Rumors: San Francisco sports bar with style 

click to enlarge Chi Nguyen presents her rendition of the Manhattan, available at Rumors. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Chi Nguyen presents her rendition of the Manhattan, available at Rumors.

Rumors is a place where your mind tries to fill in what you expect to see. You think, “This is a sports bar, so there must be a poster offering two-for-one Miller Lites, an inflatable football helmet dangling from the ceiling or a neon beer sign hanging on a wall somewhere, right?” Try not to spend too much time looking, because they aren’t there. But you will find décor that is decidedly more sophisticated than a typical sports bar. The raised seating area has a vaguely retro appearance, with red-vinyl booths, and burgers and fries on patrons’ plates. Dark-red tones on the walls serve as a backdrop to the wood grain of the bar that looks as though it has been refurbished after being built in a bygone era. And the obligatory high-definition TV screens and a projector are stationed around the bar, giving every seat a view of the game. A pool table and dart boards round out the bar activities. We spoke with Chi Nguyen, our pink-haired and tattooed bartender and Rumors co-owner.

The building looks like it has a fresh coat of paint. When did you open?

We’ve been opened for about three months. It was a sports bar at one point, but we’re going for something a little different. We call it a “sports lounge.” When the game is over, the lights are turned down and lounge-y music turned up. The idea is to get people to come for the game, but stay for the vibe. And we wanted an atmosphere where a guy can bring his girlfriend and she won’t be bored or feel out of place.
 
Manhattans are pretty popular right now. What’s your take on this one?

This one doesn’t have any sweet vermouth and the twist is that we use pomegranate liqueur instead, along with a few dashes of orange bitters.

How does the “rumors” theme play into the bar?

There is a gallery of famous rumors hung up around the pool table area. Most of them involve celebrities from 10 years back when I was in high school, like when J.Lo supposedly insured her booty. And we’ve got chalkboards in the bathrooms where people can write their own rumors. The difference between the guys’ and girls’ is really funny. Guys write cuss words and draw dirty pictures; the girls write quotes or actual rumors.  

How often are you going to have the barbecue stationed out front?

We’ve been doing it on Thursdays and just decided to try it on a whim. It just feels like summer when you have a grill going. Same with football, it just adds to the environment. Last week we did ribs, and we’re working on having different themes go with what we’re serving. We’re a new business, so we’re still trying new things, getting to know the community, shaking hands and trying to spread the word organically.

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Rob Goszkowski

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