A Northern Virginia-based sports bar chain is rolling its way into Henrico County, filling a building that was left vacant by the bankruptcy of its previous occupant.
Jay’s Sports Lounge is opening its first metro Richmond outpost in the former Fox & Hound Sports Tavern building at 7502 W. Broad St. in the Merchant’s Walk shopping center.
For years, the location was known as Bailey’s Smokehouse & Tavern, before the owners, Dallas-based Last Call Guarantor LLC, changed the brand over to Fox & Hound around 2015.
Fox & Hound closed in September 2016 after the owners filed for bankruptcy, rendering the location vacant for more than two years.
Sanjay Sharma, Jay’s Sports Lounge owner, said he’s targeting a late June opening, adding the location would look to employ up to 55 full- and part-time workers.
“I want it to be unique to Richmond,” Sharma said. “It’s going to be more than just a sports bar. We’re going to have good food and drinks.”
Sharma would not disclose how much he was investing in the venture, but said there would be no heavy demolition work to get the space outfitted for Jay’s, which will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
A native of India, Sharma moved to Virginia when he was 1 year old and got into the hospitality business after college, working at several establishments before stepping out on his own in 2014 with the opening of his first Jay’s outpost in downtown Fredericksburg. He’s also opening a Jay’s in Stafford sometime this quarter.
After a few years of operations in Fredericksburg, Sharma said opening a location in Richmond seemed like a natural progression.
“There’s something about Richmond that makes it really attractive for business,” Sharma said. “I just really enjoy the area.”
In addition to the food, Sharma said patrons can expect cold brews and weekly drink specials. The location, which at 8,200 square feet will be Jay’s largest, also will house more than 50 TVs and leather seating areas.
“Every game, every tournament, every fight, we’re going to carry it at this location,” Sharma said. “The pay-per-view UFC fights, NFL, hockey … people will be able to find what they are looking for.”
Confident that his first Richmond venture will do well, Sharma said he has other regional locations in mind, particularly on the Southside.
“Richmond is a good fit for what we’re trying to do and where we want to grow,” he said.
Jonathan Bowden with NewLink Management Group represented the landlord in the transaction.