Chase Field: Baseball Gameday Guide


Much has changed since Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, hosted its first game in 1998.

Back then, when the stadium was known as Bank One Ballpark—locals affectionately called it "BOB"—downtown Phoenix all but rolled up its sidewalks after the business day ended. The ballpark sits a block from US Airways Center, home of the Phoenix Suns, yet this synergy fell short of enticing Phoenicians to hang out beyond game time.

A resurgence in recent years with the arrival of light rail, Arizona State University's expansion into downtown and a flood of entertainment and dining options has allowed the neighborhood to catch up. Today, Chase sits in the heart of an eclectic cornucopia of upscale hotels, sleek condos and independent bars and lounges that run the gamut from ultra-casual to gourmet hotspots, all surrounded by the business bustle you'd expect from the nation's sixth largest city.

The stadium itself was the site of several firsts. It was the first ballpark in the country with a retractable roof and the first with a swimming pool (in right field). It was also the spot where the Diamondbacks came from behind in fairytale fashion to beat the New York Yankees in the bottom of the ninth inning in game seven of the 2001 World Series, making the D-backs the fastest expansion team to win a championship.

The game-day vibe is either really mellow or supercharged, depending on whether the hated Dodgers or Giants are in town. Game traffic starts trickling in about 90 minutes before start time and hits its peak 20 minutes before the National Anthem.

This year, for the ninth consecutive season, the Diamondbacks have the lowest fan-cost index in the majors, according to Team Marketing Report. A value menu packed with $1.50 dishes, an anytime beer price that beats most nearby happy hours and all-you-can-eat seats that start at $34, are among the reasons. Fans can easily get their fill at the ballpark, although there are several great neighboring food and drink establishments to check out while you're here.

QUICK LINKS WHAT TO DO BEFORE A DIAMONDBACKS GAME
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Many regulars are happy to arrive minutes before the first pitch. Those who have time get here early and eat, drink and make merry with fellow fans. Get to downtown 90 minutes before gametime and you'll have plenty of time to do all three.

Be sure to get to the ballpark early enough to watch the roof open, about 10 minutes before game time. The 4½-minute process is accompanied by the original tune known simply as "Roof Open" by Frank Boxberger and George Chadwick. The roof opens only when conditions are tolerable, so check online or call the roof hotline (602-462-6262) before you plan your day around it.

WHERE TO GET A BEER
Alice Cooper's Town | The iconic rocker and huge baseball fan's restaurant sits less than half a mile away from Chase and has been a longtime staple for pregame libations. Beers from multiple local breweries flow from the taps, but true aficionados ask for nearby Four Peaks Brewing Company's Kilt Lifter. This malty sweet and smoky Scottish Ale is the brewery's flagship beer and packs a 6-percent alcohol content.

WHERE TO GO WITH A GROUP
Arrogant Butcher | You'll feel very big city and VIP-ish at this hotspot for the city's political movers and shakers. Large dining tables with comfortable seats and community tables in the bar make it group-friendly. Servers know how to get your drinks and food served quickly so you don't miss the first pitch, but stake out your space early—it tends to get packed as the business day draws to a close.

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD SPOT
Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlour | Imbibe and cool off in this stylish hideaway tucked inside the historic Luhrs Building, the site of the former prohibition headquarters of Arizona and a 5-minute walk from the ballpark. Dozens of cocktails crafted with in-house from-scratch mixers and spirits, wine and beer quench pre-game thirsts, while a succinct but satisfying menu packed with dishes like the loaded smashed chips, Seoul fried chicken and the must-order ramen burger.

WHERE TO GET ROWDY
Coach's Corner Grill | It's always 5 o'clock here—the drinks are flowing, and bold game-goers let loose. Loud, busy and full of energy, it's less than a block from the ballpark and right next to the light-rail stop. Although the bar and dining area are huge and the patio good-sized, it's typically standing-room-only plus a line for a table. Get here early.

WHERE TO HAVE A SIT-DOWN MEAL
La Piazza Locale | A wood-fired brick oven shipped from Italy is the centerpiece of this Verace Pizza Napoletana–certified pizza joint, making this the place to be when you have time to savor every bite. Starting out with the risotto balls and moving on to the veggie Quattro Stagioni or anchovy-laced Napoletana pies before surrendering with a cannoli is a good pregame itinerary. The wine list is nice, but the house white or red do the job just fine.

BEST ROOFTOP BAR
Lustre Rooftop Garden | Soak in the city from an elevated perspective at this sustainable rooftop bar at the Hotel Palomar. Sit poolside and keep an eye on the crowds flocking to Chase Field while sipping on a beer or craft cocktail and munching on locally sourced fare like salads and wraps.

CAN YOU TAILGATE AT CHASE FIELD?
No. Walking to the ballpark in a crowd of fans wearing D-backs gear talking baseball or enjoying a pregame event like a radio station promotion is as close as you'll get.

