Bay Area basketball fans are about to turn up this weekend as Golden State Warriors head to the playoffs. The Dubs are the number three seed and, on Saturday, April 16, will take on the Denver Nuggets at Mission Bay’s Chase Center for the first game of the first-ever playoffs to go down at the stadium.
As the Chase Center itself is relatively new, having just celebrated its three year anniversary and with two of those years happening during a global pandemic, there are parts of the expansive arena that remain relatively unknown to fans. Outside of the stadium itself is Thrive City, which hosts local food and drink options like Harmonic Brewing and Gott’s Roadside. But amongst all the jewels inside the arena itself, this mostly unexplored temple to basketball, the Modelo Cantina shines brightest for one reason: bottomless food and beer for $55.
Eater SF has mentioned the Cantina before, but it bears elevating. At the top of the stadium, overlooking the NBA’s largest jumbotron, is an open air buffet that opens an hour and a half before the game begins. One can eat chicken adobo; pork belly bao dumplings; chips, guac, and salsa; and desserts like raspberry jam bars until they pass out.
Plus, there’s the beer. Since one beer goes for $16.50 at other bistros throughout Chase Center, drinking at least three beers at the cantina automatically makes this deal worth it. The stadium is designed to allow guests to see the game from anywhere in the center, so a bacchanal at the cantina also means you can watch the playoffs without cutting off the flow of food and drink, rather than getting up from your seat and shuffling past randos every time you want a brew.
Now, take this recommendation with a few caveats: There’s no liquor available with this deal, as one fan audibly bemoaned, which means getting anything stronger than Modelo will cost extra. And you should set realistic expectations on the quality of the food — if you’re craving a higher caliber dinner, the JP Morgan Club a few floors below may be a better fit. Finally, season holders can reserve tickets to the Cantina in advance, so be careful to check for availability if you plan to go with a big group.
There are plenty of other gems at the stadium, too. Chase Center is now home to one of the NBA’s first plant-based restaurants Green House. The Sarap Shop, located in the United Club on the 300 level, offers vegan lumpia that’s a texturally-balanced delight. The team behind Trick Dog helped make Chase Center’s beverage program one of the only in the NBA stadium world to incorporate fresh fruit rather than concentrates, so mixed drinks are worth adding to your must-try list. And the wine program is not to be slept on: the Splash Wine Bar, near the Budweiser Legends Club, offers blends from all over California. And last December Chase Center launched its “Most Valuable Plate” competition, and on April 6 the staff announced the Chicken and Waffle cone was fans’ favorite item — now, a portion of sales of the snack will go toward local non-profit Bayview Makers Kitchen. Grab the cone at Make Room for Dessert or at one of the Big Nate’s BBQ locations on the main or upper concourse.
Call 415-315-9731 to make your reservation at the Modelo Cantina.