2609 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB.

Underdogs, a new sports bar concept was not a design project for the faint of heart. When presented with the challenge of working with three independently well-established restauranteurs, a five-week timeline, a limited budget and a St. James location that previously failed five times, the Design Shop Girls took a deep breath and said, “let’s do it!”.

Working with the vision of creating a new kind of sports bar within a massive 7500 square foot space and skipping the typical bar layout, Design Shop Inc. transformed a previously cavernous and uninviting space into one that beckoned customers to eat, drink and be merry – and of course, to come back for more. The flooring, kitchen and the oversized bar were salvaged from its previous build out. These elements formed the starting point of a completely new sports bar vernacular that when completed, exuded a different kind of sports vibe through its athletic sock inspired striped graphic detailing that spanned from the ceiling, down the banquettes and onto the floor, micro zones created from tennis court wire caging, gaming fun spaces and the most tvs in any city location.

No longer dead, failing and abandoned, Underdogs is overflowing with customers and busting at its seams; so much so that the owners have hired bouncers. The spell of failed ventures at this location has finally been broken.


All photography by Gary Barringer + Love Life Productions

All photography by Gary Barringer + Love Life Productions