Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2012 HitThatDive.com -- BAR OF THE YEAR!

2012 BAR OF THE YEAR
Well, as they say, it's nice just to even be nominated. While I'm not exactly sure who "they" are, for the purposes of 2012 HitThatDive's Bar of the Year…it's a very accurate statement.  In fact, I had a such a hard time trying to pick my absolute favorite that I put it to a vote on Facebook. And after nearly 400 votes were cast, the one and only Jerry's Bar was the clear-cut winner with a grand total of 205 votes!  

The five finalists this year, while each being a great place to thrown down some drinks, were all very different from one another.  From high-brow scotch at the Library Pub, to cheap ass shots at Andy's Place.  From walking into an 80's time warp at the Green Onion (and walking out half in a coma) to moseying into Ponderosa Bar and being called "Sweet Thang" before I even sat down…you can't go wrong at any of these bars.  

But for 2012, it was Jerry's Bar that takes home the honor of being named HitThatDive's Bar of the Year. And before I get more complaints on Facebook, to be in the running for 2012, I actually had to review the bar within the calendar year.

Cheers to Jerry's Bar owner extraodinaire Rob Rutar, one of the best bar owners in Omaha, for running a great place where he treats his regulars like he values their business and approaches running a bar like bars were operated 30 years ago…basically, a professionally run establishment where regulars go to get drunk and talk to friends. Sometimes to be the very best at something, you have to remember to ALWAYS do the little things...a.k.a. Rob Rutar.
 
Now, make it your New Years resolution to stop at all this year's finalists!  Let's take a look back and see what made each of them so memorable in 2012...shall we...
 1.  Jerry's Bar
 
To fully appreciate Jerry's Bar, I'm sure that you have to make it a point to be a regular here.  But don't let that scare you off from stopping by if you like the idea of a place that can walk the fine line between being a dive and being a retro-cool place to hang out.  Cheers to Rob for clearly not heading the "advice" from my review of the Leavenworth Bar and running his business any damn way he pleases…he knows what he's doing as a bar owner far more than I know what I'm doing as a bar reviewer. 

2.  Library Pub

This is the graduate school of dive bars. It's low key with just the right amount of a dive feel and one of the more impressive collections of hooch anywhere in the area. In one Yelp review, Mark was called the "host" of the Library Pub...which is true.  But he's also the professor, bartender, character and soul of the entire bar too.  If you like Mark's approach to running a bar you will LOVE this place. If you prefer to drink in more solitude, buy a 40 and a paper bag...you will be much happier.  


3.  Ponderosa Bar

There's a sign behind the bar that read "Treat others as you would like to be treated" and that sums up the Pondo perfectly.  If you're looking to get out of town, without actually getting out of the area...this place makes a great destination.  Its rural setting is how I expected all of Nebraska to look when I came here for the first time eight years ago...which made me like this place even a little bit more than I had expected.  Hop on your Harley, jump in your truck...hell...throw the kids in the old minivan and take a drive in the country and bring them here...it's well worth the trip.

4.  Andy's Place

Andy's is exactly what a neighborhood should be.  Good service, friendly people, cheap prices and a laid back let's get drunk atmosphere. Thanks to Howard Evans for this little gem tucked away in South O.  If you want to experience a quintessential dive in the best part of Omaha for bars (without question) you owe it to yourself to make a trip to Andy's...and if you can figure out which one Howard is make sure to buy him a "Polish and a can O' Bud" for the great advise!

Green Onion Lounge
11414 Davenport St
Omaha, NE 68154
402 333-2236

5.  Green Onion Lounge

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?”