SBJ/January 30-February 5, 2012/Facilities
PNC taps into unused seats, creates Bud bar
Published January 30, 2012, Page 5
The Budweiser Bowtie Bar, named after the beer’s signature logo, debuts April 5, the Pirates’ first home game. The covered lounge will be open to all ticket holders, and a portion will be reserved for group sales.
The Pirates, Budweiser and Aramark, the ballpark’s concessionaire, are sharing the investment, which will run $500,000 to $1 million depending on final project costs, said club President Frank Coonelly. The lounge is tied to the Pirates’ three-year renewal with Bud as the team’s official beer.
|PNC Park’s Budweiser Bowtie Bar will debut April 5, the latest Bud-sponsored MLB area.
The new design, with a U-shaped bar as the centerpiece, doubles the amount of space to 5,000 square feet. Fans in front will have views to the game, and the back of the bar extends over the Allegheny River. A rear glass wall provides protection from winds coming off the river.
The Pirates will first market the bar to groups of 50 to 90 people, segregating them from regular ticket holders, Coonelly said. Group tickets cover seating on bar stools and cushioned chairs with a buffet-style meal served in back of the bar.
For those games where groups are not reserving space in the bar, the team plans to sell roughly 35 individual game tickets for seats in the bar with a food and beverage credit stored in the bar code. On those dates, fans sitting elsewhere in the park will continue to have access to the bar.
The Pirates embarked on the project after reading the results of fan surveys stating the need for more informal hangouts at PNC Park where they can watch the game for a few innings. The Bowtie Bar should satisfy those requests, Coonelly said.
The stadium’s Picnic Park beyond the center-field fence is reserved for group meals but has no views to the field. Groups must leave that space for seats in the stands if they want to watch the game, Coonelly said.
The Bowtie Bar continues the trend across baseball for developing more casual destinations outside of the traditional suite model. “One thing missing from most parks like ours that were built in the late 1990s and early 2000s is a bar-like atmosphere but with a good view of the park,” Coonelly said.
Budweiser products will be served at the Bowtie Bar but it is not an exclusive deal, said Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki.
In addition, Aramark, the bar’s operator, will serve wine, mixed drinks and food. The Trib Total Media Hall of Fame Club above the left-field bleachers is the only other public space at PNC Park where fans can buy wine and hard liquor, Coonelly said.
Local firm DL Astorino, part of the original PNC Park team of architects, designed the Bowtie Bar.