|Old. Like, old, old, old|
402 342 9692
I don't really like to read novels (that's potentially the worst start to a bar review ever). What does that have to do with sitting in a bar and having a few beers? Let me explain. Well, let me rephrase the first sentence...I don't really like to read novels if they aren't written by an author named Richard Russo. For those unfamiliar with his work, he won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2002 book Empire Falls which is a story set in a fictional, small blue-collar town in Maine.
Much like some of his other books including Nobody's Fool (also my favorite movie of all time) and the Risk Pool, he can make the act of sitting in a old bar and having mundane conversations with a few colorful regulars more interesting than any reality show ever invented. In my mind, I have an exact mental picture of what one of those bars he so brilliantly writes about looks like. Which as I write this makes wonder if he has ever spent time in JD's Circle-In because it is right out of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
Pros: Great old bar. Great 70ish bartender/owner. Great regulars.
Cons: Fireball from the cooler seemed warmer than room temperature.
|Beer and candy|
The Bar: A nice big wooden bar of the "they don't make them like this anymore" variety, and the back bar would give the one at Old Settler's (well when it was open) a run for its money as a classic example of what an old bar should look like. Gazing around the room there are four beers on tap, neatly lined bottles of liquor with the prices marked right on them and a cool old weathered clock right next to a JD's Circle In sign. There are some tables scattered around the old wooden floor and plenty of room to move around for a bar as old as it appears. Apparently, this was a one time a local grocery store OR a drug store...no one was 100 percent sure on that one. Of note, and as someone pointed-out on a picture I posted on Facebook...the regulars must have a sweet-tooth because there is more than your usual amount of candy for sale.
|NOT a strip mall bar|
Service: This can be summed up in one word. Donna. If nobody has done so already, I am naming Donna the "Grand Old Dame" of local Omaha bars. In her early 70's (I would assume), she reminded me a lot of my late Grandmother, the only difference being that my grandmother would have never been caught dead drinking...let alone in a bar. Donna is the type of bartender that ALWAYS pours your first beer for you from the pitcher. Such a simple act, but one that rarely, if ever, is done in bars these days anymore. Grandmotherly? Yes. But from what I can tell she can still throw down a few drinks, has no problem telling off color jokes, and a little birdie even told me she been know to dance on the bar on rare occasion. Even if the bar sucked, it would be worth coming here to have owner/bartender wait on you for an afternoon.
|Don't ask abut this special|
Food: Not it the mood for the wide assortment of candy offered behind the bar? Donna has some full-sized bags of chips hanging back there too and I also noticed a sign on my way to the men's room that advertised 9" or 12" Tombstone pizzas for $3.75 or $5.75.
Entertainment: If chatting with colorful regulars isn't you thing, there are three TV's, internet jukebox a pool table and a dartboard right by the front door...better have good aim in this place and or be careful as you open the door to walk in.
Restrooms: Small, yet inviting. Hell, this is such a friendly bunch that the way that the men's room is set-up, there's no need to close the door. That's almost as good as taking a leak outside!
How Far Did My $20 Go?: Do a little mix-and-match on a Saturday afternoon and you can have two mini-pitchers and two of the strongest Gentlemen Jack and Cokes in town with more than enough money left over in your pocket.
But, if sitting around a real bar, with real people having real conversations...oh did I mention here that the customers bus their own tables out of courtesy too...then this is exactly the place you and (and I) have been looking for. To quote Richard Russo from Empire Falls, “And there comes a time in your life when you realize that if you don't take the opportunity to be happy, you may never get another chance again.” Make it a point to stop by here, relax, have a drink and most importantly leave happy. I know I did.
|The Grand Old Dame of Omaha Bars!|