Basketball season is just around the corner, tipping off on October 28. With former league MVPs Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose returning from injury, there should be plenty of action this year. Many NBA arenas are making things exciting this season by offering more than just light domestic beers. These seven arenas are the best places to have a cocktail while you watch the game.
Though the state of Colorado is known for its beer, the Club Level at the Pepsi Center has some interesting, boozy alternatives. The Nugget Blue Lemonade is spiked with Finlandia vodka and gets its color from Blue Pucker schnapps, while the Mammoth Natural Margarita features Herradura Blanco, lime juice and agave nectar topped with Cointreau. Denver has never won a championship, but at least they know how to drink.
(Photo courtesy lovelivingincolorado)
Miami may have lost LeBron James to Cleveland in free agency, but it still has superstars in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They also have Hyde, a chic lounge within the arena, that offers several top shelf cocktails including classics like Old Fashioneds, Moscow Mules, Mojitos and Sidecars. One specialty drink to look out for is the Air Mail, made with Bacardi Superior Rum, fresh lime juice, house-made clover honey syrup and Lanson “Black Label” Champagne, shaken and served up.
(Photo courtesy AA Arena)
The Pistons haven't won a playoff game since 2009, but new head coach Stan Van Gundy will try to turn things around this year. While Detroit hasn't been winning much recently, The Palace Grill within the venue has stepped up its game with a large selection of Michigan brews and craft cocktails. It’s mixing ginger beer classics like the Dark & Stormy and the Moscow Mule, as well as originals like the Angry Captain's Cider, which combines Angry Orchard Hard Cider with Captain Morgan rum.
(Photo courtesy Palace Net)
Head up to Canada to sample some very originally named drinks at the Air Canada Club's 75 foot Onyx backlit bar. In addition to the Slamdunk (Smirnoff Vodka, fresh orange juice, cranberry juice, topped with Sprite) and Raptortini (Raspberry Smirnoff Vodka, Grand Marnier, white cranberry juice), the Air Canada Centre also has a 1,200-bottle wine cellar.
(Photo courtesy Panoramio)
Billionaire owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban is known for being a partier, so it’s no surprise that Dallas' arena has several bars. The El Jimador Tequila Bar offers an authentic Paloma (tequila and grapefruit soda) and the Remy Martin V Bar serves up the clear spirit in a Lemon Drop or mixed with tonic and lime. The bar also has frozen Cointreau Margaritas for those hot Texas nights.
(Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
Graham Case, owner and mixologist at Case Cocktail Consulting, LLC, is the man behind the craft cocktails for the suites at the Smoothie King Center. Prepared in large batches to serve multiple guests—how very Big Easy—drinks include A Perfect Stormy (Captain Morgan Black Rum, orange and lime juices, simple syrup, ginger beer), the Arnie & Rita (Don Julio Blanco Tequila, sweet tea, thyme-infused simple syrup) and the Mojo (Crown Royal Canadian Whisky, fresh mint and mint-infused simple syrup).
(Photo courtesy Smoothie King Center)
The 76ers have a promising young roster with a lot of potential: big men Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid aren't even old enough to legally drink. While you wait for them to develop, have a drink at The Cadillac Grille, which has cocktails named for local landmarks, such as the Rittenhouse (Segura Viudas Cava, cranberry syrup, sugar rim) or the 30th Street Station (Tanqueray Gin, lavender, soda). The bar also offers red and white Sangria.
(Photo courtesy Interstate 76ers)
Mixing your cocktail