World Series fans looking for a taste of their sports bar find fertile ground in Atlanta

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ATLANTA – Chris Brown took his place in the Coca-Cola Corner shortly after 5 p.m., about three hours before the start of Game 5 of the World Series. At least for him, it’s always better to be seated than standing.

“I’d rather be here, you can see it, but go to the bathroom and have a beer,” said Brown, 32. “And the beer bats,” he added as his friend Thorsten Hanssmann handed him a baseball bat-shaped plastic cup, overflowing with foam.

At Truist Park, the best seats for the Astros-Braves series are reserved for big-budget spectators in the suites and behind the plate, but the most desirable vantage points could be the observation areas reserved for standing. There, the atmosphere is more sports bar than sports park. No more rows of plastic seats. In their place are places like the Coca-Cola Corner and the Coors Light Chop House filled with TVs and filled with beer – and of course, in Atlanta, Coke.

“It’s a great place to watch a game,” Astros fan Noel Baker said as he strolled outside Chop House. “I just hope I can see an Astros win.”

Truist, opened in 2017, is much newer than Minute Maid Park, which debuted in downtown Houston in 2000. Based on that and a more suburban location, in Cobb County, in Georgia, it is surrounded by hotels and restaurants that create complete entertainment. complex around the park.

Houston, however, is getting there. New hotels and restaurants are being set up around Minute Maid. Texas Avenue leading west to the baseball stadium, in particular, has seen new restaurants open and stay despite the COVID pandemic.

Baker, who worked downtown before the COVID pandemic and is expected to return to the office this month, said he would likely attend games at a downtown bar in the future.

“We need more energy around the stadium,” he said. “We have the fans, but Houston is so scattered.”

This fall’s Astros playoffs certainly gave downtown Houston hotels and restaurants a boost.

However, part of the appeal of having a place to watch the game is feeling like a comfortable place. As long as you don’t mind standing the entire game, Hanssmann, 44, said the food court behind Truist’s outfield is a better place to get it all. In his native Germany, he said football matches were mostly watched standing up.

“It’s just better for that,” he said, patting the high table in front of him with a decent view of the pitch.

(A recent Minute Maid renovation behind Right Field included a full-service 360-degree bar with views of the grounds and downtown that quickly proved popular with fans, albeit in a smaller space.)

Design at Truist is also big business. The vendors spent hours Sunday preparing Truist for a third straight day of baseball.

“I cooked and packed over 500 hot dogs,” said salesperson Greta Lewis, noting that she arrived 10 hours before the game.

Hot dogs close at hand made for a much more intimate experience than the bleacher seats for many of the 41,000+ fans ready to show up.

“It’s more like backyard baseball,” Brown said.

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