The entrance, at 99 West Georgia, is attractive enough—but on busy nights, when it is open, the buzz seeps out and draws you in. The Sportsbar Live! At Rogers Arena is a restaurant within the footprint of the stadium, and game or concert ticket holders can indeed wander to their seats after enjoying its offerings. Guests of the restaurant, even if they do not have a ticket into the arena itself, can still soak up the atmosphere, the palpable energy of the venue, all while enjoying first-rate bar foods and beverages. In addition to pre-game, during game, and post-game seatings, there are 104 in-arena seats in a special section of the restaurant, also with full dining service. So pretty much any desire you have can be satisfied here.
There are 45-inch televisions, plenty of them—over 100, in fact. There is a giant, 16-foot-wide screen as well, plus individual leather-clad dining booths, each of which features its own private TV. Everything is 4K-HD. So even if you are not attending the game, or the show, you are still essentially rubbing elbows with it all.
The Aquilini Group signalled that it was serious indeed about food and beverage when it purchased the famed Top Table Group (CinCin, Araxi). All that culinary talent is now part of an ever-expanding empire, and the food programs at Rogers Arena have seen a significant bump upwards in terms of quality.
It goes to enhance the idea that The Sportsbar executive chef Robert Bartley has all the resources and support he needs to make this a perfect dining experience for any sports fan. Even those who get reluctantly dragged along to the game will find great solace in the Guinness, Steam Whistle, or 33 Acres on tap, or amongst the specialized cocktail and wine lists. And the food, while it is reminiscent, on paper, of classic bar staples, is taken to a whole new level. The sweet potato fries, for example, are served with a sriracha maple mayo, while sheep’s ricotta is served alongside grilled sourdough bread. Salads, wings, burgers, and dogs, absolutely; but there is also prime rib (if the carved prime rib sandwich isn’t quite sufficient); porchetta; Thai coconut chicken curry; even a rigatoni Bolognese. Desserts aplenty, and then, who knows, another cocktail or an exotic dram of whiskey. Two, perhaps, depending on how the game went.
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