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Hoge: A Fans' Guide To U.S. Cellular Field Improvements

By Adam Hoge --

If you're like me, you've been wondering why there's been a giant empty space at the bottom of Gate 5 at U.S. Cellular Field for the last two years.

Remember all that concrete and wasted space? Well, replace that image in your mind with a White Sox themed bar and grill filled with 67 flat screens and a state-of-the-art sound system. And the best part is, you don't need a game ticket to get in.

That's the new Bacardi at the Park, which is run by Gibson's Restaurant Group and located at the base of Gate 5.

"The genesis of this is really listening to our fans," White Sox Vice President of Marketing Brooks Boyer said Tuesday. "When we put these different (renovations) in, those were all in response to what our fans wanted. This is the next step in that and for us to be able to have a location like Bacardi at the Park with a partner like Gibson's is only going to add to what we try to do to make this an entertainment destination."

Bacardi at the Park will open on game days at 11 a.m., with the exception of Thursday, when it will open at 5 a.m. with 670 The Score broadcasting from the bar all morning long. Boyer said Bacardi at the Park will be closed on non-game days, but if demand dictates it, they might reconsider that decision. He hopes it will be a popular destination during the Bulls and Blackhawks anticipated playoff runs.

Beer prices at Bacardi at the Park are cheaper than inside the ballpark, but they are still higher than at most establishments in the Bridgeport area. The cheapest 14 oz. beer is $6 or you can upgrade to 20 oz. for an extra $1.25. Food prices are reasonable -- a burger and fries is $9.75 -- and the portions do the price justice.

As for when it will close: 'We'll close when demand dictates it," Boyer said.

Fair enough, I'm sure White Sox fans won't be upset with that.

And yes, families are welcome. You don't need to be 21 years old to enter. In addition, the outdoor beer garden at Gate 5 is still there and has a number of flat screens as well. Boyer said they will have to come up with a new name for the garden, however, since Bacardi is the sponsor.

Food and Beer Upgrades

How does Cheetos encrusted mac & cheese sound? How about buffalo chicken mac & cheese?

These are two of the new dishes created by Chef Olegario Soto of Levy Restaurants and available now in the Stadium Club and later this season on the LG Skyline Club Level.

I was able to try the Cheetos Mac & Cheese and trust me, it was spectacular. Also new in the Stadium Club is a new Artisan Bar, featuring a number of craft beers. In addition, the Beers of the World stands on the main concourse have been replaced with microbrews from across the midwest.

The White Sox have also added a number of healthier foods at Southside Grill in both left and right field. There is a gluten-free menu available at U.S. Cellular Field this season too.

New Advertiser

The old Jim Beam Club is now the Gold Coast Tickets Club as the White Sox reached a multi-year agreement with the ticket agency last week. Unfortunately, the deal included a large, tacky sign that was in the process of being placed on the inside facade of the ballpark right behind home plate Tuesday.

The sign is located underneath the broadcast booths and covers up some of the pinwheels that were painted on the structure as part of a previous renovation to U.S. Cellular Field.

New Metra Station

Fans on the southside and far southwest suburbs can now take the Rock Island Metra line straight to the ballpark. A new Metra station is now open at 35th street, just east of the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Service on the Rock Island line will increase on game days to accommodate White Sox fans.

For more White Sox coverage from Adam Hoge throughout the season, click here. You can also follow him on Twitter @AdamHoge670.

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