Monday, March 28, 2011
Homy Inn, Omaha -- REVIEW
Omaha, NE 68104-5065
Let’s get right to it, shall we? The Homy Inn is the most well-known “dive” bar in Omaha. Hell, I even read an article about the place before I moved to the area a few years ago. And let’s say after reading about the “warm peanuts in dog bowls” and “champagne on tap” (really the French keg-up their stuff…or is this not actually champagne?) that it didn’t seem like the kind of place I would like. So, I walked in with a bit of preconceived opinion of this bar before long before I ever set foot on the “hallowed ground” of Saddle Creek Road. My biggest concern was that the “Homy” would be populated with douchey former record store-looking clerks and urban nerds named “Biff”. Let’s say it did not disappoint.
First Impressions: Hey, what do you know, there’s a bunch of suburban hipsters getting their “smoke on” out front. What a shock. As Mrs. HitThatDive and I were walking past said hipsters (and having a meaningless conversation), their leader felt the need to mockingly repeat my wife’s response of “Really?” to a brilliant statement I had just uttered. Had it not been date night, it very well could have been fight night. This is going well so far, don’t you think?
The Bar: The Homy looks like you’re walking into the local Cracker Barrel for some chicken fried steak. 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. The room itself is pretty small with tables that are right on top of each other and a small bar that can seat roughly 8-10 people. They even have a decent amount of Scotch. How do I know? Some guy next to me inquired about their selection of “Single Malt”…not a divey thing to ask. Sorry.
The Crowd: I’ve been told through Facebook that it is usually a great crowd here, but I can only go with what I saw the night I was there. A few things first, all men MUST be in some type of ski hat, have a beard, and (if possible) have a scarf tied at a jaunty angle around their neck. Per capita, there were more stupid-looking hats in this place (including a beret or two) that I have ever seen…and that includes Vail. I will write this verbatim from my notes that night, “This is where hipster wannabe tough guys come to not get their asses kicked in real dive bar”. Of note, there was a woman in her 70s there as well.
Service: If you’re looking for a reason to come to the Homy, it is the service. The bartender was an oasis of awesome in a desert of loud pretentious-alcohol consuming Hot Topic rejects. Quick with the drinks, great to talk to and all with the perfect F*** you type of demeanor. It was in interesting dynamic, everything I hate about bars sitting all around me, and everything that makes a bar great serving me drinks.
Prices: This place is a cash machine for the owners. I was paying $4.50 a pint and did see a sign for a seasonal Blue Moon pint for $3.25. Want a pitcher of “champagne” (how do you order that without giggling?)? That will set you back $18.95. Want some popcorn or peanuts? Yeah, those have a price too. Popcorn is only $.25 so why bother with the annoyance of charging people? In defense of the Homy Inn’s prices, if you can pack a bar every night even as you make people pay through the nose…more power to you.
Food: Sorry for being so lazy on this one, but I think you can order stuff from across the street. Not sure, and actually, I didn’t really care to ask.
Entertainment: There’s a jukebox (not on all that loudly), a game of Golden Tee and Buck Hunter Safari…that’s about it. When the jukebox isn’t on they were playing some Adult Rock station on XM that had on songs from the Goo Goo Dolls. Isn’t this supposed to be Ground Zero for the Omaha music scene? The real entertainment in this bar though, is looking around at all the dudes in hats trying to look like Connor Oberst. It’s just like the scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High “Linda, that girl looks just like Pat Benatar!" "I know. Wait. There are three girls at Ridgemont...who have cultivated the Pat Benatar look." Just replace “Benatar” with “Oberst” and “Ridgemont” with “Homy”.
Restrooms: Small. Cramped. Do your thing and get out.
Bartender Chat: Even the bartender admitted that this seemed like it was going to be an especially long and weird night for her too. There were just dude after dude coming up to her and complaining about everything from the volume of the jukebox to the scotch burning someone’s tongue too much. I’ll assume from her comments that this may not have been the Homy Inn at its best.
How Far Did My $20 Go: Four pints of Newcastle. Or I could have had one pitcher of “champagne”…something I will never order in a million years.
Final Thoughts: As I was leaving, some dude ordered a honey/raspberry beer. Just stop it already! This is supposed to be a “dive”…can someone order a shot of Crown…please? 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.