Celtics vs. Charlotte Bobcats
Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte Bobcats Basketball Tickets?
Opened: October 2005
Capacity: 19,568 seats
Mascot: Rufus D. Lynx
Dance Team: Lady Cats
Team Chant: Let's Go Bob-Cats!
Draft Beer: $7.75
Hot Dog: $4.00
Time Warner Cable
333 East Trade Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Arena Parking: $10.00
NBA Basketball Arena Review - Time Warner Cable Arena
Itís no secret that the Carolinas are a hotspot for the sport of basketball, so when the NBAís Charlotte Hornets left town bound for New Orleans, it was inevitable that the NBA would bring a team back to the area. The Charlotte Bobcats arrived in 2004 and with an appearance in last seasonís playoffs and the additions of NBA superstar Michael Jordan at the helm, the team appears to be headed in the right direction. Their home arena, Time Warner Cable Arena, is an incredible facility with an array of fan amenities thatís second to none, so I was much looking forward to attending my first game there as part of my RoundBall RoadTrip.
My Charlotte Bobcats NBA experience started in uptown Charlotte at a small bar and restaurant called Ri Ra Irish Pub. Ri Ra is a national chain of Irish pubs located in ten major cities across the country including Atlanta, Georgia; Portland, Maine; and Louisville, Kentucky. Each pub features an antique bar, each one hundreds of years old, that was rescued by Ri Ra founder Ciaran Sheehan from one of many sites all over Ireland. Built in 1997, their location in uptown Charlotte is the chainís first and it features a Victorian bar at its center that was originally built in the early 1800ís for the officerís mess in the Phoenix Park Barracks in Dublin. Throughout the pub, visitors will find antiques dating back hundreds of years, including a restored Guiness bar mirror and set of Dublin Corporation Ledgers written from 1800-1840 that are located behind the bar. Interested patrons can actually peruse the ledgers while sippiní on a pint of Guinness. I met my brother Erik there for a couple of dark chocolate colored drafts and some bangers and mash. Taking a seat at the bar is like being transported back in time to the cozy confines of a cold evening in Leprechaun land. Ri Ra is a great pregame meeting place with an excellent menu and some fine draft brews. After adequately lubricating ourselves, we headed down Tyron Street for out next pregame stop the Epicentre.
Located at the intersection of Trade and College Streets, Epicentre is ideally situated to attend to any of your pregame needs. With some excellent dining options, dance clubs, and bars all located in an open air pavilion, itís a convenient and safe place either to begin your evening in Uptown Charlotte or cap off the post game victory celebration. In essence, Epicentre is a one stop shop for Uptown Charlotte nightlife. Thereís even a bowling alley and a movie theatre within the complex along with a multitude of dining options to suit anyoneís taste. Essentially, over the course of several days, patrons can try a variety of different cuisines, hit the sport bars and dance clubs, and have a multitude of options at their disposal all located in the same place. I like the Blackfinn American Saloon, Flemingsís Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Enso Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar.
For Bobcats pregame however, nothing beats a wood fired pizza over at Brixx located right across from Time Warner Arena. Hand tossed, thin crust pizza is served with a variety of draft brews on tap and because itís located right next to the arena, itís a popular gathering place for Bobcats fans before and after the game. Personally I was most impressed with their signature wood fired pizzas. With selections like Jerk Chicken, Pear and Gorgonzola, Artichoke, Chicken Florentine, or the Bronx Bomber thereís a pizza to suit all tastes, and what can I say, thereís definitely something to the brick oven baking process that really brings out the flavor in these pizzas.
After adequately stuffing myself on local delicacies and an ice cold beverage of choice or two, itís usually time to head over to the arena. I was most surprised by the tight security in place throughout the lower levels before gametime. Typically, NBA fans have little trouble getting down to the courtside area, as long as itís early, to watch the teams warm up or to snap a photo or two before the crowds file in. I got into the building an hour before gametime and headed right to the lower levels as usual, but had a very difficult time getting down there for photos. At Time Warner Cable Arena, staff is instructed to check every ticket as fans enter their section and only allow those fans holding lower bowl tickets to access these areas. In some cases they were downright rude, even as I asked to stand at the top of the section for a quick photo. I could understand if we were minutes away from gametime and certainly during the game, but overlooking an empty section well in advance of tipoff, Iím not quite sure why it was necessary in this particular arena to invoke Marshall Law.
The concessions at Time Warner Cable Arena are pretty good. Nothing exemplary, but itís a solid menu offering vegetarian options along with your standard fare such as hamburgers and hotdogs. Prices are fair when compared to the rest of the NBA and they have Budweiser products on tap. What sets Time Warner Cable Arena concessions apart from their contemporaries is the ďRock the RooftopĒ indoor tailgating area thatís located on the Uptown Concourse behind section 217. This fan friendly common area features a full sized bar with tabletop seating where adults can gather with their friends pre or post game while a live DJ keeps the party going until tipoff. An interactive kidzone is also located adjacent to the bar area so that while mom and dad are mingling, kids can play xBox games or sharpen their skills on the practice courts. Concession stands serve up tailgate themed foods and the area is open to the public with free admission. Itís a great way to spend the pregame or wait for the traffic to clear after the game has ended.
A playoff team last season, the Charlotte Bobcats has high hopes for the 2010-2011 NBA season. Tonight the Boston Celtics were in town, so it was an opportunity for the hometown Bobcats to compare themselves to one of the gameís elite. Unfortunately they apparently were not up to the task. Lackadaisical on offense and over matched on defense the Bobcats put in an embarrassing performance for the home crowd. They were dominated by the big three, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce with Rajon Rondo continuing to assert himself as one of leagueís best. Bobcats All-Star Gerald Wallace looked pedestrian shooting 2-for-15 on the night with a combination of bricked jumpers, missed layups and rejections in the lane on display for all to see. The charlotte Bobcats managed a total of 62 points on the night to post a 93 Ė 62 loss to the surging Boston Celtics. Hopefully my next visit to Time Warner Cable Arena wonít be such an embarrassment.
For More information on the city of Charlotte, NC check out my other reviews by clicking on the links below:
NBA: Charlotte Bobcats, Time Warner Cable Arena - General Information
NBA: Charlotte Bobcats, Time Warner Cable Arena - Stadium Tour
NFL: October 25, 2009 - Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers
NHL: Carolina Hurricanes, RBC Center - General Information