Address: 1501 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45214, United States
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: The Orange & Blue
Year Ground Opened: Due 2021
Shirt Sponsors: Mercy Health
Home Kit: Blue and Orange
Away Kit: White and Blue
Populous don’t tend to disappoint with their sports arena designs and West End Stadium, which is due to open later this year, looks set to be another roaring success. The 26,000 capacity stadium is an absolute beauty from the outside with hundreds upon hundreds of metal ‘runners’ forming a grill style facade; these give the stadium a really unique appearance and, in the dark of night, each one is dressed with LED lights to really add some extra eleganceto the entire area. It’s not the only noteworthy feature though with thesubstantially sized roof running all the way round to ensure not a single seat suffers from the elements.
In regards to the seating and spectator experience fans won’t be disappointed. The main attraction for home fans will be ‘The Bailey’; this is a zone of safe standing located behind the south goal. There is a substantial flat screen suspended over head for the other fans whilst another screen is located opposite for the ‘vocal support’ to check out everything from ads and action replays. Each position in the Bailey comes with a dedicated cup holder and the stand is on a fairly dramatic incline, which improves crowd intimacy and almost encourages the atmosphere to spill onto the field of play.
To the east you’ve got a two-tier side stand. A lot of effort has been made to generate the feeling of fans being close to the pitch; this is achieved through the way in which seats are on a sharp gradient. You also have the ‘First Financial Club’ in this stand, which is the culmination of two food stands, three bars and loads of seating with over 2,000 spots up for grabs.
The north stand, behind the goal opposite the standing section, follows a similar pattern minus the lounge. That leaves just the west stand; here, things are slightly different. There is a small amount of ‘standard’ seating but the majority of the stand is dominated by different lounges and ‘exclusive’ clubs. These range from pitch view bars all the way through to a full blown VIP service in the Tunnel Club; this offer includes bigger and more comfy match seats, top drawer food and even access to Jaap Stam’s post-match press conference. You’ll need to move fast to catch these though because there are less than 400 seats available; although the overall percentage of ‘premium’ seats sits at around 1/5 of the overall capacity.
The buzz word for Cincinnati when it comes to dining in West End Stadium is ‘trendsetting’. That’s a bold claim to make for a football stadium but with several eateries being built on site along with the club targeting chefs from very close to the top level, it could well come to fruition. Then you have bars. The prospect of craft beers and mixologists on site for more photo worthy drinks is certainly going to endear the West End Stadium to those who enjoy a good beverage before, during or even after the match.
It’s not like you’re short of options away from the stadium though. You can get the other side of Washington Park within just 10 minutes on foot. Once there you’ve gotendless opportunities to explore. Quan Hapa is a very highly regarded Asian restaurant located on 14th Street. Losanti, a steak house on the same road. Pepp & Dolores is the next street over and are experts in Italian cuisine and just wandering in the general vicinity of those eateries mentioned will take you past plenty of others with Mexican and American food just a flavour of what is available.
You have plenty of bars to choose from for a pre-game tipple too. Again, they’re in the same area. A lot depends on your style but you’ve got something for everyone; The Lackman Lounge offers a great atmosphere whilst 16-bit Bar and Arcade on Mercer Street is popular with old school gamers and those with older children. The final place we’ll talk about is Taft’s Ale House; this is a microbrewery offeringbeers and food situated on Race Street – just 0.3 miles from West End Stadium.
With West End Stadium situated just off Central Avenue – one of the major roads in Cincinnati – access is relatively straight forward. From a public transport perspective, the ground will form a major part of the bus route. Additionally, the streetcar stop Liberty and Elm is just a seven minute walk away and, if following the shortest walking route, you’ll be literal steps away from Taft’s Ale House too.
Of course, you’ll also have the ability to drive to West End Stadium. There is going to be a 1,000 space car park built purely for the benefit of FC Cincinnati. That’s unlikely to meet the full demand of spectators but do not fear; there are five plus car parks in the downtown area of the city too with Washington Park and Mercer Garage two options. The furthest away of the five we refer to is Vine Street Lot, which is just over half a mile from the stadium.
Fighting through traffic isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you fall into that crowd then you do have a few options to get your head down overnight in the vicinity of West End Stadium. Your closest option is the four-star Symphony Hotel and Restaurant, which is located half way between the stadium and the abundance of eateries we touched on earlier. It’s less than a five minute walk to both destinations. Expect to pay $180 a night.
If you’re looking for something with a bit more character and charm then another option is 21c Museum Hotel; this is located circa 1 mile away near Fountain Park. At $310 it’s not the cheapest but it’s a decent hotel and still only takes 20 minutes to reach the stadium on foot with most the walk just a case of following Central Avenue.
Schedule | FC Cincinnati
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