With all the uproar surrounding the SoDo arena proposal these last few months it's been quite easy to forget about the extensive stadium project taking place a few miles north on the University of Washington campus. Husky Stadium, the colossal waterfront field that the University of Washington football team calls home, began a two-year, $260 million renovation last November.
So what happens in the meantime? Starting Saturday, September 1, the Huskies will be vying for a Pac-12 championship on a new plane of FieldTurf (whether or not you can watch this happen on TV remains to be seen). The Seahawks have graciously invited their collegiate comrades to play their home games at CenturyLink Field during the construction.
This development will likely bring all sorts of changes: traffic snarls, mood on the UW campus, game-day atmosphere, and potentially even the scores. But let’s be honest—the most significant change will be booze. Since it’s on a college campus, Husky Stadium is a dry facility, meaning even fans of legal drinking age must content themselves with tailgating. But this season, those over 21 will be able to enjoy a drink just as they would at any Seahawks game.
But don’t expect the beer to flow too freely; drinking will be restricted to several designated beer gardens around the stadium. CenturyLink’s club and suite levels will also serve alcohol. Booze sales stop at the start of the third quarter, and you better believe you'll need ID.
A rep for the stadium says not much will change outside its walls. Pioneer Square bars and food vendors will operate as usual and will probably be elated for the extra business. Tailgating will still be permitted so long as it adheres to the required guidelines on the CenturyLink Field website. (Propane only barbecues and no alcoholic beverages in open public areas.)
The stadium food options will be pretty much the same as at Seahawks games, aka way better than most college stadiums. Mainstays such as Kidd Valley, Longhorn Barbecue and Seattle Dogs will maintain their rotunda locations while the Grid Iron Grill will continue dishing out greasy, guilty pleasures. CenturyLink has also added some new venues, including local favorites Beecher's (dispensing its mac and cheese) and Uli's sausage, as well as gluten-free options.
After a lukewarm 7-6 season last year, Husky faithful remain optimistic for this year citing a strong incoming freshman class, seven returning starters on defense, and five returning starters on offense including junior quarterback Keith Price. But, at least for this season, if the team starts losing, you don't have to wait for the game to end to start drinking the pain away. The Huskies kick off against San Diego State on Saturday at 7:30.