‘A sports lounge beefed up on steroids’
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Every night is a tailgate party at Seventh City Restaurant and Sports Lounge.
&uot;We have everything you’d find at a great tailgate party,&uot; said Quinton Barnes, a Suffolk native and former professional football player who opened the restaurant and sports bar at White Marsh Plaza two months ago.
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&uot;Camaraderie among friends and spectators, good food, and provoking conversation in a friendly environment.&uot;
Barnes, a 1987 football star and graduate of John F. Kennedy High School, spent most of his college ball career at West Virginia Tech. After graduating with degrees in industrial engineering and political science, he spent two years in the late 1990s playing for the Charlotte Panthers.
Seventh City – so named because of Suffolk’s status as the seventh city in Hampton Roads – was born from visits to sports bars around the country while traveling to games.
&uot;We’re a sports lounge beefed up on steroids,&uot; said Barnes, 33, gesturing around the spacious, high-ceilinged storefront he has spent the year and more than $350,000 renovating.
&uot;We want to provide an upscale, comfortable place where sports fans can get together and enjoy good food, cold beverages and watch non-stop athletic events,&uot; he said.
&uot;All the food has a southern twang, with recipes like you would find in your mother’s kitchen.&uot;
Seventh City will go before the Suffolk Planning Commission next week to request a conditional use permit to allow live entertainment, including karaoke, poetry readings and musical performances.
&uot;We’re hopeful the commissioners will support us,&uot; Barnes said. &uot;It would be a good addition.&uot;
Right now, the biggest attraction is the sports bar’s $13,000 12-foot by 12-foot television, which is surrounded by 10 smaller sets throughout the room.
Tables are scattered across mock athletic fields – a lined football field, a basketball court and an ice hockey rink.
Barnes believes opening his sports bar at White Marsh Plaza may be a shot in the arm for the struggling shopping center.
&uot;It’s an opportunity to help revitalize this shopping center, which was once an intricate part of the community,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s a gradual process…that’s going to take patience and support from the community.&uot;
Within the next few months, Seventh City will be joined by at least two other businesses – the Suffolk Public School’s print shop and a grocery store chain, Barnes said.
Last month, around 1:30 a.m. Christmas Day, two women were hospitalized from gunshot wounds from a passerby as they were leaving the club, according to police. No one has been arrested in the incident, said Lt. Debbie George, spokeswoman for the Suffolk Police Department.
Although the club wasn’t involved in the shooting, business has suffered from repercussions from the incident, Barnes said.
&uot;We just want people to know we are here,&uot; he said. &uot;The shooting is not indicative of what Seventh City is about.&uot;