The Good and the Bad of the Penguins New Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

The Good and the Bad of the Penguins New Consol Energy Center

I got my opportunity to go down and see the new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I have to say, it was, in fact, very impressive.  

This is the view from lower Center Avenue. The is the view from upper Center Avenue.

Once I got past the interactive Penguins “hall of fame”, I headed up to the main concourse.  

Here the fans can relive some of the great history of the Penguins using touchscreen monitors.

Here, I was amazed by the overall appearance of, well, everything.  There is certainly the overwhelming sense of “new arena” smell and appearance.   After standing there for a couple of minutes taking it all in, I decided to go into the Men’s room.  The whole bathroom experience is something that has been a problem forever at the old arena.  My hopes for the new arena were that I might be able to give back my $ 7.50 beer in less time than allowed by the period break.  The lines were horrible in the old place.  It would appear that this new arena is much better suited in this department.

Some might miss the old troughs that were available in some of the Mellon Arena facilities.  The new building features standard urinals.  Maybe having urinals will alleviate some of the congestion.  We will have to wait and see how good or bad the wait will be once the arena is filled to capacity.

The next thing that stood out to me was the food and beverage options.  Much better I must say.  I was a bit uncertain when I heard they had come to agreement with RC Cola to provide the soft drinks.  I didn’t even know RC was still pertinent.   Certainly, the type of soda offered is not my main concern.  The main beers at the stands are Bud Light (eh), Miller Lite (better) and Labatt’s.  There were some smaller stands that offer the discerning beer drinker a nice alternative with choices like Hoegaarden and Landshark.

In the Mellon Arena, there were 2 or 3 stands that served IC Light.  Being the kind of guy that likes to support the local breweries, I made a point to go to one of these particular stands to get my liquid refreshment.  I was disappointed to not find Iron City represented anywhere in the new facility.  Maybe I just did not see it, but it was not apparent.

How refreshing to find an alternative to hot dogs and nachos at this wonderful new building.  There is a chain of food stands called Blaze that offers some nice alternatives.

There is a place on the second concourse called The Smokehouse that seems very nice.  Here one can get a brisket sandwich, a BBQ pork or chicken sandwich and kielbasa.  They actually have a person carving the meat right there.

The Smokehouse: There were actually tables nearby where fans can eat.


The food booths are also set out of the main traffic flow.  This is a very unique concept, I know. One thing that drove me crazy at the Igloo was the food and souvenir stands encroaching into already tight and overcrowded walkways.

Overall, the food and beverage offerings should be a huge upgrade.  One thing has not changed; you will still have to take a loan out to afford a night of eating and drinking while watching your favorite hockey team.


Probably the one thing that I found myself disappointed with was the sightline from my new seats.  Initially, I was pleased when I got my new seat assignment. On paper it looked about as good as I could have hoped.  At the Igloo, I had front row, aisle seats in the F balcony.  I loved my seats.  The way the Igloo was constructed, the balconies hung over the lower levels.  So, sitting in the front row of F, though at first seeming less than desirable, was awesome.  Now, I am not stupid, I knew that just about everyone else would get preference over us folks in F, but I still found myself feeling a bit bummed.  The upper bowl in the new building does not overhang the lower level.  Therefore, my new seats are quite a bit further away.  I still retained an aisle seat and our group in F is still sitting together, but I can’ t help but be a little disappointed.

The view from my new section.

In my old seats, I was on top of the action.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still happy to be able to go to the new building.  I will love the whole experience.  It is not as if I am going to have a hard time seeing the action, but what I had with my old seats was sort of a hidden gem.


Some more pictures of the new Arena:

The new HD Jumbotron

The hall of high school and amateur hockey.

The new “Igloo” club.

The banners all hanging in their glory in the rafters of the new building.

A view from the concourse of the old barn.

I am pretty excited to head down to the Consol Energy Center for the season opener.  It should become even more inviting as new restaurants and bars start to populate the area as I predict they will.  For as long as I can remember, it has been a struggle to get into one of the few, overcrowded places that everyone flocks to before the game.  It would be nice to have a few additional options for the fans. 

Here is to looking forward to a new season, a new arena and a fantastic new experience with the Winter Classic!

Check out StadiumJourney.com’s reviews of the new Consol Energy Center:  www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/consol-energy-center-s123/

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  1. Penkey's Gravatar Penkey
    August 17, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    That’s cool having the ol’ Arena right outside the window. The only reason they don’t want to keep it around is that they know that it could cut into profits if they keep using it for concerts. It would be cool if a Pittsburgh Museum would buy it.

  2. RBMH's Gravatar RBMH
    August 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I hope they have more than 1 guy cutting brisket – I doubt he could cut enough for 18,000 in 3 hours. I think they should have the benched players cutting it during the game to increase arm strength.

  3. Alan's Gravatar Alan
    August 17, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I really love the new CEC also, and was very excited that the Penguins management let us come down and view it before it opened for the McCartney concert. There are way too many upsides to mention, but after thinking about it, a bunch of the cool upsides don’t really effect me, like the “Lexus” club for instance, it is amazing, yet I will probably be in there as much as I was in the Igloo club which was once. The interactive Stanley cup and player things that are big enough for maybe 50 people to see at a time.

    Food and bathrooms are really the things I thought were most important and they are awesome.

    My seats are further away also, but I’m reserving opinion until I see some on ice action. Can’t wait!

    • Sammi's Gravatar Sammi
      August 17, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      I’m hoping the food places can handle a large amount of people – I hate going to the Pirate games when there is only 5 thousand people there and waiting in line at Primanti Bros for 15 minutes.

      I only go to a few Pens games a year, but I can’t wait to see the new place.

  4. August 17, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I agree that the new CEC is going to rock. I think the new work out rooms, locker rooms and player amenities will really help the team play less worn down towards the end of the season.

    Once you get past it seeming like you got a free ticket to the sports history museum (which I’ve never been) and the fact that when your running late and cannot get a seat at a local bar to grab a sandwich, you will have the option of eating at the arena. (Don’t expect the sandwiches to be all neat and prestine as they were on media day, once they pile a hundred of them wrapped in tinfoil on top of each other in the warmers, they will be like the ones at Heinz Field) The fact that there will be a bunch of food options is great.

    The only important part will be the game. I think that the people who sat in the F section and many that sat in the E section are not going to be as happy with their seats as they were with them at Mellon Arena. It has always been a known fact that the E and F balconies were way better seats than the D section. That will no longer be true. At the CEC it will be a more correct you get what you pay for seating. While there may not be limited view seats like at the arena, There are many seats further away from the action than any at the arena.

    • Pensrock's Gravatar Pensrock
      August 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      It does make sense you get what you pay for, my new seats are way better than my back of section D seats at Mellon!


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