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Women's sports bar finds home in former Playa Amor space

'Watch Me! Sports Bar' will celebrate and showcase women's competitions ahead of the Summer Olympic Games.

Women's sports bar finds home in former Playa Amor space
Jackie Diener, Jemele Hill, and Megan Eddy at a recent Watch Me! event in Long Beach. Courtesy photo from Watch Me! Sports Bar IG @watchme_sportsbar.

For years, Jackie Diener has dreamed of creating a space where female athletes and women’s sports are front and center.

Now, Long Beach will be home to one of just a handful of sports bars that have cropped up over the past two years focused almost exclusively on showing women’s sports leagues from the WNBA to the National Women’s Soccer League to college divisions and more.

Watch Me! Sports Bar will take over the former Playa Amor space off Second Street and PCH in the Marketplace Long Beach shopping center. The popular Mexican restaurant run by Chef Thomas Ortega closed at the end of May.

A post on the restaurant’s Instagram cited “seemingly endless construction of the center, followed soon after by the impact o the COVID-19 pandemic” as the reason for its closure.

The Long Beach Post laid off Caitlin Antonios on March 22, yet she’s still reporting on the city without pay. Thank Caitlin for her work.

Diener’s wife and co-owner Megan Eddy have been fundraising to get the bar open, partnering with the WNBA’s LA Sparks organization and Angel City Football Club. They’ve also launched a Give Butter campaign to collect donations.

The bar will have multiple televisions for game-viewing and, unlike some bars, the sound will be on so customers can follow the action.

While the bar may occasionally show men’s competitions, Diener says there are plenty of other places to watch those. Watch Me! Sports Bar is intended to be an inclusive space to celebrate female athletes.

Now more than ever there’s a desire for people to have access to women’s sports. Caitlin Clark makes national headlines almost daily and surveys show viewership for female sports is on the rise. National networks have also moved to invest in coverage of women’s competitions.

A grand opening has been set for July 26 at 4 p.m. with a ribbon cutting and an inaugural summer Olympics opening day viewing party.

“We’re scrambling to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time and with our “Watch Me!” mindset, we’re making it happen,” Diener said in a statement.

The bar’s name was inspired by a determination to prove naysayers wrong.

Diener and Eddy have brought on Chef Charlie Ray to head up the restaurant’s menu. Ray said earlier this year the bar will serve upscale gastropub cuisine with a focus on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.

Watch Me! Sports Bar will be located at 6527 E. Pacific Coast Highway. Follow Watch Me! on Instagram for further updates.

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