Sports bar BaseCamp opens as upscale spot on West Fifth Street

Photo by Cultivate PR. BaseCamp offers a menu of bites, like burgers and fried pickles, that isn't your typical pub food.

Photo by Cultivate PR. BaseCamp offers a menu of bites, like burgers and fried pickles, that isn’t your typical pub food.

Although sports fans can order Budweiser and chicken wings while they watch a game at BaseCamp, the idea behind the new Warehouse District bar on West Fifth Street is that they don’t have to — they can have a more upscale experience.

Walk into BaseCamp once it opens for dinner and drinks daily at 4 p.m. and you might not guess that it’s a sports bar, save for the 13 TVs spread out among the dimly lit space and the sports memorabilia hung up along the back wall. The cozy booths and comfy chairs, along with a menu of cocktails, wine and craft beer, suggest that it’s more of a sit-down restaurant, but don’t be fooled.

Although BaseCamp hails itself as a sports bar, cocktails and wine are both prominent on the drinks menu.

Photo by Cultivate PR. Although BaseCamp hails itself as a sports bar, cocktails and wine are both prominent on the drinks menu.

BaseCamp founder Chad Barrett, who teamed up with general manager Dan Wyman (formerly of Parkside Projects restaurants like Olive & June) and executive chef Eric Kuypers (formerly of Uchi and the Peached Tortilla), wanted to transform the concept of a sports bar with BaseCamp — offering “elevated pub food” along with a laid-back atmosphere, bar manager Shea Baespflug said.

“It’s for people who want to watch a game and be in a nice, chill environment with good-quality products,” he said at a recent interview. “For sports fans, we don’t want to go where it’s going to be packed and loud and gross and everything’s fried and it’s all cheap beer. That has its place, but you don’t want to do that every time you watch a sporting event.”

The bar will play the major showdowns — such as a UFC fight or the NFL draft — but also allows fans of a particular sport to take up a couple screens watching the game they love. Already, Baespflug said, regulars come in to watch their teams play.

“We cover all bases without shutting anyone out,” he said.

That’s true of the food and drink menus as well. BaseCamp offers the expected bar bites of chicken wings, burgers and fries, but they come with ingredients like peach barbecue sauce and aioli instead of ketchup. There are also options like mac & cheese with taleggio, fontina, English cheddar, cavatappi and herbed bread crumbs and Asian ribs with sweet chili and green onion.

Pair those with either a Texas beer or a cocktail. The cocktail list, which Baespflug helped to craft, is a mix of original drinks and riffs on classics, like the Beam & Hops with Jim Beam whiskey, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, a draft IPA and basil and the Blue Steel with Dewar’s Scotch, creme de violette, agave and lemon.

And don’t discount the wine list, either — it was put together by Wyman, whose experience at Parkside Projects means he knows his reds, whites and bubbly wines.

“I don’t know how many sports bars have a really nice wine list,” Baespflug said. “So many times, you’ll see a man come in and watch a game with his wife, and even though they’re both into it, for drinks he wants a big old beer and she wants a glass of wine. At other places, she’s stuck with ‘we have two types of wine for you and they’ve been on the shelf for two years.’”

Check out BaseCamp on Wednesday, when the bar is throwing a grand opening party with free appetizers and NBA playoffs playing on the TVs. BaseCamp will also be hosting a Kentucky Derby watch party on Saturday starting at 4 p.m., with specials on champagne and mint juleps.

The bar, located below Summit Rooftop Lounge at 120 W. Fifth St., is opened from 4 p.m. to midnight Sundays through Thursdays and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, visit facebook.com/BaseCampATX/.

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