With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Coliseum Club

There is no place in Hartford that evokes as many memories for Sad City as the Hartford Civic XL Center. The long time home to the Hartford Whalers, Hartford Wolfpack, and now the CT Whale, there is no place in Hartford that we have visited as many times over as many years. For over a quarter century, just a few years before we started this blog, we have been enjoying ice hockey at the arena. Not a lot has changed inside the arena since Ron Francis, Mike Liut, and Kevin Dineen patrolled the ice for the Whalers. Sure patrons can't suck down cigarettes in the concourse between periods, but even the Whalers old banners and retired numbers still hang from the rafters.

One major change at the XL Center has been what is quite possible the best kept secret in Hartford: The Coliseum Club. The Coliseum Club is the XL Center's version of the upscale bar and dining areas now found in every major stadium in the country. These upscale lounges are really great ideas, it's awesome to have a place to grab a beer where you can stretch out and enjoy the game. At most stadiums access to these lounges is only permitted with purchase of a certain tier (i.e expensive) ticket. This can lead to some humorous and mind boggling sites. For instance when Sad City visited Citi Field last fall, we were able to score $90 face value tickets at a deeply discounted price (it's the Mets). While the lounge was very nice, it was a little bizarre seeing a family of four at a game with premium tickets, sitting down for a meal, and no one even facing the playing field. But then again like we said, it was a Mets game in September.

We aren't sure when the Coliseum Club opened. We were first clued into it by some friends early last season. The lounge is a great renovation to the building, open, clean, and elegant. While we haven't tried the food at the Coliseum Club, it has a full menu, and a great beer selection. The walls are decorated with action shots of events the venue has held over the years. There are great photos of not only ice hockey, but The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and others that have passed through our city. For those who just don't want to sit right at the bar or stand and watch the game, there is always ample seating for Coliseum Club patrons to enjoy. As we were told when we visited last Friday, "if it's open, feel free to grab a seat." Our group of five had no troubles finding five seats in a row. The best part? The Coliseum Club isn't a "premium tickets" only lounge. If you bought a ticket to the game, you can get into the lounge and stay there for as long or as little as you like.

The game we went to on a Friday night was one of those games that reminds you that ice hockey is by far the best sport to see live. For those who might wonder about watching the game from the rafters of the building here is another secret, there are no bad seats at a hockey game. The seats on top of the building give a whole different perspective and you can really see the plays developing. On this Friday, The Whale played a close game with the rival Bridgeport club and the match went into overtime tied. The game looked destined for a shootout until the Whale scored a scintillating goal on a break away to win with six seconds left in the overtime. Really a great night at the old XL Center. For those looking for a fun night on town we highly, highly recommend checking out the XL Center and The Coliseum Club lounge. If you've never seen live ice hockey, you won't regret it, it is the best live sport. While the Whale offer affordable prices and a great night out, who knows, maybe good attendance at the game could lead to the return of the NHL to Hartford.

The Whale host the rival Providence Bruins tonight. The next home game after that is the 29th against Hershey. Buy tickets at the box office or at 1-800-745-3000. It's a slam dunk value for a night out in town.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, I will be checking this out for sure!