Sunday, January 29, 2012

Green Onion Lounge, Omaha -- REVIEW

Home of STRONG drinks
11414 Davenport St
Omaha, NE 68154
(402) 333-2236

I’ve had more than a few people email and say that I HAVE to stop by the Green Onion Lounge for the area’s strongest mixed drinks. Aside from that, I didn’t know anything else about this bar other than the address…so what the hell…I was in the mood for a good stiff drink. Green Onion Lounge…here I come.

PROS: STRONG drinks. Great loungy vibe. Fun “professional” barflies.
CONS: I could not stay longer.

First Impressions: Walk through the front door and you will immediately think one of two things…did my DeLorean reach 88 mph on my way here, or, does the Green Onion Lounge just have a Flux Capacitor built right into the front door? One step inside and I immediately thought I had stepped into a lounge in the year 1979…minus the smoke of course. Mrs. HitThatDive sent me a text message right after I took a seat at the bar asking me how the place was, my one-word note to her simply read “Awesome!!!”

Not for amateurs
The Bar: Belly up to a big sunken bar in your green lounge chair and take in the fact you are in one of the most well-preserved lounges I’ve ever seen. The bar has chairs for nearly 25 to sit comfortably and there are plenty of tables and booths to sit at if that’s more your style. A fireplace in the corner looks like it would be the perfect place for Hugh Heffner to drink a cocktail in his smoking jacket and slippers. For once I wasn’t drinking beer, but I can tell you that it is well stocked with liquor for their famous strong drinks…and the whole place is very neat and orderly.

The Crowd: Keep in mind that this is a day drunk edition so I was there on a Saturday afternoon, and other than the cute bartender, the customers were all men 50 and older who must hang out here when it’s too cold to golf. That said, the people here made for some of the most fun I’ve had as a bar in a while. Within 10 minutes the guy sitting next to me bought me a drink, 5 minutes after that, the owner got everyone there a free drink too! And, much like a lounge from the 1970’s, there is not a hint of political correctness! From reading a few Yelp reviews after I got home, it appears that this can be quite the Cougar Central as well on the weekends (for those of you that are on the prowl).

A few regulars
Service: Never even made it to my seat before I was asked what I wanted to drink. Our bartender for the afternoon was by far the youngest person in the bar (and the most attractive too) but she could pour a mean drink, trade verbal jabs with the regulars and make sure no one had a drink close to being empty…all with a smile on her face. I’m sure in a different era, she would have made a great Bunny at the Playboy Club. WOW…this place puts you in a great loungy mood…or maybe it’s the vodka and sodas starting to hit me.

Price: Well, when I wasn’t getting free drinks plopped down right in front of me, a glass of VODKA and soda was setting meback $5.50. Considering that you can pay close to that for a 12 ounce at some places, that's a fine price in my book. Tuesday is “Men’s Night” and Thursday is “Women’s Night”. I want to come back on a Wednesday because that’s “Pickle Night” where the pull tabs on a strip ticked reveal the price of your drink.

A few more regulars
Food: No food that I saw at all. But I did learn from one of my new drinking buddies that they have free food on Saturday afternoons (word on the street is that it comes out around 12:30) P.S. Eat before you get here…do not attempt the Green Onion on an empty stomach.

Entertainment: If sitting in an awesome throwback lounge isn’t enough for you, there are 4 TVs, a GREAT old school jukebox playing great bar music, and what looked to be a table top arcade game from the 80’s.

Restrooms: Bright. Clean. Some of the nicest I’ve seen in a bar in my life. This bar has everything!

Bartender Chat: I spent so much time talking to nearly everyone in the bar that I didn’t have much to talk to the bartender about. To her credit, even she got a good laugh from one of the regulars that yelled out “How much extra do I have to pay for a cold beer?” to the entire bar.

Cleanest in town!
How Far Did My $20 Go: I was on a time crunch, so I only ended up spending $11.00. But, for that low sum of drinking money, I had several strong VODKA and sodas because of all the freebies being sent my way. Even if you don’t get any drinks on the house, $20 can still buy you quite the buzz.

Final Impressions: If you love a good loungy bar, that in my guess probably has not changed a bit from the day it opened, you will LOVE this place. As I begrudgingly headed out the door while wondering why there aren’t more lounges like this in the world, I was trying to figure out how to accurately sum-up my experience here…and then as I stepped out the door and back into the year 2012…a little song started playing in my head…“Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got. Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Wouldn't you like to get away?”


DIVE-O-METER
9.5 (Nearly a perfect score!)
Lounge central

Green Onion on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Green Onion Lounge, Omaha -- PREVIEW

Day drunk at the Green Onion Lounge...one of the best ways you could possibly spend a Saturday afternoon in January.  Drinks...strong! People...friendly. Details...tomorrow. 



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Drunk of the Week! -- CONTEST

Our first-ever Drunk of the Week winner!  Wear the award proudly dude, you earned it! Have a picture of someone hammered in public...just send it to HitThatDive and maybe (just maybe) you can win your very own HitThatDive t-shirt.  Grab a shirt...don't cost nothin'...

