Good morning. This is LEADOFF, an early look at Atlanta sports.
When architects unveiled early design ideas for the new Falcons stadium more than four years ago, one of the features that created a lot of buzz was a 100-yard-long bar.
The concept has been sobered up from what most fans probably envisioned at the time, but an evolution of it can be found on the upper deck when Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens Saturday night with a Falcons exhibition game.
Now it’s called the “100 Yard Club,” featuring a length-of-the-field array of concession stands with bars on both ends. The floor is painted green with yard markers on it, corresponding to the field below. Eleven-foot-tall posters of Falcons stars adorn the inviting space.
Bill Johnson, Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s lead architect, originally pitched the 100-yard bar idea.
“It was funny in a certain regard because everybody imagined this cocktail bar that was 100 yards long,” Johnson recalled. “Then I would say, ‘No, it’s a salad bar. Dessert bar.’ It was always meant to be diverse food offerings.
“The whole point was that we wanted something special for the people in the upper deck. My thing with the 100 yards was I wanted you to know where you were, relative to the football game, when you were out there getting a beer and a sandwich. … It took a lot of twists and turns, but ultimately I’m pleased with how it landed.”
The 100 Yard Club is among the stadium’s many responses to what fans have come to expect in sports venues: social spaces where they can gather to mingle, dine and drink, whether before games, during games or at halftime.
Click here for full story, including details about many of the stadium’s gathering spaces, on MyAJC.com.
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