Saturday, December 31, 2011

Joe's Duck Inn, Omaha -- REVIEW

Let's duck in...shall we?
13336 Millard Ave
Omaha, NE 68137
(402) 895-9987

Talk about a bar that I’ve said “I need to stop in there soon” about a 1,000 times, it’s this one. But, I may still have never stepped into Joe’s Duck Inn, if it wasn’t for the fact that the “New” Addy’s made it impossible to find parking, and once I did, there was no where to sit at the bar. Note to self, a review of the new Addy’s “Ultra Longue” needs to happen sooner than later…it is nothing like the old place. Not to be deterred, since I was finally able to escape the family for a few hours over the holidays, I got back in the HitThatDive mobile and made a b-line to Joe’s Duck Inn.

Pros: Great service, laid back atmosphere, made to feel like a regular immediately.
Cons: A few douchy looking regulars stopped in for a bit.

First Impressions: This is not what I expected at all. It’s big, clean and looks like the kind of place I would come to on a regular basis. Not sure why I assumed this was going to be a real dump on the inside, but it has a cool 1980ish bar/lounge vibe going on. So far…good stuff.

Drinking money
The Bar: It says behind the bar that Joe’s (that’s how they answer the phone) was established in 1983…and my guess is it’s not changed much in the last three decades. It’s a relatively dark place, with light wood paneling all over the walls and the front of the bar. I counted roughly 10 stools at the bar (with plenty of room between each one) and 10 table and booths in the main bar area. There also is a second room with pool tables, shuffleboard, a pinball machine and an honest-to-goodness phone booth. This is the kind of bar you can hang out in for hours.

The Crowd: When I got there at roughly 6:00 on a Friday night it was just me and older couple playing cards. Well, I thought they were playing cards from the noise but as it turned out, the old lady was addicted to playing strip tickets and the noise I heard was her ripping them open over and over (when she wasn't slugging Busch Light out of the bottle). Later in the night a well-dressed blond walked in and was met by her douche of a date. A few “gansta” wannabes stopped in looking for a buddy, and a party of hard-drinking United Rentals guys were on the way…so let’s assume you can expect a mixed bag here.

Festive time of year
Service: One woman working behind the bar who made me feel like a regular long before I ever took a seat. My beer was never empty, my mug was ALWAYS filled to the top and the mixed drinks she was pouring looked to be good and strong. This is how to be a bartender folks…it’s really not all that difficult. Well, I take that back, it must be difficult…most bartenders seem to spend more time sending texts than waiting on customers these days.

Price: I was drinking beer from a good old-fashioned beer mug that was setting me back $1.75. I did read somewhere that their “mini-pitchers” are a good deal as well…so keep that in mind. I think I hear heard that a Jack and Coke was $4.50…and keep in mind…the drink looked to be JACK and coke. So, good enough prices for me. I didn’t see a single sign for happy hour specials, so I can’t be a big help on that one.

Food: Assorted chips behind the bar and a few gumball machines near the old school phone booth that sell peanuts and other assorted nuts.

Rack 'em!
Entertainment: There is a good variety of things to do if you’re the type that can’t sit down including the aforementioned pool tables, shuffleboard, pinball and a dart board. Also, they have the NFL Sunday Ticket and four HD TV’s to watch the games on. I think I saw a jukebox there as well but the only sound the night I was there came from one of the awful college bowl games of the season.

Restroom: Small but clean. I always seem to get a laugh out of public restrooms that just have your regular old toilet just sitting there. On the upside, they’re not a long walk from your barstool.

Bartender Chat: Like a great bartender should do, we talked about a little bit of everything but didn’t really talk about anything at all. The world is running thin on hardworking bartenders who know how to make small talk without dumping all their baggage on their customers.

One at a time
How Far Did My $20 Go: Not bad actually, twenty bucks will get you 10 mugs of beer in a Cheers-looking beer mug…minus all the foam that Sam Malone used to pour for you. Again, that’s how far MY $20 got me, but I’m not sure of what the happy hour prices are so can one of the Joe’s regulars give me a hint about the other prices?

