Beer and the VandyBoys: Inside the new Home Run Lounge at Hawkins Field

Photo+via+VandyBoys+%28Instagram%29
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Beer and the VandyBoys: Inside the new Home Run Lounge at Hawkins Field

Photo via VandyBoys (Instagram)

Photo via VandyBoys (Instagram)

Photo via VandyBoys (Instagram)

Photo via VandyBoys (Instagram)

Cutler Klein, Sports Editor

If you haven’t been motivated to go to a Vanderbilt Baseball home game before, perhaps a cold beer will help.

This weekend’s series between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Florida Gators will mark the debut of the new Home Run Lounge at Hawkins Field, featuring a wide list of beers and hard seltzers for purchase.

The lounge is located on the patio underneath the jumbotron in left field. Fans can enter using the ramp near center field, or access the lounge from the main concourse using the cut-through in Memorial Gym. There is a $10 cover charge to enter in addition to a game ticket (or just a Commodore Card for students). Drinks will cost around $8.

The pin marks the location of the Home Run Lounge in left field (Screenshot via Google Maps)

So for a student, all you would need to enter the lounge is your state ID, your Commodore Card and $10.

The lounge features a bar under a tent, as well as high-top tables and an uninterrupted view of the entire field. Drink selections include Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Goose Island and Shock Top, as well as local and regional microbrews such as Steel Barrel (Murfreesoboro, TN), Yee Haw (Johnson City, TN) and Wicked Weed (Asheville, NC). The lounge will also sell Grapefruit Hard Seltzer, Bud Light Lime-a-rita and Bud Light Straw-ber-rita.

Alcohol sales will be confined to the lounge area and alcoholic beverages must be consumed only in the lounge, per SEC regulations.

Senior Associate AD for External Affairs Martin Salamone said the lounge is part of a pilot program aimed at students and a  younger demographic of fans.

“We’ve got a tremendous fanbase for baseball,” Salamone said. “Without a doubt, it’s our highest retention with season tickets and we have great single game sales, so it’s terrific. But, we really don’t have a very strong younger demographic at baseball games. We were trying to think of different ways that we might be able to engage some fans and things like that. Our goal, we hope to grow it eventually and make it a little bit more fun.”

The Nashville Sounds Triple-A baseball team has a similar area in First Tennessee Park in right field called “The Band Box” that features a bar and games such as mini golf and ping pong. While Salamone doesn’t expect Vanderbilt to bring in ping pong tables, he will be listening to fan feedback on how to improve the lounge.

He also hopes to tap into the Nashville beer scene and feature more local breweries in their beer selection.

Salamone is excited about the prospect of getting more students to attend Vanderbilt Baseball games.

“I’m really excited,” he said. “I hope that the students will take advantage of it, I hope they’ll have fun. I hope they’ll help spread the word. I also hope young alums will come by and enjoy it. Baseball is hard, it’s nine innings and if you don’t love it, you might not stay nine innings. This gives another reason for you to come out and maybe you are sitting in the infield for the first three innings then make your way out to left field and you have a beer or two and then you kind of bounce back and forth.”

SEC rules prohibit alcohol at its venues except for enclosed “premium areas” such as the Home Run Lounge. This is Vanderbilt’s first venture into alcohol sales at one of its venues, and if it is successful, Salamone could see the model expand to non-conference baseball games and into more Vanderbilt venues such as Vanderbilt Stadium or Memorial Gym.

The Home Run Lounge will make its official debut on Thursday, Mar. 21 for Vanderbilt’s first game against Florida. First pitch is schedule for 6:00 PM CT. Friday’s game is scheduled for 6:30 PM and Saturday’s rubber match is slated for 1 PM CT.

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