San Francico's AT&T Park Bars
Where People Party Before And After Giants Games
The City by the Bay has a Ballpark by the Bay.
By The Bar Blogger, PubClub.com's Roving Party Reporter
One of America's most scenic baseball stadiums is in one of its most scenic cities.
AT&T Park in San Francisco – in the same mold as Camden Yards in Baltimore and Coors Field in Denver – is an old-style park in a modern setting with great sightlines from any seat. It sits on the edge of the bay and, unlike it's predecessor, Candlestick Park, does not have the famous winds that once blew a pitcher off the mound (in the 1961 All-Star game).
AT&T Park Facts & Fan Information
• 24 Willie Mays Plaza San Francisco, CA 94107 Telephone: 415-972-2000 Fax: 415-972-200o. Web Site.
• Coolers and bags larger than 16x16x8 are not allowed.
• Domestic beers ($8.75 for 20 ounces, the highest price in baseball) are sold at most concession stands; there's also specialty beer stands. Wine and mixed drinks are also sold.
• For food, the Gilroy garlic fries are the most popular item (nearby Gilroy, CA is the garlic capitol of the world). They are $5 and big enough for two. Chowder served in a Sourdough bread bowl is a San Francisco treat ($6.50). Crab cakes and Caribbean BBQ from former Giants first baseman Orlando Cepeda are other choices.
• Ticket prices range from $16 (centerfield bleachers teams) to $90 (premium field club) with weekend and "premium" games more expensive ($35-147).
It's famous among baseball fans around the country for McCovey Cove where fans on kayaks and surfboards wait for home runs to be launched over the rightfield wall. What they probably don't know is that the cove – named after big-swinging '70s first baseman Willie McCovey – is also as busy with boats as the concession stand at the seventh-inning stretch. Many of them are party cruises.
Locals love the fact they can walk up without a ticket and enjoy a few free innings from the outfield fence (courtesy protocol calls for standing back after a while to allow others to watch). It's modern baseball's version of peeping in through a corkhole in a wooden fence.
Abut an hour before games, McCovey Cove (also known as China Basin) buzzes with activity. People arrive by ferry, the party boats cruise the cove and kayakers and surfers start jockeying for position. Still more people arrive on bicycles; they "valet" them by the bay. Those arriving by the more conventional method (automobile) park at the end of the water. Hundreds of others just come by to check out things. It's an extremely inviting environment. Day games on sunny afternoons are especially active.
The stadium opened up a whole new area of San Francisco and paved the way for the development of SoMa, or South of Market, which really thrived during the DotCom boom. Today, restaurants, apartments and new, clean streets bring a bright look to the neighborhood.
Giants Games Pre-Game Bars
People gather for beers and burgers at Momo's across the street from the stadium.
There are two primary places go to pre-party for Giants games.
One is Momo's, a fairly upscale restaurant directly across the King Street (at 2nd). The patio is the centerpiece of activity; it's loaded with ballpark patrons getting loaded up on beers and grilled burgers. People play ball here about two hours before the first pitch and head to the stadium about 30 minutes before the game.
The crowd is predominately young (25-35), professional, single and local. Some singles come here to take their swings with no intention of going to the game and on Fridays, the gameday crowd converges with the after-workers who have stopped in to have their usual drinks. The non-gamers tend to hang at the inside bar rather than on the patio.
Another, around the corner (King and 3rd) is O'Neill's. Since it's newer than Momo's it's actually a bit more popular. An Irish-themed pub it's jammed packed. The more casually dressed crowd goes to O'Neill's. For slower times, it has free WiFi.
A couple of other places people gather before games are Palomino (345 Speer at the Embarcadero with its big patio and a good Happy Hour (for food, the super-thin crust pizza is the best choice) and Gordon Biersch (2 Harrison Street at the Embarcadero). They are a few blocks down the street; it takes a short streetcar ride or a long walk (about a half a mile) to get to the park.
Giants Games Pre-Game Bars
After games, if it's early it's back to Momo's and perhaps GB. A few more stops down the street car sits Pier 23. If it's late, then it's out on the town to the many bars of the city.