WHAT'S NEARBY
INSIDE CHASE FIELD
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If the epic roof opening production doesn't get you in the mood for baseball, the clear sight lines and local food and beer options inside Chase Field should. If not, there's always the swimming pool in right-center field to chill out in.

Also be sure to check out the heart-stopping D-bat Dog: an 18-inch corndog stuffed with jalapeno cheddar and bacon and accompanied by chipotle ketchup and spicy mustard. If the $25 price tag makes you pause, know that it also comes with kettle chips. For dessert, the new Churro Dog is a must: a warm cinnamon churro is served in a split open long john chocolate-glazed donut topped with local Zoyo Neighborhood Yogurt, whipped cream, caramel and chocolate sauce. Available for $8.50 at sections 114 and 123.

WHERE TO SIT
Thanks to original owner Jerry Colangelo, who made sure every seat was angled toward home plate, there isn't a bad seat in the house. If you can score a bullpen seat, you'll hear the pop of a pitch into the catcher's mitt and the ringing of the bullpen phone. On the days when the panels are open, third-concourse seats offer little vignettes of the Phoenix Skyline. Bleacher seats are less comfy but less pricey and as a bonus, the outfielders can hear you cheer — or heckle — them. For a ballpark experience unlike any other, reserve the pool suite in right-center field ($4,500-$7,000 for 35 people). Watch the game from the water (lifeguards included) and enjoy an assortment of snacks, hot dogs and sodas. For a truly unique view, the brand new Studio @ 122, located directly behind home plate, provides fans prime views in an urban loft setting. First of its kind in major league ballparks, the suite ($3,000-$8,000 for up to 20 people) includes two complimentary (and good) beers for each guest 21 and older.

Chase Field Seating Chart

BEST FOOD
The Draft Room | Its location on the exclusive second-floor Diamond Level and members-only ambiance makes this the best-kept secret at Chase. Overlooking right field, the menu features more sophisticated takes on burgers, salads and entrees, not to mention the chef's table. More than 20 draft selections and creative cocktails round out the experience. From the main concourse, take the elevator at section 105 to the Diamond Level, turn left and the restaurant doors are about 10 paces to your right.

BEST LOCAL VENDOR
America's Taco Shop | This homegrown favorite got its start using hand-written family recipes that founder America Corrales brought when she first came to the U.S. from her native Mexico. The dozen items on the menu include its famous carne asada in burrito ($9.75), quesadilla ($9.75) and taco (3 for $9.75) vehicles. Or, get it nachos-style ($10.75) with jack cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, crema, jalapenos and homemade no-lard Peruano beans. In sections 115 and 324.

BEST BEER
Phoenix Ale Brewery's Camelback IPA | Why pay ballpark prices for beer you can get at any convenience store? Bottled versions of this homegrown brew that comes from the masterminds behind Pyramid and Deschutes breweries are in chilled cases at most beer stands scattered throughout the concourses.

WHERE TO EAT HEALTHY
Bowls & Wraps and Gluten-Free | Fuel up without getting weighed down at Bowls & Wraps in section 129, with items like the tofu power bowl that mixes quinoa, kale, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds in a light chia basil dressing or the grilled buffalo chicken dish. At the Gluten-Free stand in section 106, those with wheat sensitivities can enjoy a hot dog wrapped in a gluten-free bun made from rice flour and dry-roasted edamame and wash it down with Redbridge gluten-free beer.

BEST STADIUM BAR
Audi Club | If you've got a 200-level ticket, you can bask in the loungy vibe of this party spot. A private bar, comfy seating and 60-inch flat-screens, not to mention the feeling of being part of the in-crowd, are among the perks. It's one of the few places in the ballpark where dress shirts and high heels are just as welcome as caps and jerseys.

OTHER THINGS TO SEE WHILE YOU'RE HERE
Images of current players are placed throughout the main concourse. Large murals pay homage to geographical landmarks and sports in Arizona in the rotunda on the west side of the stadium. The piece de resistance is the 2001 World Series trophy, displayed in a glass case near section 111 with a World Series ring. The D-backs Authentics program at section 141 lets fans purchase game-used equipment for a good cause. Net proceeds from the sale of lineup cards, broken bats, uniforms and other authenticated items from D-backs games throughout the current season benefit the charitable Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation.

Chase Field Tours

D-BACKS GAMES ON A BUDGET
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You can bring in sealed bottled water and snacks, so if you really want to make your dollar stretch, give it to one of the many vendors who set up outside the park. Get a bottle of water for $1 outside instead of $4 inside, and stock up on peanuts, popcorn and Cracker Jack for a fraction of the cost. Small, soft coolers and food brought in grocery-style plastic bags are OK too, making your homemade recipes stadium-friendly.

