Jukebox Skipping

Friday, August 6, 2010

Arena Sports Bar and Grill, Omaha -- REVIEW

Arena Sports Bar and Grill
3809 North 90th Street
Omaha, NE 68134-4130
(402) 571-2310

I had not even intended to write a review of this place, but I took so many damn notes all night I figured I should put them to good use. I would have never even gone to this place had I not won free tickets to see a Guns and Roses “tribute” act from Josefina Loza via Twitter. This is a rant for another time, but I do not understand the whole tribute band trend…and I have a brother who is in a Rod Stewart tribute act!

First Impressions: Am I at the right place? I double checked to make sure I wasn’t at Applebee’s. The large inflatable Miller Lite bottle was my indication that my GPS did not fail me and I was, indeed, at the right place. I walked in and was treated very nicely by whom I assume was the manager. My name was “on the list” so I didn’t have to pay the $8 cover. (People pay 8 bucks for a GNR cover…pardon…TRIBUTE band???)

The Bar: This is a BIG place with several areas including two pool tables, dart board area, tons of seating at the bar and at two different areas that have tables. Everything was on wheels, and much like the Wet Lounge review, all the furniture in the place looks straight out of 1982. The bar is on two different levels (like Applebee’s) so the part where I sat at was more like sitting at the kiddie table on Thanksgiving. They did have 10 good TVs for sports and seemingly every kind of beer you could want, including Omaha’s own Lucky Bucket, and enough vodka that the Jager bombs were sure to be flowing.

The Crowd: The place was dominated by aging former frat boys who looked to be caught somewhere between their days of roid rages to their now current Red Bull-induced adrenalin rushes. There was enough Axe body spray in the air to choke a horse (or at least me) along with plenty of ball caps on backwards and guys with their sunglasses on their heads…even though it was 10 PM! The women in the place, and there were plenty, were out on the prowl. So many drunk women in heels (most of which I assume can’t walk in them properly when sober) that I was convinced someone was going down that night (No pun intended!) That was a long way to go to say this is a meat market!

Service: Not awful. This must be where wannabe Hooters girls go if they don’t quite make the cut. Many lovely young women to bring you your drink…that is of course when they weren’t taking pictures of the tribute band. The one bartender seemed to know the word to every Nickleback song (great), the guy behind the bar looked like the former wrestler The Brooklyn Brawler, and there was a hippie-looking waitress (not sure if that’s her normal look or just for GNR tribute bands?)

Price: I only went with the advertised special of the night $3 Miller Lite bottles. If that was the GOOD price, I’m assuming beers are in the $4-7 range, and mixed drinks are a bit higher.

Food: They have a full bar menu, and although I didn’t order anything, the food that did go past me smelled deep fried and yummy.

A/V: Like I said 10 TVs and I have no doubt this is a good place to watch a game. The sound for the band was quite good as well. Not too loud, and very well-mixed. This is an odd venue for a “concert” but they pulled it off fairly well.

Restrooms: Packed, but nice. They are a long walk from the bar, but nothing to really complain about. A little too much urinal chatter for my taste, but other than that, clean and useable.

Bartender Chat: Hard to chat with a band playing, but I did overhear one of the bar staff (who reminded me Boo Radley) that he was “up early and PSYCHED for this show!” In his defense, the band “Guns 4 Roses” was actually pretty darn good. I was quite shocked at how much they sounded (and sort of) looked like the real GNR in its heyday.

How Far Did My $20 Go: If you stick to the advertised special, like I did, that gets you 5 beers and a tip. Below average considering you paid 8 bucks to walk though the front door.

Final Impressions: This is not my kind of place. In fact, these are the places I avoid at all costs and seek out a dive at any and all times. Keep in mind, if a sports bar/meat market/concert venue filled with 30 year old lunkheads is your thing (and I know people who love places like that) you will love it here. I will say this, it is run efficiently and it’s a fine enough looking place. I cannot endorse it on Hit That Dive, but if somebody wants to write Hit That Meat Market, make this one of your first stops.



Arena Sports Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. I didn't not enjoy this place. The bartenders (females) are not very friendly & trying to get service was ridiculous! They acted annoyed to be serving. I will not be coming back to this place again.

  2. Let me put it this way, I have never been back there. And, unless they have an all-you-can-drink night for $0.01...there's no chance I will ever be back there.

  3. You are dead on with this review, but I would go as far to say the service is horrible. Won't be back.

  4. You're not the first to say the service was horrible. The one (and only)time I was there it was OK. Of course, I was sitting at the bar...and believe it or not...I've had MUCH worse service at a few bars in Omaha.

  5. You hit the Arena on a very rare event! The place is awesome in my opinion. I was at that event and it was a band out of Texas traveling through to Sturgis. What type of crowd do you expect a GNR tribute band to draw? Not really fair to formulate an opinion about a places crowd on a once ever type of event. In any case I play volleyball there now and they have the best 2 court setup in Omaha- HANDS DOWN!

  6. One: Thanks for the tip on the volleyball courts, I am always looking for places to play.

    Two: "What type of crowd do you expect a GNR tribute band to draw?" Good point! I think I said somewhere in the review that I had not intended to write anything...but man how could I not with the crowd there that night.

    What's a good night to stop by again and see the place as it really is...AKA no GnR tribute band (who were actually pretty good from what I remember).

  7. Wednesday nights are very fun! Pints are $1.50.
    It's also one of my favorite football bars!

  8. Used to hang there quite a bit 12 years ago.
    Brian managed the place. I was a regular. so I never had problems with service....

  9. I have been there to try to watch NFL games twice, and both times the service was downright horrible. Took 45 min to get our food out to us, and while we were looking to "get our drink on" as the kids say, doing so was impossible as the waitress visited our table 3 times - once to take our order, 45 min later to deliver food, and 5 min after that to drop off the check. It wasn't even packed - there were plenty of open tables, even in the main room with the 2 huge projection tvs. Just rotten lazy staff. Will NOT be back.

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