The scene: We suggest you wear flip-flops to The Sands. The venue isn’t exactly a bar, but it does have beer, margaritas and a patio (sporadically dotted with fake palm trees), and that’s close enough for us. The Sands is a recreational spot, with a couple of dozen sand volleyball courts and multiple softball fields for league play. On any given weeknight, the courts swell with players of all levels getting a little exercise after work. The patio is huge, with nearly 50 tables big enough to seat six comfortably, and it fills with people as soon as the games begin.
What we ordered: Order inside at the concession stand, which offers a few snacks (the pre-packaged variety, such as chips and crackers), as well as popcorn from an ever-popping machine (fill a basket for a small recommended donation). The neon signs advertising margaritas and domestic brews will ease your after-work jitters. Most people order by the pitcher, so we enjoyed a pitcher of Coors Light for $8.
What we saw: The T-shirt-, gym short- and sports bra-wearing crowd is ever changing. Games last one hour, so the patio is more of a meeting spot for teams to chug a quick beer before heading to their assigned courts. If it weren’t for the sweat on their brow, it would be tough to tell the difference between the teams who have played and those who haven’t — the morale is high here. Win or lose, everyone is a champion when there is beer and sand involved.
Why you should go: Stop by to cheer on a friend’s team, or sub if they need an extra player. The Sands is a friendly space, and as laid back as a patio can get. When you’re ready to leave, rinse the sand off your feet at a communal hose — it’s almost like being at the beach, even if you are just off 63rd Street.
The Sands Volleyball and Softball Club
Find it: 6214 Grand Ave.
Hours: Games start at 6:30 p.m. nightly and end about 9 p.m.
Patio highlights: Real sand beneath your feet, plus prime viewing for athletically-inclined young professionals.
Best for: A little after-work exercise (if you’re on a team) with a constant buzz of activity.