Tuesday, March 2, 2010
One of the very few things I will miss about attending Red Bulls games in Giants Stadium is tailgating. As long as the franchise has been in existence, tailgating has been an integral part of the matchday experience. At the Meadowlands, many (most?) fans would arrive hours in advance of kickoff and enjoy a beer or six and lunch in the parking lot before heading to their seats. Hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, sandwiches, chicken, barbeque, pasta - you name it. If you took a stroll around the Meadowlands parking lot on a game day you could see all of that and much much more.
Now, with the shift to Red Bull Arena, fans are going to have to re-think their relationship to food and drink. There will be options at the stadium concession stands, of course (not to mention the Corner Pub for those who are willing to lay down $100 a season), but I've always been one of those people who would prefer to focus on football and nothing else. Unless I was dying of thirst or my kids were demanding ice cream, food and drink was the furthest thing from my mind during the 90-plus minutes that mattered. Add to the mix a relative lack of parking in Harrison as compared East Rutherford, and it means that fans will have to adopt a more European-style gameday mentality, for better or worse.
Luckily, Red Bull Arena has been built in close proximity to some of the best eats in the greater New York area. Newark's vibrant Ironbound neighborhood (pictured above), just across the Jackson Street Bridge from the stadium, is home to an incredible array of Portuguese, Brazilian and Spanish restaurants, as well as numerous pubs and bars. More great dining and drinking spots can be found by heading in the opposite direction, up Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard through Harrison and into Kearny.
With that in mind, we have taken the liberty of creating a map of drinking and dining establishments around Red Bull Arena that may be of use for home and traveling supporters alike. Eventually we hope to add comments and links for each establishment, but for now it is what it is. If you know of any hidden gems that are missing, leave a comment below and we would be happy to include them. For now we have confined ourselves to the area immediately around the stadium, though other groups of supporters may choose to get a pre-game pint in places such as Hoboken or Lower Manhattan before hitting the PATH train.
The drinking and dining map will reside on the Viper's Nest homepage for now. Clicking on the map will bring up a larger version. Oh, and just so we don't get in trouble with lawyers again, please eat and drink responsibly!