A women-owned sports bar focused on showcasing female athletes and their competitions is coming to Long Beach in late July.

The bar’s co-owners, longtime locals Jax Diener and Emme Eddy, plan to hold a grand opening that coincides with the Paris 2024 Olympics opening ceremony on July 26.

“What a great way to celebrate women’s sports when most people are rooting for the same team,” Diener said.

The married couple said they have had that date as a goal since launching the business last September. Now, their bar and restaurant called  Watch Me! Sports Bar is about to become a reality.

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They are in the process of renovating a space at 6527 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. formerly occupied by Playa Amor Mexican Cocina, which had its last day of service on May 31.

Playa Amor opened in 2015 at The Marketplace Long Beach shopping center, but the recent closure was brought on by “the seemingly endless construction of the center, followed soon after by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Playa Amor was the sister restaurant of chef Thomas Ortega’s Michelin-rated Amor Y Tacos in Cerritos. Ortega also owns Amorcito at Long Beach Exchange in East Long Beach.

Starting July 26, Watch Me! Sports Bar will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day for the duration of the Olympics. After the Olympics, the initial plan is for the bar to be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Jackie Diener, left, and Megan Eddy outside the location of their new bar in Long Beach, Tuesday, June 4, 2024. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Partnerships with the L.A. Sparks WNBA team and the Angel City FC professional women’s soccer teams are in the works, but both teams have already helped fundraise for the bar by donating some ticket proceeds from select games, Diener said.

The idea behind the name Watch Me! Sports Bar came from Diener’s mentality when she grew up playing sports.

“It always seemed whenever someone would tell me I couldn’t do something or not believe in me, all that did was fuel my fire and I would just think, ‘Watch me,’” she said.

Opening her own sports bar has been her dream since she was in her twenties, Diener said.

In planning Watch Me! Sports Bar, the couple visited the country’s first bar to show exclusively women’s sports, The Sports Bra in Portland, Oregon, which opened in 2022.

The Long Beach residents also paid close attention to the development of subsequent bars, like A Bar of Their Own in Minneapolis and Rough & Tumble in Seattle.

Diener and Eddy helped plan their menu along with chef Charlie Ray, whose culinary background includes working at DILL, a restaurant in Reykjavík, Iceland, and serving as head chef of Värt: Sustainable Food Lab in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The menu at Watch Me! will include typical bar fare such as wings and burgers, but it will also include pasta options, vegan options and a ribeye steak.

In addition to 20 years teaching music, Eddy spent the first two decades of her life working in the hospitality and food service industry. She held jobs in most areas of the front of the house including assistant managing, server training and bartending.

Diener majored in recreation management with the goal of working in sports but ended up in various industries including advertising, marketing and entertainment.

She left her last role as director of content production for Living Spaces to devote her energy to planning the bar and organizing fundraising efforts.

The bar has an ongoing fundraising campaign here that will run through the end of June.

As part of the grand opening ceremony, the bar plans to recognize athletes, coaches and sports ops personnel from Long Beach and across the country. Anyone interested in being part of the grand opening should email [email protected] by July 19.