Baseball Season has Arrived!

By Kearsten Shepherd & Chelsea Irvine

Kearsten ShepherdChelsea Irvine

While March 31st may have brought cold, blustering rain to Sacramento, it also brought one glorious, amazing thing …. Opening Day of baseball! If you’re like us, you’ve been counting down the days since pitchers and catchers reported for duty. Over the next six months 30 MLB teams will play hundreds of games – where will you be watching? If you’re looking for a new game-watching watering hole, here are a few of our favorite places both in Sacramento as well as in the Bay that we like to watch our  “home” teams play.

KEARSTEN-

In Sacramento:

  • Clark’s Corner – Truth be told, I mostly like it because I can walk there, but there are a number of TVs in the bar area and a good amount of seating, so on any given day you can watch just about any game that’s on. The food is average, but the drinks are delicious and they have a good beer selection.
  • Clubhouse 56 – A great sports bar in East Sacramento that often has the Giants games on and corresponding food/drink specials. It’s not fancy, but has plenty of room to host you and all of your friends for the entirety of the game.
  • Firestone Public House – One of the best sports watching venues in Sacramento with tons of large screen TVs, enough to play just about any and every game you could ever want to see simultaneously. They have decent food and a variety of beers on tap to keep you going throughout the game.
  • R15 – A great all around sports bar with numerous TVs to watch your favorite team play and a variety of sports fans to help you cheer them on. The food and drinks here are decent, not spectacular, but enough to get you through nine innings. An additional plus here is the availability of pool tables to use in the event that your team is losing and you need a distraction.

In San Francisco:

If you’re in San Francisco, but don’t have tickets – or you want to grab a few pops before the game, I love the following:

  • 21st Amendment – This joint is only a few blocks away from AT&T Park. 21st Amendment is always full of Giants fans and has an amazing beer selection! How can you go wrong?
  • The Paragon –This place is a bit on the fancier side, but offers great outdoor seating and food and drink specials on game days. Be aware that they don’t open until 11 am on Saturdays, even on game days, so if you like to get to town and start your party early, you choose another place.
  • MoMo’s – Always a classic, but somewhat oversold in my opinion. The outdoor seating is great, but because it’s so close to the park, it’s always insanely busy and usually not worth the long wait  for food and drinks. On the plus side, they do have brunch and open early, so if you need a place to grab a bite and start early, MoMo’s is a good option.

Alternate transportation to AT&T Park:

  • By Bus/Public Transportation  – If you don’t want to drive all the way to San Francisco you can drive to one of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Stations and ride the rest of the way in via BART/MUNI.
  • By Bike – AT&T Park also offers free bike valet! If you happen to be visiting friends, or know of a great free parking spot, you can bring your bike and bike to the park!
  • By Boat – The Alameda/Oakland Ferry provides direct service to AT&T Park for most games and the Golden Gate Transit’s Larkspur Ferry provides direct service for all games.

CHELSEA-

A’s Fan’s Your Up to the Plate!

I realize it’s hard to imagine why, but even after winning two Western Division titles in the last two years, the Oakland A’s are still having a tough time finding respect in the baseball world, especially here in Northern California.  Yes, we are still working on winning the big show for the first time since 1989, but considering the A’s are one of the lowest salaried baseball teams in the league (25th out of 30 teams), you’d think the last two epic seasons would earn them some street cred.  But I digress.

The tricky part of finding a great place to watch an A’s game is that when there are competing A’s and Giants games, the Giants usually win out.  Therefore, if both our boys are playing at the same time, you’re going to have to find a place with multiple TV’s that are not stuck on the same channel.

In Sacramento:

**Let me preface this section by saying that as a vegetarian who’s go to meal is quinoa with a side of tofu or some other boring whathaveyou, I mostly judge my hangout spots on how fun the bartenders are, the duration of endless bubbles and the quality of the happy hour specials.  Don’t judge.**

  • Cornerstone – This is a wildcard spot that we only recently found.  Yes, the location seems a bit unlucky, as it has had multiple iterations in the last few years, but the current version is big, roomy, has a lot of TV’s and (ahem) endless mimosas starting at 1:00pm on the weekends.  You saw that right, my friends: your endless bubbles habit can carry on far beyond the usual 2:00pm cutoff.  The food is decent (I hear the breakfasts are great, though I haven’t tried it myself) and the mimosas definitely flow with abandon.  Sit at the bar and you get the bonus of hanging with Nina, as we did on the first weekend of real season ball.
  • Clark’s Corner – I have to agree on this one.  Clark’s is a fun environment, has good enough food and lots of TV’s.  I also have a special place in my heart for their sweetheart bartender who is always attentive with the mimosas (or tequila shots) and has made each of my visits a blast.  Try the Corner Bread, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Beach Hut Deli – Now, I realize this place can be tricky since it’s the size of a cracker jack box, but if you sweet talk the manager (she’s awesome!) or the other staff, you likely can get them to swap out the X Games or whatever is on when you walk in and you’re golden.  Bonus?  Saturday afternoon happy hour that coincides with all those 1:00pm games.  Let’s just say a few pints of C-Minus and a Shock Top as big as my head set me back $13 last weekend.  #winning!
  • Easy on I: Another new spot for my crew, we stumbled on this place recently and loved the vibe.  Totally friendly staff and owners, low key atmosphere and great prices on food and drinks.  Your usual bar grub (what goes with baseball like grilled cheese and a nice cab?), with a second late night happy hour from 9:00pm-midnight where you can score deals on food while you watch the last couple innings.  Best part? There was no judgment at the fact that I was still in my gym clothes when we caught the A’s/Angels game this week.
  • Monkey Bar: This is our trusty old spot, as it is close to home, always has space at the bar and can be counted on for fun drink specials (i.e. $7 for a Crispin/Fireball combo).  Paul has always been great as our daytime bartender on the weekends and is nice about putting the A’s on one TV even when the Giants are on.  Playoffs baseball and football last year were totally fun here as well.

Getting to O.co Coliseum:

  • By Public Transportation: I kind of hate to let the cat out of the bag, but this gem is just too good to keep to myself…  For $58 you can hop on the Amtrak Capitol Corridor line at 5th and I Streets, and two short hours later you’re dropped off at the Coliseum!  Literally, you cross a skywalk and you’re at the gate.  Now, they say you’re not allowed to bring any food or drink on the train, but I’ll let you do with that what you will.  (I may or may not have smuggled a 12 pack of Blue Moon on my last O.co adventure.  Just be stealth.  And for pete’s sake, be nice to the people working on the train!  I recently was on a train across from a “gentleman” who wouldn’t take his feet off the seat across from him, even after being asked nicely.  My friend and I noticed that after “gentleman” exited the train, there on his seat were the keys that had fallen out of his pocket while he was lounging with his feet up.  KARMA! )

Getting suited up:

Target: Last year we had to travel to the ‘burbs to find a Target that sold A’s gear, but I guess that second division title caused the chain to rethink their shelf-stocking tactics and now you can buy yourself an A’s tee at the Target on 65th Street.  YAY!  Of course, most of the goods are still for Giants fans, but at least we have a couple of options to grab on your way to the game.  (And you can make it a one stop shop if you grab your snacks and brewskies while you’re there.)

Game time!

Where do you like to go to watch your favorite teams?  We’d love to find some new spots to check out.  Unless you’re a Tigers fan, in which case we’d love to know where to avoid.  HAHA, just kidding!  Share your thoughts and maybe we’ll see you this summer for a couple pints and a little bit of America’s favorite pastime.   Play ball!

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