Woofs Sports Bar / Photo via Instagram

Best in the Biz: Woofs Sports Bar

This month’s LGBTQ business spotlight is on Woofs Sports Bar. We sat down with owner Gregory Hughes to discuss the ins and outs of his business.

When was Woofs founded and how long have you been in business?

November 2002. We’ve been in business for [almost] 22 years.

Why was the business founded?

I used to host a Super Bowl party from 1993 to 2002, and the party grew every year to the point I had over 400 people coming through my house on Super Bowl Sunday. So, [I] along with some other people decided that maybe it was a good time to find a bar or open a bar. We used our Super Bowl email list to get the word out to everyone, and we’ve been successful since.

How is business now compared to pre-pandemic?

We moved in 2019 and right after the move, we did see an increase in business. Business fell off in 2020 to 2021, maybe 2022, but we have since rebounded, and we’re now probably a little bit better than we were in 2019. COVID put a big kibosh on everything for a while, but we stuck to our guns. One reason we survived COVID was our kitchen, because we have a full restaurant and kitchen, and that [helped] us when things were tight during COVID.

What are the greatest challenges of running your business?

The greatest challenge is landlords. Of course, COVID was a challenge. Currently, our expenses for everything since post-COVID have gone up. It costs us more for food, liquor, maintenance, and work. Everyone charges a travel fee just to look at the problem … If you talk to any restaurant owner now, they’ll tell you the biggest challenge is all their expenses have gone up on everything … Unfortunately, we are losing more and more of our gay bars and restaurants, or gay-friendly bars and restaurants. A lot of that is [because] the rents have gone up so high that it’s just not feasible to be here. We’ve lost things like Henry’s. We’ve lost Joe’s on Juniper to development. [We’ve lost] places that gays used to go and just enjoy themselves in a greater atmosphere. That’s why I say [having a] landlord is one of the big challenges to real estate. Real estate in the city of Atlanta is just getting really, really cost-prohibitive.

What are the greatest rewards?

The greatest reward for me is giving back to the community. We try to support and sponsor a lot of gay sports leagues. We are usually open to having fundraisers for LGBTQ businesses and nonprofit organizations. The best thing we can do is give back to the community in some way, to help them and have a place where people are comfortable being themselves in a nice environment.

Anything you want to share with readers?

We have Music Bingo and a take on trivia called Family Feud. We try to stay true to our sports heritage, but we’re open for everyone to come and enjoy the restaurant.

 

Business info: 

Woofs Sports Bar

494 Plasters Ave NE, Ste. 200

woofsatlanta.com

(404) 869-9422