Boozing at the Ballpark

Because being an A's fan is hard enough already.

The A’s won their last World Series the year after I was born, and their last league pennant the year after that. I wouldn’t call myself a hard-core baseball fan, but I have — truly, stupidly — loved the A’s for as long as I can remember. It should go without saying that I drink a lot whenever I go to games.

Beer at the Coliseum comes in pretty much two varieties: “specialty draft” — which basically means Fat Tire, Heineken(!?), or Sierra Nevada — and “Budweiser.” Both cost $8.75, though the latter comes with a souvenir mug; pick your poison. There’s a stand near section 119 that sells 24-ounce Coronas for $12, and another at 113 with non-souvenir Budweisers for $5, but by and large, all the beer here is $8.75 — which is basically highway robbery (also, potentially, price-fixing??!). Moving on: There’s wine for $7.50 at a few places, a little cocktail stand near section 106 proffering nine-ounce, bottled-mix-aided cocktails for $9, and then there’s The Field, the Coliseum’s very own on-site bar.

The Field is one of those luridly wonderful places that only exist in airports and amusement parks and sports arenas and other places that are removed from the outside world in some way, and thus deserves its own paragraph, or possibly, fan club. It looks sort of like a stage set for an Irish bar, all trompe l’oeil brickwork and faux-vintage Guinness posters and tables that look like they were made from barrels but were almost certainly not. On the walls, there’s a couple display cases with sepia-toned pictures of rugby players and artfully-arranged piles of hops; a mural of what I’m assuming is a bunch of old Irish dudes; and, in a wonderfully meta turn, “The Irish Pub Concept,” written out in faded type. If Disneyland allowed alcohol, it would surely have an outpost of The Field, and it would probably be wildly popular. There’s Trumer and Guinness on tap, plus a bunch of other beers ($8), as well as tiny Jamesons ($9) and various cocktails at weak concentrations and ridiculous prices. There’s surely a joke to be made here about the lowered expectations of A’s fans, but, anyway: Come for the atmosphere and get your drinks elsewhere. Specifically, The Cuervo Shaker stand, where, for $11, you get The Coliseum’s best bang for your buck: a blended margarita ostensibly filled with brand-name booze, and you get to take home the shitty plastic cup as some kind of souvenir. It tastes like Sprite, looks like lemonade, and is insidiously, wonderfully strong (especially if, hypothetically, you were to add a shot of Field-procured liquor.) I have no idea what they put in it, and don’t really care to know, either.

We got two, plus a beer and garlic fries. The A’s lost — to the Tigers, no less! — and I left the stadium imperceptibly buzzed and a truly embarrassing amount of dollars poorer. But I’ll be back.

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