WHERE TO GET A CHEAP BEER BEFORE THE GAME
Having the lowest fan-cost index of all major-league ballparks gives D-backs fans an unheard-of opportunity to save money by drinking and eating at the game. Grab a 14-ounce domestic draft at any of the beer stands in the stadium for $4. Some stadiums end their beer deals at the first pitch—this one's available all game.

BEST CHEAP BITES AROUND CHASE FIELD
Phoenix Public Market Café | Capitalize on every home game with the $8 burger-and-beer special at this cozy hideaway known for its subtle gourmet twist on everyday favorites. Good for the entire season on home game days, this duo combines the cafe's AZ Burger, topped with green chile and cheddar, with your pick of any one of five frosty seasonal craft brews on tap.

BEST CHEAP DIAMONDBACKS TICKETS
Check out websites, like StubHub and TicketsNow, that allow season-ticket holders to sell their seats for great deals. If you prefer to buy straight from the source, seats in sections 328-332W, and 300W-304 go as low as $10 or $12 on select dates.

CHASE FIELD WITH KIDS
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From batting lessons to affordable kids' food, here are some ways to keep the little ones entertained at the ballpark.

WHAT TO DO BEFORE THE GAME WITH KIDS
Short Leash Sit... Stay | Hot dogs. Kids. Could there be a better match? The open space, relaxed atmosphere and fun puppy theme of the brick-and-mortar location of the beloved Short Leash gourmet hot dog food truck is welcoming for kids of all ages. Kiddie menu includes corn dogs, Frito pie and mac and cheese mixed with slices of beef hot dog.

BEST FOOD FOR KIDS
Value Menu Items | If you can't grab a bite before first pitch, this doesn't mean feeding the family will make your debit card cry for mercy. Get a hot dog, corn dog or popcorn for $1.50 each. The Value Menu is featured at the dozen Double Headers concession stands as well as a few other stands throughout the ballpark

WHERE TO GET AUTOGRAPHS
Getting there when the gates open (90 minutes before game time Monday through Thursday; 2 hours for weekend games) yields the best opportunity to get something signed and check out batting practice. Hang out on the outfield side of each dugout and you'll have until about 40 minutes prior to first pitch to approach your favorite players.

NEED A BREAK DURING THE GAME?
Sandlot | Give everyone a chance to stretch their legs at the Sandlot, on the northwest part of Chase, near section 332. Little ones can burn off some energy on playground equipment and in the batting cages. Let sluggers get a taste of the big leagues at Future's Field, a miniature version of Chase, with a scoreboard and door panels that resemble Chase's vertical panels over center field. Kids can take Wiffle Ball batting practice and run the bases. Members from the D-backs Training Centers are on hand to give batting lessons as well. D. Baxter visits frequently, but you're sure to see him hanging out in his den here in the 4th inning. Nearby, watch organist Bobby Freeman work his magic.

WHERE TO BUY GEAR FOR THE KIDS
Team Shop | Find just-their-size caps, jerseys, baby items and other attire in the Team Shops throughout the ballpark. But, the bulk candy section at the kids-only Team Shop near section 105 will make this a winner with your littlest fans.

WHAT TO DO AFTER THE GAME
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Downtown clears out for the most part, especially on weekdays. The light rail gets packed, and, if the game is a blowout, fans start exiting in the later innings to beat the rush. Some opt to hang out at a restaurant or bar until the masses dissolve or simply head home and tough it out; however, it's not due to a lack of options near Chase. If you choose to linger, you'll be rewarded.

WHERE TO KEEP THE PARTY GOING
Game Seven Grill | Just a few steps outside the gates, this BBQ-style restaurant/bar is an easy quick stop. Cool off inside or watch the ballpark exodus on the patio. Whether it's a win or loss, a Monday or a Saturday, it stays open 90 minutes after the last out.

WHERE TO GET A POST-GAME MEAL
Hanny's | This former department store was regularly set on fire by Phoenix Fire Department for training exercises before it became a chic spot for late-night eats and drinks. The kitchen cooks till 1 a.m., and the bar pours till 1:30 a.m. every day. Go for one of the thin-crust pizzas, slices of freshly shaved prosciutto di Parma or be decadent with the homemade donuts and chocolate sauce.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO NEARBY?
CityScape | Not sure what you want to do but know you're not ready to call it a night? You'll find something to quench that craving at this cluster of restaurants and bars within a three-block stroll of Chase. Take in a beer and live music at Copper Blues, challenge pals to a few frames at the sophisticated Lucky Strike bowling alley, sip a craft cocktail and nosh on comfort food at Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails or just wander around and people-watch.

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Former sports reporter Georgann Yara writes business, dining and drink features for a variety of local and national publications. Growing up, the Honolulu native fell in love with baseball listening to Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully on the radio, and as an adult cheered for the Diamondbacks from the Chase Field stands in the first game of the 2001 World Series.