At Bethesda’s Wing Hub, men ogle ESPN SportsCenter as they sip beer and eat wings along the bar. It’s the typical sports bar scene. But it’s the “boys only” vibe that prompted owner Jeff Trilling to rebrand the place as Maggie’s.
The switchover, first reported by Bethesda magazine, will mean more than a name change. Maggie’s will remain a sports bar, just one that Trilling hopes will be more accessible to women. It will have the same wings as Wing Hub but several new additions, like New York-style pizza and a tiki bar on the patio. “So many girls I know wouldn’t come in more than once or twice a month,” says Trilling. “I asked them if they’d come in if I changed the restaurant name to Maggie’s, and their instant reaction is, ‘Absolutely.’”
The name is an homage to a Tenleytown pizzeria called Maggie’s, first opened in the 1950s, that Trilling’s father owned from 1964 to 1979. After he sold it, the original Maggie’s continued to operate until 1998. “Playboy had them as the No. 1 one bar in the country for a ridiculous number of years,” Trilling says. (Although he probably shouldn’t tell that to the women he’s trying to attract to the restaurant.)
Maggie’s currently looks no different than Wing Hub, but Trilling is collecting items that used to hang at the restaurant’s namesake. He hopes to complete Maggie’s new look and begin serving pizza by Aug. 11.
“Once we were stereotyped—albeit we ran a very profitable business as Wing Hub—I wanted something more,” Trilling says. “My whole philosophy is a sports bar that’s comfortable for everybody.”
Next year, Trilling says he’ll continue renovating Maggie’s by adding garage-style windows and moving the tiki bar inside.
Maggie’s, 4914 Cordell Ave., Bethesda; 301-907-9466; maggiesdc.com
Photo by Stephanie Haven