Final Impressions: There’s no doubt that this is a good place to hang out for the night with a group or friends and be made to feel like a regular from the minute you walk in the door. I really have no complaints about this bar at all, but I just feel like it was missing something (but I have no idea what) the night I was there. Maybe a few more people when I was there would make the place seem even better? Not sure…in any case if you get the chance HIT THIS DIVE!


Dive-O-Meter
7



Cheers to a "Cheers" beer mug.

Joe's Duck Inn on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 30, 2011

Joe's Duck Inn, Omaha -- PREVIEW

13336 Millard Ave
Omaha, NE 68137
(402) 895-9987

Man, it seems like months since I've done an actual bar review.  Oh wait, to be specific, it's been FOUR months.  Jeez...I'm even lazier than I give myself credit for sometimes.  As they say, hard work pays off some day...but laziness pays off right now!  Lazy or not...Joe's Duck Inn turned out to be a great way to break my hibernation.  Details tomorrow (most likely).

A real beer mug!  How can you go wrong?

The Loose Moose -- Omaha Wing Challenge

Willing to give it a try
4915 N. 120th St.
Omaha, NE, 68164
402-933- 2040

My continued quest to find Omaha’s best wings next took me to a place I had never set foot in before…The Loose Moose. Why this place? Well, I got stuck having to drive a few kids to the local ice rink and I got hungry (sometimes the backstory isn’t all that interesting). I’ve never heard anything thing bad about this bar, on the other hand, I’ve really never heard ANYTHING about this place. But, they do have wings on the menu…so what the hell.

For those keeping score at home, the best HitThatDive wing score is a total of 50 points based on scores from five separate categories. So far, after two stops, our score to beat is 47 from Oscar’s.

First Impression: Well, they must be good. The menu clearly states “Loose Moose’s Awesome Wings!” Apparently the folks that run this place seem to thing their wings are good, but I have my doubts. Why? Well the extremely nice waitress asked me if I wanted the sauce on the side. Ummmmmm…no. No I don’t.

Hey, not too shabby
After a relatively short wait, an order of steaming hot wings showed up at the table. They looked good…they smelled good…wonder if they taste good. Why am I so surprised?

Score: 8

Sauce: You can order with either “Hot” sauce (which was a Buffalo-like sauce) or BBQ (who does that). It wasn’t the greatest sauce I ever had, but nothing to really complain about either. If nothing else, the wings were good and coated in the decent-enough hot sauce. For those that fear the word “Hot” when it comes to sauce, safe to say the more accurate term would be a "hint of spicy". But like I said, it wasn’t too bad.

Score: 7

Crispy: Close…oh so close…to being fried just right. Next time, just count to an extra 60 seconds before pulling these bad boys out of the basket…and they would have been perfect. As they were, they were nowhere close to being under cooked, so not a whole lot to complain about so far. In fact, the wings here have been a bit of a surprise.

Score: 7

Cook just 60 seconds longer
Size: There are those that might consider these wings too small, but that is not a complaint you’ll find from me. What I liked most about Loose Moose wings is that they were all a uniform size, which makes them easier to cook. Yeah, I know, I just said they good have cooked just a tab bit longer, but so far that’s really been my only complaint.

Score: 9

Extras: Hey, lookie here, celery AND carrots. Damn, there’s so much of each it looks my plate could have kept a rabbit happy for days. A nice big side of blue cheese was on the plate too…but wait…no extra plate for the bones? Really, I’m going to get this picky? Oh, I’m in a good mood today, so I’ll forget that it wasn’t there. The fantastic waitress even went out of her way to get me extra napkins, apparently she got a good look at what a pig I am when I eat.

Score: 9

Walking in the door and expecting to be completely underwhelmed, the Loose Moose wings were actually a pleasant surprise. Are they “I have to drive across town just to have these wings good”? No . But they are very good wings that if you ever find yourself in this part of Omaha and are in the mood for solid wings at a good price…you will not be disappointed.

