Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wayside Tavern, Omaha -- REVIEW


No signs to be found
8503 Maple Street  
Omaha, NE 68134
402 391-7162 

Last weekend I was on my way to review Sullivan’s Bar (at the request of HitThatDive reader Elizabeth Sanders), but as it turns out they don’t open until 4:00 p.m., and it was only 1:30.  Not wanting to wait several hours for a beer or two, I got back into my car and started driving …and driving…and driving. I found myself heading West on Maple and could not remember the name of a bar I have passed 100 times.  Then all the sudden I saw the sign WAYSIDE…there it is!  A quick illegal U-turn later…and let’s see what this bar is all about. 

Pros:  It’s a bar, no more…no less.  30 minute conversation about boobs.
Cons: For the ladies…the old dude to female ratio was 10:1.  (That may be a “Pro” for some of you.)

Plenty of room to belly-up
First Impressions:  Geez it’s dark in here, apparently windows cost extra when this place was built several decades (or more) ago.  The bar itself was so crowded (except for a seat right next to an honest-to-goodness hobo) that I had to order a beer at the bar and sit at a table by myself…kind of a sad thing to do.  But so far, it’s way better than the two reviews on Yelp had indicated. 

The Bar:  There is lots of room and plenty of bar stools at the longer than the usual (that’s what she said) bar.  There are at least 15 tables and booths, so I assume that finding a place to sit is never really an issue.  And good…the hobo just moved…I am snagging the seat next to where he was sitting (no chance I sit on a bar stool that was still warm from that dude).  The walls consist of old-school wood paneling circa 1960ish…OK by me.  This looks to be a bar to slam cheap beer and, I'm in luck they have three beers on tap (Bud, Bud Light and Miller Lite) and a cooler that looks to have a decent variety of domestic beer as well.

No frills...solid place
The Crowd:  15 or so old “professional” drinkers and exactly one woman (not counting the bartender).  But, unlike some of the more depressing places that I’ve been where everyone just sits quietly and stares into their drink, this was an outgoing group of regulars.   And clearly they are regulars because where else you have a 30 minute conversation about the bartenders small knockers, and, instead of her slugging a few people…she joins in the conversation too. 

Service:  Small boobs or not, she was a great bartender.  Cute, always smiling, and in an odd twist…even smelled nice.  Not sure I’ve ever made that observation of a bartender before?  She was filling up my beer as fast as I could drink it, and still had time to walk outside to see if the hobo had caught the bus as he said he was going to do.  Not to point out the obvious here…but that’s where windows really come in handy. 

Price:  I was paying two bucks a pint, so assume that you can drink on the cheap here no matter what you’re ordering.  I think bottled beer was $2:50…but why pay MORE money to get LESS beer?  Oh don’t give me that draft beer gives you a headache crap…beer is beer! 

Vampires could hang out here
Food:  I had read a review that they sell pizza.  I saw a few things that looked like pizza pans in the corner of the bar.  But I did not see any menus…and more importantly…I did not smell anything that resembled the smell of mozzarella cheese at all.  The hobo kind of smelled like Limburger…but that is a smell I don’t associate with pizza places.  That’s a long way to go to say…I’m not sure. 

Entertainment:  Usual stuff consisting of a dartboard, pool table, pinball machine and a jukebox.  An extra thumbs up to Wayside for playing some good music nice and loud…but not too loud that it would blow you out of the room.

Restrooms:  Clean and old.  The men’s room sort of reminded of the bathrooms in elementary school.  If you’re looking for it, the men's room is back by the pool table. 

No issues here
Bartender Chat:  Two conversations ruled the afternoon…1. Who the hell was the hobo?  2.  The bartender’s below-average size boobage.  To her credit, she did seem legitimately concerned about the hobo (who literally had a pillowcase slung over his shoulder) and completely unconcerned about the onslaught of “itty-bitty-titty” jokes being sent her way from nearly half the old dudes at the bar.  This wasn’t exactly a Knights of the Roundtable-type of conversation…but it was amusing nonetheless. 

How Far Did my $20 Go:  Even I can do the math on this one…10 beers!  I sometimes think that $1.75 would be better…but I hate how the quarters seem to pile up in my pocket after a few rounds. 

Final Impressions:  Looking for a no-frills to have a few cheap beers, and maybe even a few cheap laughs at the bartender’s expense…this is the place for you.  Would you drive halfway across town just to get drunk here…probably not?  But if you live in the area (are aren’t already a regular) or if you find yourself on that part of Maple, I have no problems saying that you should Hit This Dive.

Dive-O-Meter
7.5
The only sign that says Wayside Tavern

Wayside Tavern on Urbanspoon

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