1818 Binfield St
Elkhorn, NE 68022
I drove past this place for years and never knew it was a bar. A few years ago I decided to drive to the front of the building to see what the hell “Jack’s Place” was. It’s in an industrial-looking area, so I always just assumed that it was a collision repair shop. I was surprised to see neon signs for Bud Light and other assorted swill beers in the windows and immediately thought my usual thought “I should go in there some time! Yadda, yadda, yadda…three years later I decide to make Jack’s Place my first stop on my five dives in five nights tour.
First Impressions: This is perhaps the last place you would expect to find a bar. Looks more like an area where you go to have your lawnmower serviced or a place where you can find an old hubcap dealer. I followed a huge diesel pickup truck down a side road (thinking to myself I bet he’s going to Jack’s) and sure enough I was right. The parking was packed (on a Monday night?), I got out of my car, walked in, and the bar was packed too! I’m diggin’ this place so far.
The Bar: There were, at my count, more than 50 people in the place and it’s much bigger than you would think. There is a bar room and a back room with a pool table and additional seating. I counted 25 seats at the bar and I bunch of additional seating at tables throughout the main area. Jack’s has the mandatory games a good dive needs including Golden Tee, Buck Hunter, two dart boards and a jukebox. And best of all, it had a very upbeat feel to the place, not a doom and gloom feel like the Rusty Nail review.
The Crowd: In my notes I underlined the phrase, “Everything from cute young chicks, to big bubbas in overalls!” This is a blue collar crowd, but a very diverse group of people as well. The crowd ranged from everything including groups of people that seem to be getting ready to head back to Lincoln for their senior year, to guys in their 60’s talking about how to repair an outboard motor. Plus, everyone seemed very relaxed. This did not seem to be a group of people where a fight breaks out. Ever.
Service: There was one bartender behind the bar, she seemed a bit frazzled at first, but it was quickly apparent that she was able to keep all 50 people in the place happy as the moved around the place quickly replacing drinks as soon as they were empty. Nice work!
Price: I ordered a pint of draft beer and was told “that will be $3.50.” $3.50!! I was not expecting that. There were no signs on the walls for happy hour, or any other specials for that matter, except for one sign on the way out of the restroom that stated Old Milwaukee Light (in a can no less) was $2.75 all day long. I wouldn’t pay a $1.00 for one of those, so $2.75 hardly seemed like a bargain. If you do go, keep in mind that a pitcher is $7.50 and is CLEALY the way to go. See, I pay an outrageous price so you don’t have to!
Food: I didn’t eat, but they do have a pizza window from which some pretty kickass-looking pizzas were coming out from. There even were a few people stopping in just to pick up a pizza to go. Jack’s also had signs that they were open for lunch during the week. Note to self, I may have to go back and try the pizza. Soon.
A/V Four TV’s in good locations throughout the bar. Two or three more would not be a bad idea in my opinion because they advertise this as “the place to come watch the Huskers” and it might be hard to get a good view if this place is as packed as I think it probably gets for football games.
Restrooms: Very close to the bar (thumbs up for a short walk) and pretty clean. In fact, they kind of reminded me of the restrooms that you find in the lobby of a Hampton Inn…no frills and all business…I can live with that.
Bartender Chat: Not much to be had from a busy bartender that was waiting (efficiently I might add) on 50 people. I did overhear her telling a story to a few of the regulars about how her brother would get her braces stuck in the shag carpeting at their house when she was a kid…big brother’s can be real A Holes!
Final Impressions: I really liked this place. Here’s my final thought on the prices too; a long time ago my Dad took over managing a bar and the first thing he did was raise the price of beer. I asked him why in the world he would do that and his response was that “rising the prices will drive out the trouble makers (and bad tippers) and leave only the people who liked his place and wanted to have a good time.” Made sense then and still does today. And my guess is Jack’s Place is doing the same thing. By keeping prices just higher than people can find at other bars in the area, they are making sure this is a fun environment for people to stop by and enjoy a night out. HIT THIS DIVE!