followers on their favorite form of fries and got lots of feedback. So, he decided to please as many people as possible by offering a plethora of fries -- and toppings. "I figured let's do everything, so we'll have curly fries, waffle fries, sweet potato fries, straight fries, and fresh potato chips." Toppings include cheese, chili, barbecued ketchup, aioli, and a "burger" topping. Benchwarmers will also feature a walk-up window where you can buy a cone of fries to go. For dessert there's a Krispy Kreme doughnut milkshake.
Benchwarmers will also feature a good selection of craft beers, a full liquor bar, and "spiked sodas". Morales explains that Mexican Coke bottles will be "spiked" with rum and lime. "It's the little things. Those touches that make the difference."
Of course, a sports bar is all about the vibe -- and the TVs. Morales said that the space, decorated with sports memorabilia from the '70s and '80s, will feature tons of televisions. "Every seat will have great viewing," and a good sound system. Of course, look forward to watch parties and (hopefully) World Cup viewing. "I love the Heat and soccer and I wind up going to Brickell or the beach to watch games. I felt there was a real need for a neighborhood sports bar here."
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Benchwarmers will be open Sunday through Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m.; Thursday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. through 5 a.m. (The kitchen will close one hour before the bar.) If you've got hospitality experience, Benchwarmers is hiring bartenders, bussers, barbacks, servers, line cooks, and managers. To apply, visit the open call on Tuesday, May 27, at 1 p.m. at the sports bar.