Like I said, there are a plethora of choices for drinks and food an easy walk from the arena, ranging from Vancouver-snobby to loveable dives. But last game I pre-gamed at a friend's place in Yaletown rather than at a bar, mostly because the booze is free, and Flames vs. Canucks games tend to require a healthy dose of booze. But also because Yaletown condos have views like this:
|Sunset over False Creek.|
Rogers has, I guess, become my home arena over the past few years, even though I loathe the Canucks to an unhealthy degree. Vancouver has a great pre-game vibe, with lots of energy in the downtown core, even for an early start game on a Sunday night in December. The walk across town is filled with people in jerseys streaming to the arena and piling into bars for beer and nachos, and it's a pretty friendly crowd, even for those of us in red. The Flames fans — and Calgary is usually well-represented — are always ridiculous happy to see each other, ducking across the concourse to share high-fives with strangers and shouting "Go Flames!" from the other side of the street while the Canucks fans remind us that our team has missed the playoffs two years running, and we ask them if they've lit anything on fire lately ;) It's a great place to be an away fan, really. (Well, except that the Canucks own the Flames. But we can hardly control that.)
Rogers has a pretty generic arena feel, though recent tributes to things like the Olympics and the Canucks' 40 years have helped. The in-game entertainment is decent, and there isn't a bad seat in the house. Which is good when you're paying $60+ to sit in the top row.
|Iginla to Crosby and in plays on a loop on the concourse.|
I was at the game with two ticket holders, and we had a healthy debate as to what might constitute signature food at Rogers Arena. My votes were for either White Spot burgers — White Spot is a Vancouver institution, after all — or rice bowls, because I'm not sure those are available in a lot of NHL rinks. They thought beef dips, which seemed a bit generic to me. So we appealed to Guest Services, who promptly sent us to get "the best sandwiches in the building" at a concession stand on the exact opposite side of the concourse from us...which was closed. Very helpful. And by that time we had about reached the point where I had to either feed one of my friends or send him home to bed, so we scarfed down overpriced sausages and chased them with crappy — and even more overpriced — beer.
And that beer...yuck. Luckily, Wiser's Centre Ice Grill is a full bar, and one of my friends runs a tab. It's a great place to spend an intermission, and it's possible to get up there, have a couple of drinks, and get back to your seat before puck drop. To be honest, most of the third period is a blur. Too many mystery shots during second intermission? Wiser's is also a convenient post-game meeting location when you've got friends spread across the arena. The only downside? The bartender refused to pour me a glass of water and instead gave me this:
I'm not used to sitting up top in Rogers, but it does allow a great view of the fans streaming out of the game once the score gets lopsided, and there weren't many people in the stands by the time the game ended. Surprisingly it was the Canucks fans who were leaving, while most of the Flames faithful seemed to stick it out. Felt like the building was empty by the time the final buzzer sounded. In recent years it's become more common for Canucks fans to come late and leave early, unfortunately.
Post-game, we headed back to Yaletown, and ended up in...a couple of bars. And, in true Vancouver fashion, we ended the night at a raw bar. Because, well, why not?
|FYI, raw oysters to end a night of heavy drinking? Actually pretty great.|