Final Score: 40 out of 50

If you're ever in the area, stop by for wings


 Loose Moose Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oscar's -- Omaha Wing Challenge

Start with "Char-Buffed"
17330 Lakeside Hills Plaza
Omaha, NE 68130
(402) 758-1910

Restuarant 2

My quest to find Omaha’s best wings next took me to West Omaha’s noted spot for wings…Oscar’s. Now, over the years, I’ve consumed countless dozens of wings here (and even more pints of beer than that) so I’m no Oscar's rookie. Actually, the first time I had wings at here, I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan. But, that was seven years ago, and for the life of me I can’t remember why I didn’t like them the first time? Anyway…let’s get down to the business at hand…

For those keeping score at home, the best HitThatDive wing score is a total of 50 points based on scores from five separate categories. But, enough of me babbling…let’s eat some wings.

First Impression: It starts with the menu…there are several sauces that you can choose from. Here’s what I would do if I were you, order them “Char-buffed” and then have them “double-dipped” in the Buffalo sauce…or do whatever you want…it’s your money after all.

Have them "Double-Dipped"
The first thing I noticed, because usually I’m here with a buzz and not really taking notes on about my food, are that these wings smell JUST like the wings we would make at tailgate parties in Pittsburgh. And why is that a good thing you ask? Good question! It’s because the char-buffing (is that a word?) makes them smell like they are hot off an outdoor charcoal grill. That being said, for the wing “purists” in the crowd, they are not quite classic Buffalo wings. But who gives two-shits, they are making my mouth water.

Score: 9

Sauce: Again, not a classic Buffalo-style sauce, but it has a great taste and has a bit of zip to it…without being too spicy for the wimps in the crowd. Now, some Oscar’s regulars will tell you it’s a sin to ruin a char-buffed wing with extra sauce…but their sauce mixed with the grilled flavor is a great combination in my book.

Score: 9

Crispy: Here’s where ordering you wings char-buffed really pays off…Oscar’s has perfected the art of making wings crispy without over-cooking them to small pieces of charcoal. In the past I’ve been here with people that order them “char-buffed AND extra crispy”…like I said earlier…there’s a lot of ways to order your wings here so it’s always a good idea to experiment with several different combinations.

Score: 10

Perfect Size
Size: Perfect! I don’t understand people who want those huge mutant-looking wings…like they have a Tanner’s. Oscar’s wings are of a normal size for a chicken…meaning the wings don’t look like they spent some time with Barry Bonds at the BALCO labs. Having normal-sized wings ensures that they are all cooking at the same rate and guarantees that you don’t bite in to an ALMOST fully cooked wing. And wings of this size, when cooked properly, make it easy to “Fred Flintstone” them, meaning you can just put a full wing in your mouth and then slide out nothing but a bone (yes, please make some sort of oral sex reference here…I know I would have).

Score: 10

Extras: Celery, plenty of napkins and several extra plates. Throw in a few wetnaps and two sides of blue cheese and Oscar’s seems to have everything covered. One sort of nitpicky thing, the blue cheese and the ranch pretty much taste the same to me. Good blue cheese is almost impossible to find anywhere these days so maybe I should just start bringing my own.

Score: 9

Oscar’s has some of the best wings, in my opinion, in Omaha. Again, they are not “classic” Buffalo wings…but who cares? They are great wings and they are consistently great. Keep in mind that this is one of the best-run restaurants in town, it’s always crowded and you can bring your family here or show up with your drinking buddies and get hammered while watching sports all day long. Great wings and a get sports bar…this will be a hard place to beat.

Final Score: 47 out of 50.



47 out of 50.  That's hard to beat!

 Oscar's Pizza & Sports Grill on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 23, 2011

Martini's Bar, Bedford Falls -- PREVIEW

This time last year I somehow found myself in the awesome party town of Pottersville throwing down a few shots at a great place called Nick's.  So I was more than psyched to be in pretty much the same part of the country, at the same time of the year, to tie-one-on with some of the locals.  However, as much as Martini's reminded me EXACTLY of Nick's on the outside, that is exactly how much it sucked on the inside.  Details tomorrow...

Not nearly as fun as I had hoped.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hit That Dive -- Fine Dining?

Thanks to folks at OmahaFineDining.com for adding HitThatDive to their list of Omaha restaurant reviews.  Dive bars and fine dining?  See, I told you wings were more than just an appetizer!

My idea of fine dining...nachos
at a Storm Chasers game.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tanner's -- Omaha Wing Challenge

Let's eat!
15505 Ruggles St # 106
Omaha, NE
(402) 884-5100


My quest to find Omaha’s best wings first took me to a place called Tanner’s.  Why this place?  A former drinking buddy used to swear by the wings here, but I had never walked through the doors of this bar until tonight.  At some point, I guess I will do a bar review here too, but for the purposes of the Omaha Wing Challenge…I will review only the matter at hand.  WINGS.

For those keeping score at home, the best HitThatDive wing score is a total of 50 points based on scores from five separate categories.  But, enough of me babbling…let’s eat some wings!

First Impression:  A plate of 12 piping hot wings showed up at my table, I could smell authentic Buffalo sauce in the air and they had the orange-ish tint every good wing should have.  They seemed well-coated in the great smelling sauce, but not swimming in it.  So far…A-OK. 

Score: 10

So far...so good!
Sauce:  Good….make that very good authentic Buffalo-style sauce.  Spicy, but not too hot.  If you're a fan of real Buffalo wings, this sauce is exactly what you are looking for. Is it East Coast great? No.  But this is Nebraska and not Rochester, New York.  It’s as good as you will find in a 500 mile radius. 

Score: 9

Crispy:  Our first problem.  The smaller wings were just barely crispy enough.  However, some of the larger “drummie” pieces were not quite cooked enough…let alone crispy.  Up until this point, everything was as good as I could have hoped, so I was a bit bummed that as soon of as these bad boys cooled off a bit they became more than a bit soggy.  It’s chicken…it’s hard to overcook…leave it in the fryer just a bit longer.

Score: 6


Mutant wing
Size:  To me, here is the real problem. Half of the wings were the right size, meaty but not too huge.  But, at least five of the “drummies” were HUGE…like HGH-induced bionic chicken wings.  And when you fry smaller pieces with those mutant wings, the problem is that the smaller wings are cooked just fine...but the larger ones usually have some sort of vein that is bound to snap back and smack you in the forehead just as you take a bite.  A more uniformed size would do the wings at Tanner’s many favors.

Score: 4

Extras:  No celery…are you shitting me??  Look if I order spaghetti and meatballs, I already assume that you’re going to give me sauce with my order.  Celery and wings is like peanut butter and jelly for crying outloud!  No celery with wings is inexcusable!  The blue cheese was OK, but had a hint of diet after taste.  Are you giving me low-fat blue cheese as I eat one of the most fat-laden meals in the free world?  Come on…just give me all the calories I want…I can take it!  On the upside, there were more than enough napkins on the table and two extra plates for all the bones.  Oh, and for the first time in my life, an order of wings showed up with it’s own steak knife. Odd.  This number would be higher, but you easily lose five points for the lack of celery.  What are you thinking Tanner’s???

The right size
Score: 5

These could be some of the best, if not THE best wings in town.  But a few oversights on seemingly easy steps to making great wings has helped to make this score far lower than it should be.  Make no mistake, these were good wings…a few minor fixes and they would have been great wings.

Side Note:  All of my beers were flat.  Fix that before I show up for my bar review, would ya’?

Final Score: 34 out of 50.

Good..could have been better.
Tanners Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hit That Halloween Party

Just in time for a night men vomiting from too many spider-shaped Jell-O shots and women dressed as everything from slutty Red Riding Hood to slutty Frankenstein...here is the HitThatDive "What the hell am I?" voting card. 

If you're like me, you just throw on a bunch of stuff from a box in the attic and call it  a costume...even though you have no idea what the hell you are.  If you find yourself in this same boat, just print a bunch of these handy dandy cards, and let everyone else vote for what the hell they think you are dressed as this year.  Be safe out there this weekend kids!

 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Homy Inn, Omaha -- RETORT

Let's revisit a trip to the Homy...shall we?
Yesterday I received a comment regarding my review of Omaha’s Homy Inn. And, according to the writer named “not sure you are cool” I totally, completely and utterly missed the mark in my review of the place. So, for the sake of n.s.y.a.c., I am going to address each of his (or hers…but I’m assuming it’s a dude) comments to clarify aspects of my review that may have not been as clear as I had assumed.

n.s.y.a.c.’s Point Number One: “I guess I don't know who you are trying to target as an audience, but if it's people who love classic bars with great character and lack pretention(SIC), I think you totally missed the mark on your review.”

