Baseball fans are in for a few new treats when they return to Coors Field this weekend -- although if they're not careful, those treats will get the fans too drunk to remember what they were.
Team owner Dick Monfort led several dozen media members on a walking tour of the stadium on Wednesday and showed off the upgrades. The most noticeable is a change in the look and design of the food and beverage vendors. The facings have all been given a sleek, almost retro, feel that adds to the overall aesthetics of the ballpark.
On the second level, the stadium has added an outlet of the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, famous for its potent margaritas. And although beer is more often associated with baseball than tequila, this is going to be a very popular spot.
But the biggest change -- and the one that has been getting attention nationwide -- is the addition of a 38,000-square-foot, two-story party deck in right field called the Rooftop. To create it, the Rockies spent about $10 million and removed 3,500 seats, but they were seats that weren't always being used anyway, Monfort says.
"We had talked forever about what to do with this area. Some places tarp them," he explained. But the Rockies looked around LoDo and saw how many people were partying on rooftops nearby and decided that the concept might work at Coors Field, too.
"With the demographics of what we've got going on in Colorado and the number of people who love hanging out downtown, we thought we'd take a chance," Monfort said.
So now the Rockies will sell about 2,000 standing-room-only tickets for each game that will give fans access to the deck, which offers stunning, sweeping views of the city in a couple of directions, as well as the skyline, the mountains and, oh yeah, the game; other fans will have access to the deck as well, but only if there is space. Security will watch over the entrances and exits to make sure the Rooftop doesn't get too crowded.
The food and booze highlights of the party deck (in addition to some cabanas!) are outlets of a couple of well-known names.
The Tavern has lent its name to a bar that's 52 feet, 80 inches long (which means it's actually 58 feet, eight inches long), loaded with 52 beer taps. The swank-looking space doesn't have a ton of seating, but that won't matter to the people who will be fighting for a chance to belly up to this bar.
The taps include 32 different beers. Most are Coors products, ranging from Coors Light, Leinenkugel Shandy and Killian's to various Blue Moon offerings and selections from the Sandlot, which is the in-stadium brewery located on the first level. But there also about ten craft selections, including Great Divide, New Belgium, Boulder Beer, Avery, Odell and Oskar Blues.
And speaking of Oskar Blues, the Longmont brewery has opened a CHUburger on the Rooftop, serving hamburgers made from cattle that it raises on its Boulder County farm; the brewery also runs a CHUBurger in Longmont.
Although most of the employees at this CHUburger actually work for Aramark, which controls all of the vending in Coors Field, Oskar Blues will have one of its own chefs on hand at every game, says brewery spokesman Chad Melis, to make sure the CHUburger standards are met.
That may be difficult, however, on days when the popularity of the Rooftop taxes the ability of those employees to fry up burgers fast enough.
Oddly -- or maybe not so oddly, since this is Coors Field -- the CHUburger serves Coors and Coors Light in addition to one Oskar Blues beer, Dale's Pale Ale. A Scottish-style brew called Old Chub is not on tap, although it is the namesake of the restaurant.
Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan