XL Center Considers Adding Standing-Only Bar For Arena's Lower Bowl
A plan under consideration for the XL Center would "replace two sections of seating in the lower bowl with an 'everyman's bar' giving general admission event-goers a taste of the perks of premium seating," according to Kenneth Gosselin of the HARTFORD COURANT. The bar "would be for standing only, accommodating about 100." The concept "has been tried" at New Orleans Arena, with an area called the "Party Perch." XL Center GM Chris Lawrence said, "It gives people another place besides their seat. You can watch the game like you're in a sports bar, but you're out in the bowl." Capital Region Development Authority Exec Dir Michael Freimuth said that the bar, "which would serve drinks and a limited food menu, is part of a larger goal of opening up the bowl area." Another measure "being considered is removal of some of the interior doors that now separate the concourse from the bowl." The renovations would be paid for with $35M in state funding "already approved by the state legislature." The new bar area would "cost about $750,000." Whether the bar is built "depends heavily" on how much of the state funding "is eaten up by what is expected to be the biggest expense: revamping the XL Center's building systems, with a goal of boosting energy efficiency" (HARTFORD COURANT, 11/2).