HitThatDive Says: Who’s the audience? That’s an easy one…it’s spelled out right on the site. “I risk life, limb (and liver) to review all the dives and gin joints you always wanted to stop at but were too afraid to belly up to the bar.” See, the problem is the definition of a “dive” bar. For people that go to a real dive like Sneaky Pete’s in South O, the Homy would be WAY upscale. And for those that like to hang out at a place like Crave in Midtown Crossing, the Homy may be a place they would never have nerve to walk into. Let’s just say I attempt to appeal to a fairly wide audience.

Order single malt scotch = pretentious
And “lack of pretention”? Sorry, but freshly scrubbed gentlemen in fluffy sweaters contemplating which type of scotch to quaff for the evening IS pretentious…not going to budge on that one.

n.s.y.a.c’s Point Number Two: “By this standard, the Homey (SIC) is one of the best - not just in Omaha, but one of best I have ever been to. It is pretty much a neighborhood place, so I think you are off the mark on it being consumed by "suburban hipsters wannabes" whatever that means. I guess I missed the whole hat and scarf thing - never noticed it anyway.”

HitThatDive Says: A picture from SuburbanHipster.com pretty much sums up every person I saw in the Homy the night I was there. How many of these fine young folks looks familiar to you?

n.s.y.a.c’s Point Number Three: “You downplayed the broad selection of beers and full bar, and you blew it on the food part- Sgt Peffers Italian is across the street and delivers quick and hot some the best pizza in town. The only issue there is make sure you have Peffs bring you plates, silverware and napkins.”

Just a "dive bar" kind of guy.
HitThatDive Says: I’ll quote directly from my review for part of this, “I’ll give credit where it’s due, they have cool shit EVERYWHERE and a great beer selection of nearly 30 beers on tap and more than 50 types of bottled beer.” Not sure I call that downplaying anything?

Sgt Peffers Italian is across the street and delivers quick and hot some the best pizza in town," stated n.a.y.a.c. Yes and so does Pappa John’s, Domino’s, Jimmy John’s and just about any Chinese restaurant in the area. Your argument is that the Homy has great food because you can order it from somewhere else? By that rationale, every bar has great food. That was being a bit nitpicky on my part…oh well.

n.s.y.a.c’s Point Number Four: “Also, the jukebox is internet connected which is great and they usually turn it up loud enough to enjoy your selections.”

HitThatDive Says: Internet jukeboxes are the work of pure evil! Why give someone the chance to play 10 songs in a row from High School Musical and therefore kill any sort of cool vibe at all? Places like Brother’s in Omaha or the always AWESOME Double Down in Vegas have jukeboxes that only play music their regulars want to hear…without ever the threat of hearing Barry Manilow!

n.s.y.a.c.’s Point Number Five: "The bar not only has a great collection of nostalgic everything beer and bourbon, for those who love that by gone era, but the displays themselves have been there so long they themselves are authentic nostalgia."

HitThatDive Says: See above where I quote from my review that there is “cool shit EVERYWHERE”. For those that are not regular readers of this site, this is indeed a compliment.

n.s.y.a.c’s Point Number Six: "Finally, it is a great intimate place to watch sports as well. I have been going there for 25 years and the place is basically unchanged."

HitThatDive Says: Awesome.

n.s.y.a.c’s Parting Shot: “Anyway, for those of your audience who prefer the danger of authentic tough guys and attention seeking drunks, this is probably not the bar for them.”

HitThatDive Retorts: I stand by my final thoughts from the original review. “Because a bar is in an old building with stuff all over the wall, does not make it a dive. It is a funky, eclectic, well-run establishment that attracts the type of crowd I like to avoid. But, this just attracts too much of the Ubran Outfitters-type (with matching snooty drink orders) to be a legitimate dive. That said, it is an Omaha institution, that you should visit if only once in your life.”

Still curious about places that I really consider to be classic bars with great character and lack of pretension? Read on n.s.y.a.c…read on. HitThatDive certified classic American dive bars.


