Great American Ball Park may be a little underrated, but that perception could change after the Cincinnati Reds unveil ballpark improvements for 2015, to be showcased at the MLB All-Star Game.
About $4.5 million is being spent by the Reds on ballpark improvements, not including the installation of new seats in the offseason. The concessions are being remodeled to give the appearance of being separate storefronts, and the former Riverfront Club (a white-napkin, sit-down restaurant) is being converted to a new casual group space: The Handlebar (with a more inviting exterior space, as shown below). In addition, more storefronts are being added to the Great American Ball Park exterior.
Perhaps the biggest change: the installation of a new bar, The Bootlegger, on the first-base side of the main concourse (shown at top and bottom of this article). From Cincinnati Business Courier:
The Reds are building a bar to be called The Bootlegger on the first-base side of the lower-level concourse. They’re carving out one side of the enormous, four-sided concession stand that houses local favorites like Skyline and LaRosa’s….
The Bootlegger will give fans the feel of walking into an old-time bar while also moving some of the concession lines out of the concourse walkway. Castellini got the inspiration for it from the old bar behind the lower-level blue seats at the Reds’ former home, Riverfront Stadium. That bar was a gathering place, particularly during very cold or hot weather. The Reds designed it based on a beer garden that Boss Cox, a powerful Cincinnati political figure in the late 1800s and early 1900s, ran in Over-the-Rhine.
“It feels like a speakeasy,” said [Reds COO Phil] Castellini. “It will have a really cool vibe. I think it’ll be a nice addition. It’ll be a pretty cool place to wait out a rain delay.”
As noted, the Reds are hosting the 2015 All-Star Game. These changes should be ready by Opening Day.
Images courtesy Cincinnati Reds.