White Sox share plans for new 500-level bars

Chicago White Sox fans are getting a sneak peek at two bars opening in the 2023 season at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The “view bars” under construction on the 500-level concourse will feature walk-up drink service and table seating, the Sox announced this month.

The team demolished eight rows of seats in sections 516 and 548 to make room for the bars, which will be sponsored by Molson Coors’ brands Miller High Life and Blue Moon.

The idea behind the bars is to help fans experience the park in new ways, Brooks Boyer, White Sox chief revenue and marketing officer, said in a statement.

“These two new view bars invite fans to customize their ballpark experience, providing open spaces to see the game from different perspectives,” Boyer said.

The Sox initially had bigger plans for the bars when it applied for a building permit in September, but the bars were simplified afterward to meet the budget.

The team demolished eight rows of seats in sections 516 and 548 to make room for the bars, which will be sponsored by Miller High Life and Blue Moon.

White Sox

In that permit, issued by the city in November, the team said it planned to install a “premium seating skybox,” estimating the cost at $284,500. But the new renderings released by the team don’t show or mention the premium seating.

Internal planning documents also show the team had planned to build full-service bars that would have required extensive plumbing and electrical work. The bars would have featured large overhead “shrouds” to accent the bars.

An internal email from Nov. 14, 2022, shows the team decided to simplify the bars to meet its budget, four days before its building permit was issued by the city. The revised plan called for bars that are “self-contained units with minimal requirements for plumbing and reduced requirements for electrical services.”

Those documents were released by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to the Sun-Times in an open records request. The ISFA is a government body that oversees renovations of Guaranteed Rate Field and Soldier Field.

The initial plan for the view bars included a shrouded bar and premium seating. The White Sox simplified the design of the bar to meet its budget.

Screenshots of a White Sox “invitation to bid” for the planned bars, from August 2022.

Frank Bilecki, chief executive of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, declined to comment directly on questions about the planned bars.

A White Sox spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

Construction was contracted to James McHugh Construction Co., according to the building permit.

This isn’t the first time the team replaced bleacher seating with amenities. In 2019, the Sox added a bar in right field called “the Goose Island,” now known as the “Miller Lite Landing.”

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