715 North 120th Street
Omaha, NE 68154-4212
As you can tell, I have a very scientific approach to how I pick bars to review (that's a joke), but, I am always a sucker for a place that has a martini glass (with an olive) as part of its logo. It just so happens that as I was stopped at a light on 120th Street, and looked out the car window to my left, there it was…the sign for Stoli's Lounge...with a martini glass! My kind of place! Well at first glance it's my kind of place…that's why I actually go in to do the reviews, but I digress…
First Impressions: It's yet another Omaha bar in a strip mall (I have to get over this hang up some day). Walking into the place it's a lot bigger than I thought it would be from the outside, it's actually very clean and there are a ton of signs for specials all over the walls. So far, so good.
The Bar: It's a big bar, with a lot of places to sit…not only at the bar itself…but at tons of tables in the bar area as well. I took a seat at the bar with HitThatDive logo designer Nate Voss and we both asked the same question at the same time "Is the bar really tall, or are the seats really short?" Either way, it feels like your first time eating at the "adult" table for Thanksgiving after spending your entire life eating at the "kiddie" table. Behind the bar, Stoli's Lounge is very well-stocked and very, very orderly…nice work. Looking around they have about 10 beers on tap, just about any kind of vodka you can name, and they have the always dangerous machine that serves chilled shots of Jager.
The Crowd: For a mid-week Happy Hour crowd, the bar was pretty packed. Most of the people seemed like regulars, but, everyone was very friendly and willing to jump into any conversation that I was having. It was for the most part, a late 20's early 30's crowd, mixed in with a few other people that clearly headed straight from the office to bar. The conversation of choice, at least this night, was clearly quotable movie lines. One of the friendly regulars also told me that thebartender pours with a "nice, heavy hand." Are there any better words to hear about your bartender than that?
Service: In a word…great. The bartender (who was hilarious by the way) never let our beer get cold, could quote lines from any movie mentioned (I'll have a diablo sandwich…), and generally seemed like a funny guy. It's been all too rare lately where I walk into a bar and can shoot-the-shit with my bartender…question….isn't that part of the job? Well, maybe not, but if you're looking for a good tip (or review for that matter) it should be part of the regular job description. In any case, the bartender at Stoli's Lounge knows what he's doing, and even has time to update his Facebook status without missing a beat!
Prices: Come for the service, but stay for the prices! Like I said, there are signs for specials all over the place. I was there on Wednesday so it was $1 drafts and $3 Jager bombs. But, pretty much any weeknight there are killer drinks specials: $2.25 domestic bottles on Monday, $6 pitchers on Tuesday, $3 Captain Morgan's on Thursday (plus Karaoke)…you get the picture.
Food: Come here thirsty, but not hungry. No food. Not even sure that I saw potato chips.
Entertainment: A few TVs throughout the bar (tuned to Top Gun when I was there), a separate room with pool tables (free pool on Monday night by the way), a pretty cool-looking boxing machine, and a juke box. Not sure how good the sound system is because Top Gun was on, and with the crowd that was at the bar…we all knew every line of the movie. "Iceman: You two really are cowboys. Maverick: What's your problem, Kazanski? Iceman: You're everyone's problem. That's because every time you go up in the air, you're unsafe. I don't like you because you're dangerous. Maverick: That's right! Ice... man. (Come on, you know the rest….someone fill in the blank.)"
Restrooms: Big. Clean. Nothing great, but nothing that should be avoided either. And again, why don't more bars do this…they had signs for drink specials all over the walls. I mean, why not give your customers something to read while they're in there and also promote your bar?
Bartender Chat: You name the topic (pop culture-wise) and we covered it. Lines from Predator…check. Lines from Smokey and Bandit…check. Latest in sports news…check. A discussion on the Top Gun volleyball scene….check. Did we delve deep into our thoughts on how to achieve world peace? NO! We were in a bar…this is a place for meaningless banter! And, that was never at a loss the entire time I was here.
How Far Did My $20 Go: It was $1 draft day…even with two of us drinking from my 20 bucks we dinged up a grand total of $8. Most of the really good specials seem to be Monday-Friday, so read the wall when you get here and you can tie on a pretty nice buzz and still have some cash for Taco Bell on the way home.
Final Impressions: This is a great bar. Good crowd of regulars, great bartender, cheap specials…not sure what else you could want in a place? It's in a bit of an odd location, but other than that, next time you're leaving Costco in West Omaha you should most definitely Hit This Dive!