Two DC Bars, One Branding System

Client
Pitchers DC
Project Type
Branding & Website

Dave, the owner of Pitchers, called us with exciting news: he’d just signed the lease to open a new gay bar in a great part of D.C. and he wanted us to do the branding for it. The space was huge, the bar sport-themed; there’d be food, old-school Mario Kart™, and it would open in a month.

A month. Singular. That’s normally how long brand discovery takes, let alone full brand development.

So we hustled, refining Dave’s vision while he refined the space. We had logo concept meetings while floors were being refinished. Reviews in the middle of construction. The paint on the sign was still drying during soft-opening. It was a whirlwind.

There are a lot of gay bars in D.C. We knew Pitcher’s needed to stand out if it was going to compete. It required a clear brand strategy to walk the line between a “regulars” bar and a novelty spot, to encapsulate the feeling of community Dave wanted, and to provide a visual that is both recognizable and engaging.

1
Brand Strategy

Pitcher’s is, ultimately, a sports bar. It couldn’t be too high-gloss and upscale, but it also isn’t a dive. For Dave to be successful, the brand needed to live in the space created by the tensions of these dichotomies. And it needed to get there quickly.

Our strategy was shaped by taking Dave’s initial vision and researching other gay bars and sports bars in the area, so we could find a way to differentiate. Customers needed a strong concept. They needed a bar that felt friendly, a place that felt like having your friends over to watch the game. We tried a about 75 logo variations, pulling in everything from vintage sports team text to custom hand lettering. Dave wanted an iconic character—we knew it would need to be simple enough to be flexible, but solid enough that people would want just it on a shirt. The strategy was easy: make it iconic, make it personable, sprinkle it with gay pride.

And people have rallied behind it.

2
League of Her Own

Given Pitchers’ success, we also developed the brand for A League of Her Own, the sister bar next door. The bar is literally attached to the rest of the Pitchers space and customers can freely walk between them. We needed a brand extension that felt within the Pitchers family, but was still different enough that it was very clearly its own space: a lesbian bar. In fact, the city’s first lesbian bar to open since former ones, sadly, closed down about five years ago.

3
Web Presence

We kept the web presence of the bar simple at Dave’s request—the experience of the bar is social and in-person. The site serves as a landing page ad contact information, but the point of the bar is to go there and get off your phone.

If you want to really learn about the bar, you just have to go.

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