The move to acquire Shooters Bar & Grill was 10 years in the making for new owner John Sparkman. Over the years, he kept inquiring about the business while operating his sandwich shop, Simple Sands, off of Ritchie Highway in Pasadena.
Finally he got the answer he wanted, and he officially took over Shooters on May 1.
“To get back into the bar business was always my focus,” said Sparkman, who was a part owner at Cheeseburger in Paradise before opening Simple Sands. “Being a bar owner means working late nights, and I wanted to have more time with my kids. After eight and a half years at the sandwich shop, this opportunity presented itself.”
Patrons have noticed changes to both the interior and the menu at Shooters. In what he described as a complete overhaul, Sparkman removed a few pool tables to make room for eight more dining tables, and he’s bringing a cleaner look to the floors and bathrooms.
Shooters is also now open during lunch hours. As for the menu, Sparkman brought with him some of his signature items from Simple Sands: the Cuban sand and the turkey Brazilian. Those options complement an array of items including burgers, subs, wings and salads.
“For now, we’re going light with the menu changes,” said Sparkman, who is excited to have a full kitchen, an amenity he didn’t have at Simple Sands. “We now sell crabs every day. I want to add some seafood flare to the menu.”
To make Shooters more female friendly, the staff is serving $6 crushes and more cocktails. Anyone can enjoy the power hour special: $1 Bud Light and Budweiser bottles from 3:00pm-4:00pm and 11:00pm-midnight.
Shooters was known as a Steelers bar before he took over, but Sparkman said fans of all teams will be welcome during game days.
While Sparkman is looking forward to the next chapter for Shooters, former owner Scott Marx is looking back fondly at his 13 years of ownership. Marx said he decided to sell the bar because the grueling schedule was taking away time he could spend with his family.
“I love Shooters: the regulars, the happy hour Keno players, the pool leagues, dart teams, poker players, the Steeler Fan Club and the employees,” Marx said. “Saying goodbye was the hard part. Shooters is going in the right direction with John!”
Sparkman eventually plans to change the name of the establishment, and he believes the new direction will be refreshing to customers.
“My focus has been changing the image from a pool hall to a sports bar and restaurant that is family friendly,” he said. “Older kids can come in and play the arcade games or shoot pool with their parents. We want to offer good food, great hospitality, and people don’t have to spend a fortune.”
Shooters has trivia on Sunday from 7:00pm-9:00pm and poker on Monday and Friday at 7:00pm. Hours of operation are 11:00am-2:00am seven days a week. To learn more about Shooters, swing by 904 Ritchie Highway in Severna Park or call 410-544-4669.