Jukebox Skipping

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Rusty Nail Inn, Omaha -- REVIEW

The Rusty Nail Inn
14210 Pierce Plaza
Omaha, NE 68144-1037
(402) 333-7370

The back story on why I picked this place goes like this, when I moved to Omaha six years ago I would drive past this the Rusty Nail all the time. It looked like a cool little dive, so I declared to my real estate guy (who was showing me houses), that I was going to make the Rusty Nail Inn my regular hangout! Flash forward until August, 2010 and I have still never set foot in the place. That was until yesterday. Safe to say it will be another six years before I would ever consider setting foot in there again.

First Impressions: For being in a setting connected to other buildings (including a barber shop) it has a nice dive feel on the outside. Walking through the front door you walk into the smell of something being deep fried…never a bad thing. It’s a bit dark and awfully quiet, even though there are a decent amount of people at the bar, and even more outside on the smoking veranda (you never get a chance to use that word enough).

The Bar: There are a lot of seats around the bar, but at least 5 of them are stuffed into corners and behind video poker-type games. There is a mix of cleaning supplies littering the area behind the bar (including a can of Febreze…flatulence problems perhaps?). The place does have a bit of a Western theme, which is what I had hoped, and seems to be cut in half by booths that separate the bar area from the Rusty Nail "inner sanctum" area (more on that in a bit).

The Crowd: A smorgasbord of boozy bar types. You name it, they had it. Half drunk 60 year old cougar? Got it. Middle aged bar flies? Got it. Tatted-up 30ish types smoking and dropping the F bomb? Of course! Not a bad crowd I suppose, but everyone sat fairly quietly (like the elementary school lunchroom) looking directly ahead and not doing much of anything. It suddenly occured to me…wonder how long I have to sit in a bar to give a proper review. It was then I came up with my new standard…minimum three drinks.

Service: Hello? Service?? Hey…look over here. I WANT A BEER. Please. Just one? It took nearly five minutes for the Baby Spice-looking bartender to be pulled away from doing absolutely nothing and take the required six steps to see if the person who walked into her bar a while ago just MAYBE wants something to drink. She took three more steps, poured me a draft beer, handed it to me and walked away. I gave her a hardy “Thank you!” Her response? “Yep.”

Price: Three bucks for a pint of domestic beer. Ummmm..OK. Any specials? No. Happy hour prices are a dollar off everything. That seems, well, adequate enough. No need to hurt yourself attracting new business I suppose? A couple next to me ordered a pitcher for $7. The pitchers are cheaper than buying three beers and you get more than three beers? Thanks for the heads up bar lady!

Food: They have a full menu, and something did smell pretty good. Maybe their strong suit is food. It sure isn’t running a bar, but alas, I will never know because I’m not going back.

A/V: A couple of smallish TV’s, one dimly lit projection TV, and a lonely jukebox in the middle of no where that no one was interested in playing. There was music coming from overhead speakers, but it was on so softly it did nothing to make the mood in the place any better. They did have signs for a DJ on Thursday nights, not sure how that could do anything to make this place better, but who knows?

Restrooms: Easily the best part of my trip to the Rusty Nail Inn. They weren’t great, but they didn’t have too much competition from the rest of the place. They are a neon blue, pretty large, and contained my favorite graffiti prose, “Here I sit all broken hearted…”

Bartender Chat: Clearly this was going nowhere. But I figured, why not give it a shot! I inserted my rather large mouth into the middle of a conversation about the difference between draft and bottled beer. “I like both” I said loudly down the bar. Baby Spice said “I don’t.” When I pressed her on why, her retort was rather blunt, “I just don’t”. Oh screw it, this is going no where…better chug this last one and get out of here.

How Far Did My $20 Go: Had I known about the pitcher price, I could have had two pitchers for $14! Instead I had three pints for $9 and got the hell out of there. Just enough money left to go to the Kum & Go and encounter the drunkest man in America!

Side Note: Like I said there is a place behind the bar area that has pool tables, some other sports games, and a rockin’ game of Texas Hold ‘Em being playing by roughly 8 dudes at a poker table…something seemed shady so I was not in the mood to take a picture and then get the shit kicked out of me.

Final Impressions: Bad service, weird vibe and no drink specials to speak of…why in the world someone would come in here more than once is beyond me? I couldn’t even make a left out of the place to go West on Pacific (the way I wanted to go)…so that just added to the “I’m never coming back here again frustration”. Do not hit this dive! This place can easily be summed up by the writing on it’s own restroom wall “Here I sit all broken hearted…”


1 (A new low!)
 (I made a return trip here in April 2011...Rusty Nail Round Two).

Rusty Nail Inn on Urbanspoon


  1. I heard they shut down for awhile because it was such a dump....They should level the place and start over!

  2. That is news to me...but I will say this...I am in no hurry to go back there anytime soon.

  3. We were just there with friends and the service was OK, the food was very good as were the drinks and the music was just the right volume. The new owners are working on turning this place around and making it a fun bar to go to again with much better service.

  4. That is good to hear. It has all the makings of a great bar (I wanted to love the place in fact) hopefully they can get it moving in the right direction. West Omaha has so few places with character, maybe a few changes to the Rusty Nail makes it the great hangout bar West O sorely lacks.

  5. the place is fun when you and friends want to hang out where nobody knows you. They have live music now and saturdays seem to be pretty fun. Still a dump though but Im a sucker for dives

  6. Thanks for the update. Any new drink specials that you know of?

  7. What drink specials are you looking for? Pretty sure they do Bomb nights! $5 bucks for you name it bombs! The new owner is nice guy. Sure he would appreciate the second opt. to turn around the review since he now owns it! Poker fridays and live music on sat.!

  8. How weird is this, a friend of mine pleaded with me to head back to the Rusty Nail just last week. Sounds like I do need to make a return visit... soon!

    As far as drink specials, I just got back from Denver and a bar in LoDo does $2 domestic draws from 11am-7pm every day. That would be a great reason for people to stop at the Rusty Nail...in my opinion.

  9. We started going a few months ago. We have had pleasant service and food was very good. It is a nice neighborhood bar. I have been to two parties in the back room and everyone had a lot of fun. Would recommend people come in and see how much fun it is yourself.

  10. I have yet to eat there, I was in there just last week and I have to say that the prices are still WAY too high. $5 is a bit much for a pint of Guinness.

  11. We love the place. Everything is sooooo much better than it was a few years ago. It is cleaner, staff is much nicer and the food is great. We go about once a week and have a lot of fun everytime we are there. If you haven't ever been in this bar you should try it.

  12. A few years ago?? I was there a few months ago and it still sucked. The prices are bad, the happy hour is a joke and it is more boring to be there than sitting in an insurance seminar. Other than that, it's the best place I know for over-priced, lukewarm, flat beers. Cheers to you!!!

  13. I'm a big fan of dive bars, but the thing that ruins this establishment is the attitude of the owner/manager. I don't recommend going here unless you have a need to be around rude people.