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Hang Out Lounge, Omaha -- REVIEW

Not my best picture attempt
14901 Industrial Rd
Omaha, NE 68144
(402) 333-8185

Maybe the key to a great bar experience is not having any big expectations when you walk in the door.  Case in point would be The Hang Out Lounge in West Omaha…I’m not even sure I ever even said my famous last words about this place…”I need to stop in there some day!”  But, I was in the area (spending the afternoon smoking cigars and drinking beer in a warehouse) and wasn’t quite ready to head home yet.  Plus, I figured the more I reeked of booze, the less I would smell like a big ‘ole stogie…clearly rational thinking is not one of my strong points. 

Pros:  Great regulars.  Great service.  Great owners.  Great barbecue. 
Cons: I was a bit buzzed when I got there and had to leave sooner than I would have liked.

Clean AND friendly
First Impressions:  I had to fight my way through a crowd of middle-aged smokers to get through the front door, which was fine with me, and they look WAY more like dive bar drinkers that the douche bags at the Homy Inn.  Getting through the front door I was amazed at how big and clean this place was…yet still had a great regular bar feel to it.  So far, this is exactly the type of neighborhood watering hole that this part of Omaha is sorely lacking. 

The Bar:  It’s a nice and roomy L-shaped bar to belly-up to, and the room itself is large enough that you never feel cramped.  At my count, they had nearly 20 bottled beers and 6 beers on tap…to go along with a very well-stocked and very orderly collection of hooch.  If you like to drink at a bar where you can feel relaxed, this is the place for you.  It’s also home to Uncle Ernie’s Barbecue, so there are more than enough tables in case you’re here and want to eat some brisket. 

The Crowd:  As great as everything has been about The Hang Out so far, the people there are what really made this a great experience.  The bar attracts middle-aged “professional” drinkers who are out to meet up up with friends, catch an affordable buzz and have a good time.  It’s the kind of place where the regulars introduced themselves and joke around with you almost from the moment you sit down.  Again, there was an older crowd here (not like that even matters) and for those of you on the prowl…there were more that a few well-dressed cougars here to boot!   Good stuff!

Great regulars
Service:  Exactly what you would expect in a bar like this.  The bartender was quick with the drinks, knew every regular by name and had no problems giving any of the men shit if they tried to, as we would say in Pittsburgh, “yank her chain”.  Hell, the couple sitting next to me that I assume were the owners even bought me a beer.  Funny, but it’s just no coincidence that the best bars ALWAYS have great owners.  Thanks for making me feel welcome the entire time I was there.

Price:  I’m a little fuzzy on this one…I had four beers (I think) and paid about $6.  Of course, at least one of my drinks was on the house…but still…those are some good prices.  I did notice a sign for happy hour that had on it (among other things) Dewar’s for $2.25, domestic beer for $2.75 and well drinks for $3.00.  Let’s just say this is a good place to catch a nice buzz and not break the bank. 

Food:  Like I said, this is also the home to Uncle Earnie’s BBQ, so if you ever make a stop here…make sure you’re hungry too.  Now, I didn’t eat on this trip to The Hang Out, but having spent countless hours drinking beer around my charcoal smoker, I can tell you this looked and smelled like great barbecue. 

Grab some ribs!
Entertainment:  Dartboards, a pinball machine and Keno…your usual sort of bar stuff…but this clearly was a Keno-playing crowd.  There may have been a jukebox there too (geez, maybe I was a bit more buzzed that I gave myself credit for) but the music that they had playing through what seemed like Pandora radio station seemed to be a perfect fit for the place. 

Restrooms:  Not the worst I’ve ever seen, not the best I’ve ever seen.  On the upside, much like the rest of the bar, they are big and roomy.  Look, if so far the only remotely negative thing I’ve said is that the restrooms aren’t the best I’ve seen…consider this a bar you would like. 

Bartender Chat:  This should be more like bar chat.  Keep in mind that I had never been here before, yet I sat and talked to pretty much everyone in the bar the entire time I was there. There’s no need to sit and bend the bartender’s ear when you’re sitting around a group of people that make you feel like a regular the moment you grab a seat at the bar. 

Plenty of room between the two
How Far Did My$20 Go:  Well, I did need to make it home, so I didn’t even come close to reaching my $20 limit BUT if you were so inclined, that would be more than enough for eight Dewar’s on the rocks.  Why you would want to do that I have no idea, but it’s nice to know you could do if you wanted to.

Final Impressions:  I’m not quite sure what's not to love about this bar? By the time I left, everyone in the place was calling me by my first name (even though I was having a hard time remembering it at this point) like I’d been a regular there for years.  In my opinion, this is the best dive bar in West Omaha.  Make it a point to spend some time hanging out at The Hang Out Lounge…just don’t tell a bunch of douche bags about the place…that would ruin all of its charm.

DIVE-O-METER
9



Hang Out Lounge was a great place to hang out.
The Hangout on Urbanspoon



Friday, January 6, 2012

The Hangout Lounge, Omaha -- PREVIEW

Keep in mind I was a bit buzzed when I walked in the door...but after sitting outside and smoking cigars and having a few beers at a friend's warehouse (on a 65 degree in January I might add), I'm pretty sure I stumbled into the greatest dive bar in West Omaha.  Details tomorrow, but if you're looking for a great bar tonight, get your ass over to The Hangout Lounge


Great bar!