Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The Lighthouse Bar & Grille Omaha -- REVIEW
Omaha, NE 68116
West Omaha’s Lighthouse Bar and Grille claims to be “Omaha’s only five star dive bar!”, with a statement that bold, how could I not give it a try? Somehow the idea of dive bar and a five star rating is kind of confusing, but I think I knew what they were trying to imply. Rather than sit at home and contemplate a questionable marketing phrase, I hopped in the car and headed their way.
My trip to the Lighthouse was twofold; part business meeting and part bar review. I met old friend Nate from Vossome who will be coming up with the Hit That Dive logo and other various things needed to look more professional. But we figured if we are meeting to talk about dive bars, we should actually meet IN a dive bar!
First Impressions: Another Omaha strip mall dive? Great. How do I get to the place? It is easy to see from Maple Street heading east, but how do you turn into the parking lot? After a series of left turns (that did not seem like the right way to go) I snaked my way to the back corner of the strip mall. The place was much larger than I anticipated and was pretty much dead for happy hour.
The Bar: A big bar area. Lots of tables and chairs around the place and a sort of sports bar feel, but not quite a “sports bar.” My guess is when this place opened, they were going for some kind of sports theme and got tired of hanging things on the wall and then just declared “a sports bar is too much work, let’s go for a college dive look”, and they called it a day. That is just mere speculation on my part of course. In any case, the place looks fine, just in need of a little work here and there.
The Crowd: In my two hours there, I’m guessing there were a total of 10 people that walked in and out. A few regular-looking schmoes were sprinkled throughout the bar, a younger (21ish) couple walked in at some point and there was even a guy in a suit for a bit. Clearly, this is a come as you are “dive”.
Service: Great! There was only one bartender on duty, but she zipped around the entire place (tables included) making sure everyone was happy. She was pleasant and friendly, but clearly all business.
Price: This is the main reason to come to the Lighthouse during happy hour, 35 ounce drafts for $3! Yep…three bucks! Not only that, but there is a sign for $3 Long Island Iced Tea all day every day. And if that’s not good enough for you, happy hour wings are 10 for $5. They also have $2 domestic pints, bottles and well drinks.
Food: With $5 wings, how could I say no? They took forever to come out from the kitchen, but I wasn’t in a big hurry so I didn’t care all that much. The wings were good and nice and crispy (as they should be). The sauce was a bit odd. I ordered them with the “hot” sauce which seemed to me to be regular buffalo wing sauce with a whole bunch of black pepper added to make them hot. Not horrible, but not as good as they could have been either. In any case, a good deal for what I paid for them...so I'll stop bitching.
A/V: Great place to watch a game. There are 8 TVs throughout the place and set at good viewing angles. There was only baseball being shown when I was there, but I will keep this place in mind to watch a football game or two this fall (as long as they have happy hour on the weekends too)
Restrooms: What a pleasant surprise! The mens room was large and clean. It was kind of hard to find because the mens and ladies rooms are not next to each other. Not a huge deal mind you, and for restrooms this clean, I can live with having to take a few extra steps to find it.
Bartender Chat: Nothing more than very minor small talk. But again, let me just say this, all bartenders should be this efficient and attentive when it comes to doing their job. I could not have been happier.
How Far Did My $20 Go: For LESS than $20, Nate and I consumed more than 150 ounces of beer (my last one was a bit on the warm side) and I ate 10 wings…all for $19.57! That is going to be a hard price to beat anywhere!!
Final Impressions: Is the Lighthouse Bar and Grille a five star dive? No (of course I still don’t know what that means?) You can’t just open a bar in a strip mall and declare it a “dive”…it doesn’t work that way. But, is it a good bar, with a great staff, and ridiculously cheap prices? Oh yes it is. And for those reasons alone, I would recommend stopping by here for a happy hour if you’re out and about in West Omaha. I know I’ll be back.