Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Ballpark Basics: A classic ballpark that lives up to its status.
First things first: The traffic getting in and out of the ballpark is as bad as you’ve heard. We gave ourselves two hours to get to the stadium for a 40 mile drive. The first 35 miles went smoothly and we thought that we would be there in plenty of time for first pitch. However the last 5 miles took almost twice as long as the first 35 and we ended up having to rush to our seats.
The parking lots surround the outfield behind Dodger Stadium and we walked up to the first entrance we could find thinking we would watch the first pitch and then make our way to our seats up in the Top Deck. However, you must enter on the level where your seats are located and you cannot move between levels. It was a comedy of errors as we went from level to level only to be turned away and told to keep climbing the steps up to the Top Deck.
When we finally made it to the top of the stadium and made our way in it was well worth the wait (and the burn in the quads). The classic Dodger Stadium opens up in front of you and you know why this place is considered a classic. Beyond the parking lots the San Gabriel Mountains stand in the distance. FYI: There is a great view of downtown LA from the outside of the top deck.
Now the third oldest MLB ballpark in use, Dodger Stadium has gone through numerous renovations to keep itself current. They have added exhibits throughout the ballpark with memorabilia highlighting the rich history of Dodger baseball. The classic hexagon scoreboards now have large HD displays that can still appear to be old-school dot matrix scoreboard when needed. There are also small LCD boards on each outfield wall that constantly changed (making it hard to score-check).
The beer selections have significantly improved over the past few seasons as well. Now you can you can find multiple options from local breweries including Golden Road, Angel City, El Segundo, Eagle Rock, and The Dudes’ Brewing Co as well as other craft options.
The crowd appears to be your typical southern California baseball crowd where the fans do not seem that into the game. There were beach balls floating in the stands and numerous attempts at the wave. It was beach chair give-away night so half the crowd was gone by the 7th inning in a tight game.
While Dodger Stadium does not have the lore that the two other historic ballparks it tends to get lumped in with it is still a classic. With the upgrades in the facility and the beverage choices Dodger Stadium is a classic ballpark in every sense of the word.
Golden Road Brewing
Brew Basics: A really great place that makes you want to stay a while, while wishing they had a better beer delivery system.
Golden Coast is open regularly, and of course the hours are posted on their website. But we live in an instant info kind of world. who wants to go searching to figure out if they can grab a drink? Golden Road has this base covered as well with a real time hours update (as in, “it’s 9:45am. No, the bar is not open”). Once you establish a legitimate time to drink, drive on over – it’s not really accessible by anything other than wheels, but unlike most of California, they seem to have plenty of parking. To get there, cross over some railroad tracks and enter a warehousey part of Los Angeles and notice that a large metal shed that is painted bright blue. Quickly beyond that you will see an equally large, equally bright red warehouse and finally in the interest of all things primary colored, a yellow one. All three are part of the Golden Coast brewing, and all three serve their own specific purpose.
Blue is the brew works itself, Red, the housing area with potential for growth (we saw two large mash tuns waiting to be installed) and yellow the pub itself. Surrounded by parking, this is the area that most visitors aim for. Here they have thought of almost everything. There are picnic tables with umbrellas down on parking lot level for imbibers with dogs (complete with dog bowls, water and even dog beds to keep those furry bellies from having to lay on hot asphalt).
Up the former delivery ramp – which has ample bike parking as well – are a series of large picnic style tables, most in the European “family style” seating (meaning several different parties sit together at one long bench) and with a smattering of smaller 4-tops thrown in as well. This was a perfect place to sit on the beautiful day we visited, a metal roof provides protection from the sun, and the open bays and ceiling fans keep a slight breeze going.
The delivery bays into the warehouse are wide open and the tables from the outer porch can be found just as numerously inside. The walls are decorated with antique beer neons, and the large merchandise section had a wide variety of things for sale.
Past all of this, the building culminates in a large counter/ordering area, with taps, beer and soda (all canned) chilled and ready to go, and even a fairly comprehensive (and pricey) food menu fit for a gastropub. And it is this that is the only thing keeping Golden Coast from being a grand slam. To get anything at Golden Coast, you go up to the counter and order. Beer they will give you right away, and if you prefer cans to things on tap, keep in mind that 6 packs are to take home, individuals must be drunk there. For food orders, you are given a number an someone will deliver it to your table when it is ready. Overall not a problem until you want another beer and have to go back, and stand in line to order. Or when you’re ready to pay and – no joke – you have to contend with the tour bus full of people who have also recently arrived and are still waiting in line. So basically, our problem with this place is its popularity. On paper it may sound petty, and yes, maybe even a bit selfish to complain about this. How is it different than a crowded bar when you’re fighting for the attention of the bartenders just like everyone else? Maybe it’s because you expect this on a Saturday night at a crowded bar, or maybe it’s more because these time sucks and inconveniences are unnecessary. There were at least 6 employees on hand to man the pub the whole time we were there, and the space isn’t really that big. They’re already serving food and cleaning up after us, why not just let them take orders too?
5410 W San Fernando Road
Los Angeles, CA 90039