This very well may have been from a casting call at the Homy Inn.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fox and Hound, Omaha (West) -- RANT/REVIEW

Your waitress will be with you...NEVER!
17602 Wright Street
Omaha, NE
(402) 334-3133

Football fans...if you want to sit in a completely empty bar and not be waited on while you watch your favorite teams. Have I got the place for you!!!

Beer and Pittsburgh Steelers football at a "sports" bar, what can go wrong?  Well, actually there is one thing that did go wrong, after nearly an hour of sitting at a table (the only sound for the game was not on in the bar area, or I naturally would have been there) the "waitress" (and I use that term loosely) never even acknowledged that I was sitting in her area...maybe waiting tables ain't your bag, babe. 

Oh sure, she waited on the other four people that were sitting in a room that was big enough to hold at least a 100 people. And, I was even seated at a table directly next to them.  She had to have known I was there because she even bumped into me as she brought them a few drinks, AND she had time to sweep the area around where I was sitting.  The one and only beer I had for 30 minutes of football (a new record low...for me by the way) was the one that I ended up walking to the completely empty bar and getting myself...naturally I gave myself a great tip (plant your corn in May).

There she is not waiting on me!
On my way out the door at halftime, I saw a person that I assumed was a manager.  I let her know, in a nice way (keep in mind that I wasn't even remotely close to a buzz) that after an hour of sitting in her restaurant...I was still waiting for service.  It's at this point where a good manager would have found a way to slide me a $25 gift card...or at least a free beer.  Safe to say I got neither. 

Could I have done something to get her attention, I guess so?  But I have one pretty standard rule...it's not my job to inform you that I want a drink (or food) when I am sitting at a table in your restaurant...that's what you get paid for.  Don't take a job as a waitress if you don't want to wait on people.  Good lord...the word WAIT is even in your job title!  Let's just say I do not recommend this faux-themed English Pub/"sports" bar even if it were the last place on Earth!  OK...now I'm stretching it a bit...but I won't be back either. 


DIVE-O-METER
Not enough to give them a number...so they get the first-ever giant F.U.

Hey Fox and Hound...F.U.!!

Fox and Hound Pub & Grille on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hitting That Dive with -- Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth

Food was a must!
It can be a surreal life indeed.  I was not in the best of moods because I had to spend a few nights in Columbus, Ohio for the second time in a few weeks.  As I get on the elevator in my hotel du jour, I look up and swear to God that the dude getting on with me is Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth

Just to make small talk I ask "Where's your gig tonight?"  As it turns out, it IS Steve Harwell and he already played a gig at Ohio State University.   Oddly enough he and he and tour manager Scotty Haulter had a question for me, "where is there a good place to eat and have 'several" drinks'.  That's easy...The Jury Room!  In one of the coolest moves ever, Steve said "meet us in the lobby in  five minutes."

I assumed they were just joking, 'casue I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed, but sure enough they were down there before I was.  After getting to the The Jury Room (A place that I have to review one of these days because it's awesome) we spent the next few hours doing the following things (this list is in no particular order).

    Guess the NON rock star
  • Drank the bar out of top shelf tequila
  • Offended a bartender
  • Ate like kings
  • Talked (in depth) about sports and music
  • Drank some more
  • Rated women
  • Did not use our finger or thumb in the shape of an L on any one's forehead
  • Offended several patrons (that one I can't prove...but I know it happened)
  • Did I say drink yet?
  • And best of all, did not need to use the two bail bond offices that are next to the bar!
That was a long way to go to simply say it was a great HitThatDive night.  Thanks to Steve and Scotty for letting me hang out for the evening...they are two of the coolest guys I have ever thrown back a bunch of shots with! 

Thanks Steve and Scotty...it was fun!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hitting That Dive with -- Keith Stone

This just in from HitThatDive collaborators/enablers Bobby and Cindy LaVella.  Apparently they spent a fun-filled night pounding drinks with no other than Keystone Light's "Keith Stone"...in the Keystone State no less! 

One warning for "Mr. Stone"... I've seen Bobby LaVella kill an entire bottle of Jack on Christmas night...without flinching.  Make sure you brought your "A Game" Keith. 

