Disney Springs finally gets its sports bar, next summer

October 10, 2018, 11:56 AM · Of all the dozens of places to eat and drink in Walt Disney World's Disney Springs, perhaps it's a bit surprising that the shopping complex lacks any version of what might be America's favorite place to drink — a sports bar.

Sure, there's the ESPN Club way over at Disney's Boardwalk and a smaller ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, but you'd think that the main shopping and dining complex at the world's most popular theme park resort would merit its own sports bar. CityWalk up the road at Universal Orlando has the NBC Sports Grill & Brew, after all, and it's not like Disney to sit by and not match its competition.

So next summer, Disney Springs will plug the hole in its lineup by opening a sports bar. No, it won't carry Disney's ESPN branding. With the closure of the Downtown Disney location at the Disneyland Resort, all of Disney's ESPN Zone restaurants now are out of business. So Disney Springs is turning to an outside vendor, City Works Eatery & Pour House.

(Let us pause now to note the irony of Disney officially offering a "pour house" on property. Up until now, that's where many visitors thought they'd be going after paying for their Disney World trip.)

City Works Eatery & Pour House
Concept art courtesy Disney

City Works has nine other locations around the country — either open or planned — with the nearest being in Doral, Florida. A quick glance at the food menu shows the usual, with burgers and sandwiches from $12-17 and an assortment of classic sports bar appetizers and entrees. The main feature is the drinks, of course, with City Works promising 80 beers on tap, including limited supply selections from local breweries. The Doral location even offers wine on tap, too.

The restaurant will open next summer on the West Side of Disney Springs, but there's no more detail on the opening beyond that.

Replies (13)

October 10, 2018 at 12:49 PM

This is in addition to the NBA Experience?

October 10, 2018 at 1:03 PM

At this point, I refuse to believe that one is happening until I can walk into it.

October 10, 2018 at 1:20 PM

Dude, construction on the NBA Experience is about half complete.

October 10, 2018 at 1:54 PM

"America's favorite place to drink — a sports bar" More Starbucks opened than sports bars.

October 10, 2018 at 4:52 PM

@Anton...

Can’t remember the last time I went to Starbuck’s solo to enjoy a game. Can’t remember the last time I went to Starbuck’s to meet-up with my buds for a beer and catch a game.
Can’t remember the last time I went to Starbuck’s to just enjoy a micro-brew.

If you’re into sports, you’ll understand how a sports bar provides a more entertaining environment, thus a favorite place to drink.

October 10, 2018 at 7:35 PM

Also, the NBC sports bar at CityWalk is lame.

October 10, 2018 at 9:14 PM

I can’t remember the last time I went into a sports bar.

If you want to watch sports, it costs you $20 per hour in food and drinks and you’re unlikely to get to the end of a game. I watch at home and enjoy beer that costs less than $1 a bottle.

October 11, 2018 at 2:31 AM

it is not the sport that they want you to watch, but the sport is to get your dollars

October 11, 2018 at 9:02 AM

I'm more drawn to the conflict of interest that TH has highlighted. The NBA Experience is supposed to be a sports bar/entertainment complex on the West Side of Disney Springs. By bringing in City Works, which is owned and managed by an outside company, Disney is essentially leasing nearby space to compete directly with their own product. It doesn't really make much sense to try to either undercut the NBA Experience or to bring in a competitor to demonstrate the superiority of Disney's in-house sports bar. Having overlapping entities so close together doesn't really serve a purpose, unless as Robert notes the NBA Experience is far from ready for primetime.

I actually liked the NBC Sports Bar that had an excellent selection of taps and a reasonably priced gastro-pub menu. However, I was a bit shocked to see how empty it was during the World Cup matches when I was there in June, granted all of those were happening in the early mornings and the middle of the day when most people are busy in the theme parks.

I do think there is a need for a sports bar experience at Disney Springs, but I think the NBA Experience is more tailored to the audience that visits Disney's retail complex. I think if City Works were the only option, it would prove to be successful, but if it has to compete side to side with the NBA Experience, it probably won't last very long. If it were a brew-pub, it might be able to carve out a niche (assuming the in-house products were any good), but simply serving a selection of local beers is not going to differentiate this enough to succeed in such a competitive marketplace.

October 11, 2018 at 1:21 PM

The NBA Experience is more of a DSTP attraction than a sports bar. I would be more likely to watch my Bulls lose at Miller's Field House or Sea Dogs.

Also with the crowds that pack DSTP there will be plenty of business to support both the Pour House and NBAE.

October 11, 2018 at 2:05 PM

My impression of the NBA Experience was that it was going to be similar to the NBA City or ESPN Zone with very prominent sport-watching locations, dining areas, along with an arcade-like space. I think the audience for the NBA Experience will be a little different than a typical sports bar, like City Works, attracting more families, but there's likely to be quite a bit of overlap between the 2 establishments.

Perhaps both can survive with the mobs of Disney Drones that descend on the retail complex on a daily basis, but I would put my money on the NBA Experience (and its Disney backing) to have more longevity than this generic sports bar nearby.

October 12, 2018 at 4:09 PM

Agreed! The addition of the NBA footprint at DSTP is fantastic news.

October 15, 2018 at 5:57 PM

It's actually being built adjacent to the NBA Experience -- on the west end of the same building across from the Cirque box office. I don't think they are competitors. I think they are going after different demographics.

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