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Official Review by Geoff Crawley, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA, is home to the George Mason University Men’s Basketball team. This mid-major arena for this mid-major team in a mid-major city delivers a mid-major experience.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
They have Gyros and average BBQ, but outside of that, nothing at all special about the food here. The arena is on-campus, so there is no alcohol served here. The prices are okay. It’s not that the food is bad, because it isn’t; there is just nothing at all special going on here.
The Patriot Center is a midsized college arena that delivers as advertised. Even with a relatively recent run to the Final Four, the historicity of the arena is, like most things, just kinda there.
As mentioned above, the arena is on campus. However, it is on the edge of campus, which works to its advantage here. There is a shopping center called University Mall about a block or two from the arena, and that is your only option in the neighborhood, but it offers a lot of choices. There is a Thai place, a deli, a frozen yogurt shop, and a Dunkin Donuts. But the highlights are the two below:
Café ima is an Asian Fusion restaurant that offers a tremendous selection of Japanese and Korean food. You can choose to be seated in the tradition restaurant portion or bar, or at the sushi bar (get the spicy tuna roll) or at the hibachi grill, for a meal with a cooking show. Fun.
Brion’s Grille is an American-style restaurant that is much better than it looks from the outside. Not that it looks bad, it looks just fine. But inside — it’s really, really good. Get the chicken nachos. Or the Jack sticks. Actually, the Risotto is really good; so is the Ahi tuna. Whatever, you’ll find something good; there’s too many choices not to.
I love college fans.
The student section turns its back to the court while the visiting team is introduced. A few of them even yelled "SUCKS" after each player was introduced, which is always a big hit with me. They stood, and chanted, and bounced, and sang for the ENTIRE GAME. They were awesome. The only reason this isn’t a five is that there needs to be more fans.
The arena is in Fairfax, VA, and relatively easy to locate with GPS. The bathrooms…could use work. There is no public transportation of which to speak. There is plenty of free parking.
Everything is well priced, including tickets. You can bring a family of four here, eat well and have a good time for around $80.
Nothing special. Again, not bad, but just no…I don’t know, no buzz or anything.
A decent place to see a game if your team is playing here, or you need something to do before having dinner at University Mall. Plenty of better options in the DC Metro area, but some not as good as well. Overall, a mid-major experience.
Photo attributed to Mak7912.
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