For those that don't know Bobby and Cindy, they are part of the hottest all female Pittsburgh sports site on the planet, The Black N Gold Girls!  Don't take my word for it...41,000 female Pittsburgh sports fans can't be wrong.  Thanks guys...now go drink Kieth Stone under the table!

Look  out "Keith Stone" a Black N Gold Girl can drink your ass under the table!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers Bars, Omaha -- HERE WE GO!

Buy that man an Iron City!

For nearly a decade, I paid a ton of money to DirecTV so I never had to miss a Steelers game.  But last year I thought to myself, why I am giving my hard-earned drinking money to that idiot Roger Goodell and the NFL for the "privilege" of watching football...when I could find a bar and put my money back into the local economy? Plus, I was looking for a reason to go bar hopping at noon on Sundays. 

So far, these are the best bars I've found around Omaha to watch games with other fans of the Black and Gold.  Keep in mind that the bars on this list are actual "Steelers Bars" and not just a sports bar with annoying fans of other NFL teams watching a bunch of games at the same time.

Are there any bars in the Omaha-area I missing...let me know.  I'd love to check those out too!

Dog House Saloon -- This place has everything you need including a great deck, great staff, fun owners, friendly people, reasonable drink prices…I could go on and on.  Owners Dog and Jodi always have a good time planned for Steelers games. Hell, they have a good time planned for every day of the week!

E'Z Place -- This place is run by a big time Pittsburgh fan. The tidy bar seats about 12 people and there are 15 table in a restaurant area to the right side of the bar. And, true to their word, there is a good amount of Steelers things on the wall, including the mandatory "You're in Steelers Country" banner behind the jukebox. Nice!

Moments after Troy Polamalu picked off Joe Flacco to seal the 2009 AFC Championship Game

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Addy's Bar, Omaha -- MOVING

I stopped by Addy's last night and was surprised to see that they are moving to a different location in November.  For those that don't remember...Addy's is one of my favorites for many reasons (but most notably) beer in  "fishbowls", killer wings and it's a Pittsburgh Steelers bar.

Best of luck to Tim and  the great staff of Addy's, I will miss the old location but can't wait to check out the new digs in November!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Cove, Omaha -- PREVIEW

Just got back from "The Cove" with HitThatDive security guard GL.  Was it good? Did it suck? Details tomorrow...but I can say this much...it reminded me of this song...for better or for worse.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The OBar, Omaha -- REVIEW

I'm in the right place
2640 Bob Boozer Drive
Omaha NE, 68130


For those that don't remember, this location at one time was the Coast Saloon. Then it became the awesome Zogs, and now it's the OBar. And, no matter what it's called, it's still next door to a pre-school. If you never had the chance to stop by Zogs…you missed out. Because the OBar ain't no Zogs (Editors Noe: I never use the word "Ain't but it just seemed to make my point more clearly in this instance).


PROS: Big happy hour beers for $2

CONS: Indifferent Service, Smells Moldy, No Atmosphere Whatsoever, It's Not Zogs

First Impressions: The first thing you notice when you walk in is the smell of mold. OK…maybe not mold per se…but it's pretty damn musty smelling. In fact, that was exactly what I wrote as well for my first impressions of Zogs…and that unfortunately is where the comparisons between the two places end. My mere presence added 20% more customers to the bar (who can do that math?)…so let's say finding a seat was not really all that difficult.

Boring
The Bar: It's a bigger place than you would think…but unlike Zogs…it has no personality at all. Nothing on the walls, no neon, nothing promoting their happy hour prices (check that, they had two meager signs in the back of the bar). There are six beers on tap and roughly 25 other bottled beers. The one thing you will notice here is just how barebones the OBar is. The entire bar, including the service, is just there...no more no less. The only difference between drinking in someone's musty basement in Pittsburgh and drinking here is that I had better service in a musty basement in Pittsburgh! (But let's not jump the gun on the "Service" review section just yet)

The Crowd: Two old women drinking beer that left in a Cadillac and two dudes playing Golden Tee. For my own amusement, I was going to pay one of the nerds playing Golden Tee to hit on one of the old broads because I was that bored. Quickly realizing that was a waste of good drinking money, I silently went back to sitting and starring at the back wall.

