This deserves a hearty, wake-the-neighbors-up cheer. Rough & Tumble — Seattle’s first bar dedicated to women’s sports — is ready to kick things off Friday, Dec. 9, in Ballard.
Here’s what to expect from the groundbreaking destination, which hopes to level the playing field a bit with all the dude-centric pubs around town.
Let it Reign ⚽
The idea for Rough & Tumble started when former Green Lake Crew rower Jen Barnes was looking for a spot to watch a big OL Reign semifinal match last November. Only one bar was willing to switch the channel — but they cut off the action when the Seahawks started up that day. Total foul.
Seeing an opportunity to highlight the thriving women’s sports scene locally, Jen was motivated to create a bar where she could give special attention to the likes of the Reign and Storm, while also showcasing pros in roller derby, kayaking, rock climbing, and more. She even connected with Portland’s new pub The Sports Bra — a similar concept — for inspiration.
Room to play 🏆
The pub took over the cavernous former location of Sawyer and is making good use of the space. Inside you’ll find a 110-ft video wall with 18 TVs, a giant mural from local signmaker Salt and Pepper, and various memorabilia — including a jersey signed by former Storm star Lauren Jackson.
There’s also a dedicated area for families (and a kids menu) since Jen said her goal is to show younger fans “what equal looks like on the screen.”
Eat your heart out 🍽️
If all that sportsball yelling ever gets you famished, there will be a menu of pub grub like burgers available from longtime Seattle chef Tessa Roberts, who will utilize ingredients from local farmers markets. On the drinks side, expect a wide variety of selections from women-owned breweries, wineries, and cideries.
What’s up with the name? 💡
Taken from a quote attributed to Oscar Wilde, “rough girls” was a derogatory term to describe UK women who wanted to play soccer in the early 20th century — but were banned from league grounds across Britain.
Jen has embraced and owned the phrase, giving it a new sense of empowerment. We can’t wait to check out what she’s done with the place.
📍 5309 22nd Ave. NW
⏰ Mondays-Thursdays, 3 p.m.-12 a.m.; Friday, 2 p.m.-1 a.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.