SAN FRANCISCO — The Golden State Warriors’ new 18,000-seat, privately-funded, state-of-the-art arena in Mission Bay opened its doors to fans for the first time this week, allowing season ticket holders a chance to see the arena in its almost-final form.
Chase Center is the new home of the Golden State Warriors along with concerts and other entertainment events. There will be about 200 events per year. The building itself is there anchor to a 3.2-acre outdoor public plaza, Thrive City, which includes two dozen retail and restaurant spaces. The inaugural event, Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony will be held in exactly one week. Other fall and winter shows include Elton John, Ariana Grande, Eric Clapton, Chance the Rapper and the Jonas Brothers.
The first selling point of Chase Center is its location along San Francisco Bay. Walking the concourse its easy to be drawn by the expansive bay views through the massive windows flanking the outside of the arena. Chase should also provide a beacon at night. During a media walkthrough, crews were still working to hang lights from the ceiling that would be visible from the outside.
The design of Chase Center’s interior is all about basketball sight lines. Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts said that the arena doesn’t have the ability to realistically host a full-time NHL team, but can support ice and will feature shows like Disney on Ice, as well as leaving the door open to the potential for a one-off San Jose Sharks preseason game.
Chase Center is chock full of clubs, bars, eateries and other separated locations to experience events in other places than an assigned seat. One of the most unique experiences is Modelo Club, situated high up in the rafters. The standing and partially seated area provides a bird’s eye view with balconies that hang high above the arena floor. The architecture has a unique curvature that will give Star Wars fans a feeling of sitting in the galactic senate.
Chase Center’s club concourse includes exquisite restaurant-style table seating just steps from the lower bowl, allowing diners to feel the energy of the event while also being near to the action.
The luxury suites feel like you’re experiencing the event from your home, with a long dining table, V-shaped couch, artistic carpeting and full kitchenette. There are also courtside club private boxes, with a price tag running upward of $1 million a year. These suites, set slightly underground, feature a massive projection wall of screens, a dining table, couches, a kitchen, access to a private wine cellar and courtside seats just steps away. The suites can be used 365 days a year, with some owners using them as satellite offices and meeting rooms.
Food offerings will also receive an upgrade and Welts admitted that for all the things Oracle Arena did well, food was not one of them. The building formerly known as Oracle has one kitchen serving the entire arena. Chase Center has six kitchens allowing for fresher culinary options with more variance. New food items include fried chicken sandwiches, burger dogs, tamales, pizza slices and vegetarian options.
Also worth noting are the impressive in-arena team practice facilities, the Warriors’ striking circular locker room with an homage to Oracle Arena in the construction of its wooden ceiling and the players lounge with hydrobath stations, private marble showers, and a lounge with couches, TVs and an open kitchen.
In some ways, fans’ concert experience may be more exciting than at a basketball game. That’s because many of the bars and clubs that are specific to season ticket holders will be open got everyone at concerts. The arena’s massive (no really; it’s almost as large as a the basketball court) Jumbotron also raises into the ceiling, allowing artists the full use of the arena space for their staging and lighting rigs.
The other question leading up to the venue’s first event is traffic and parking. Arena and team officials have stressed from the beginning that the arena is transit-first. You should take Muni, a ferry, or even walk rather than driving a car.
Follow writer Mike DeWald at Twitter.com/mike_dewald.