More boring
Service: Rimshot please. In his defense, the bartender seemed like a fine enough schlep. But here's the problem, even in an empty bar, he seemed pained to want to pour me another beer. This dude was avoiding human contact more than Liberace trying to return a punt against the 1972 Oakland Raiders. Here's a tip…if you don't want to pour beer for people…don't be a bartender! Another beef…bartenders put down your cell phones…are your jackass buddies going to somehow give you a tip over the phone? NO! Wait on the damn customers. To sum up this chap appropriately, as I walked to the front door to leave, he offered me these final words of wisdom…(cricket, cricket) not even a thanks for stopping by!

Price: I can tell you this, a pretty big-ass domestic beer at happy hour was two bucks…that's nothing to sneeze at. That is the best deal they have by far. The other happy hour prices are $2.50 for domestic bottles and a whopping .50 cents off everything else…straight out of the Rusty Nail's playbook of how to have a shitty happy hour. What I'm trying to say is stick with the happy hour beers. Happy hour is 3-7 Monday-Friday. 11-5 on Saturday and all day on Sunday.

Even more boring
Food: None that I saw, and nothing I could smell through the musty OBar aroma.

Entertainment: Ummm…watching paint dry? In defense of the OBar, they do have six TVs, two pool tables, some dart boards, Golden Tee, a South Park pinball machine and drumroll please…a Skee-Ball machine. They also have Big Red Keno and a stage in the back of the room. Not sure what kind of entertainment they have on the stage at this bar, as dull as it is, my guess is they have a "mime night" at some point during the week.

Restrooms: Labeled as "OBoy" and "OLady" they were not that bad. Clean, and oddly enough, smell way better than the rest of the place. In fact, they smell just like Clean Linen Lysol. But unlike Zogs, they had no signs reminding you of the great happy hour drink prices. Oh, maybe that's because they don't really have a great happy hour.

Bartender Chat: I have a job to do, so after I made my attempt to shoot-the-shit with the bartender doing his best Harpo Marx imitation. As Harpo painfully handed me my next beer I said "Thanks!" as a precursor to attempting to engage the dude in conversation. His response to my jovial thank you was a quick "yep" and away he was gone to avoid more customers.

Smells fresh!
How Far Did My $20 Go: Can't bitch too much here, at happy hour you can get yourself 10--20ish ounce domestic draft beers. Of course, by the end of beer three I was ready to fall asleep on the floor, so the right call here is to go with eight beers and save $4 for two cans of Red Bull from the local Kum & Go that you will need to keep your eyes open.

Final Impressions: To compare the OBar to the old Zogs is like saying "Why can't you be like your older brother?" Put some shit on the walls, play some music, force the staff to interact with the customers, and call Thrasher Basement Systems to find out why the place smells like a mold bomb…and THEN you might be onto something. Is this bar as bad as the Rusty Nail? Hell no…it has a better happy hour. But, it's not much better either. The only reason I can see to stop here is to kill time before you pick your kid up from the pre-school next door.


DIVE-O-METER
2 (Worst Score of the Year!)

Great place to take a nap

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The O Bar, Omaha -- PREVIEW

O...it smelled moldy.  O...it was empty. O...the bartender was bad.  O...oh how do I put this?  The place that once was the very awesome Zogs, is now the very nondescript O Bar. O...the review I am going to write tomorrow!

O...this place was BORING

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Fun...Same Reviews

To add an element of fun/danger...HitThatDive is now calling its shots.  Much like a drunken Babe Ruth pointing out the exact spot of his next home run (whether that's true or not) I will now give a fair warning before I show up at a local gin joint to see if they know how to get regular people hammered...at a regular price. 

So, stay on your toes Omaha bar owners, in the next 72 hours I will be taking a seat these two "fine" drinking establishments..."The O Bar" and "The Cove".  Spit shine your tap shoes, put on your big boy underpants and get ready to serve a mean drink.  Or, give me a reason to do my favorite thing in the world...making fun of a really bad dive bar!

See you this week.

Scuba Steve