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Official Review by Conrad Klank, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
U.S. Bank Arena is a multipurpose indoor arena in which has hosted a star studded list of legendary musical acts, historical basketball games, fights of all kinds, and is the current home of the ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones. The arena has a total of 14,453 nicely padded seats and a total of zero bad seats.
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".
The food and beverage selection at U.S. Bank Arena is extremely impressive. Obviously the usual stadium goodies are available, but in addition you can get a wide variety of regional chain restaurant favorites inside of the arena. Such options include City Barbeque sandwiches, Donato's pizza, Skyline Chili coneys and Three-Ways, and for dessert why not some Coldstone Ice Cream. Other options include a double cheeseburger with fries ($7), chicken tenders with fries ($7), and even a kid's version of each for only $4.25. The other prices are reasonable and if you plan your trip to the area during a promo you could potentially get a one-dollar hot dog or draft beer night.
In addition to the impressive food offerings, the selection of drinks is pretty remarkable as well. You're sure to find your favorite beer in a bottle or on draft, fruity alcoholic drinks, and even a couple of full bars on the concourse. A must do inside the area is a visit to the All Access Bar and Restaurant, which is accessible by elevator located directly behind section 226, open to the public. Not only is there a full bar, but also a full restaurant with an extensive menu. Be sure to get up there early because the food service ends at the end of the second period and beverage service ends at the beginning of the third period.
The atmosphere inside the arena was really incredible. Although the stands were nowhere near full, the crowd was so into the game that it felt as though it were a sell out. Adults and kids alike were running around yelling at even the smallest hit on the other team. After a goal is scored the crowd goes absolutely nuts and chants along with the goal song even after the song ends and play resumes.
The arena displays championship banners, plays energizing songs, and have light shows to go along with it. The emcee for the game is animated and has a real knack for getting the fans involved. After the home team won, many of the fans honked all the way out of the parking garage.
If you plan on traveling from out of town I would recommend staying at either the Millennium Hotel or the Hyatt Regency, located directly across the street from each other and only a short walk down to the arena. Both of these are equally nice properties with similar amenities.
The official spot for before and after game festivities is the Holy Grail, which is a very upscale sports bar just on the other side of the baseball field, a 5 minute walk. You'll be sure to see everyone from the game there, and may even catch a player getting a sandwich after the game. This is absolutely the place to be on game day.
A bit of a longer walk, but quite worth it if you're looking for more excitement after a weekend game, is Cadillac Ranch or Mynt Lounge located on 6th. These two bars are located right next to each other and offer a younger but sophisticated atmosphere, a couple of fun places.
I can't say that I've ever seen fans want a free t-shirt so badly when they're thrown into the stands as I saw with Cyclones fans. They already handed out free t-shirts at the door to every fan who entered, but then again who doesn't like free stuff at the game?
The one thing I've experienced at hockey games that I've been to, is that the fans come to these games because of their deep love of hockey and plan to show it for the full sixty minutes of play by yelling their hearts out. The night that I attended the arena it must have been a third full, not implying that it was a small turnout but rather that the arena is probably too large for these events. On the other hand if you didn't know better you'd think the arena was a sellout by the amount of noise these fanatics make.
There are a couple of parking areas to choose from. Both are just across the street from the arena. One, the parking garage, located directly underneath of Great American Ball Park, where the Cincinnati Reds play, is $10. The other option, the parking lot under the freeway, is only $4, however it is the first to fill up and you'll have to get there extremely early to take advantage of that bargain. Both parking areas are exceptionally convenient and worth the price.
All areas of the arena are clean and well maintained. Restrooms are plentiful and handy; and the seating is comfortable and spacious.
Overall prices throughout the arena were reasonable for the quality received in return. Tickets for the game are $13 for anything above the second row and $26 for along the boards, both being a pretty good value. As mentioned before, food is well priced for the wide variety offered, and the souvenirs at the shop are well priced for some really nice merchandise.
The All Access Bar and Restaurant is deserving of a point for the uniqueness in which it offers and for the extensity of the menu for an arena restaurant.
Before the teams are introduced to the arena a very unique video is played to excite the crowd that is spectacular. In the hopes that you will go experience it yourself I won't ruin it. Make it a priority to make it to your seat a little early, in time to catch it.
Extra credit goes to the arena staff for amazing, outgoing, and friendly staff. Any question was greeted with a warm and informative answer. An A+ to the service at U.S. Bank Arena.
Overall, U.S. Bank Arena is a fanatic's hat trick; they capture the three most important things and excel at them; great entertainment reasonably priced, exceptional service, and ease of access. U.S. Bank Arena and the Cincinnati Cyclones are a first class partnership and are proof that with the dedication of the staff and fans alike, a great product can exist in minor league hockey.
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161 Joe Nuxhall Way
Cincinnati, OH 45202
150 W Fifth St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
151 W 5th St
Cincinnati, OH 45202