Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Donate to Scuba Steve's Mustache

I need your help.  And no, not help as in I need bail money to get out of a Guatemalan prison camp (again), I need to raise some money by Friday for charity.

The short story.  I've been growing the first mustache of my life since May 1st to help raise money for a great local cause, and in doing so, it's affected me in several ways. In what ways you ask?  Let me tell you...

M4K Omaha
  • Old ladies at the bingo parlor now clamor for my affections;
  • I've been confused for Robert Goulet more than once this month;
  • Mike McKnight has sued me for copyright infringement;
  • And lastly...until this 'stache is gone...the chances of me getting "lucky" at home are ZERO
My Children Now Fear Me
The Group: Mustaches 4 Kids Omaha. Long story short...for the last few years a group of local dudes get together and drink beer and vow to grow a mustache.  That's pretty much it.  Oh, did I mention that last year they raised more than $200,000 for Make-A-Wish Nebraska?

This year the charity is HETRA. The Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy was started in 1989 and offers services in Therapeutic Riding, Hippotherapy, Horses for Heroes and Therapeutic Carriage Driving. HETRA is a non-profit 501c3 organization, and is currently the only PATH Premier Accredited Therapeutic Riding center in Nebraska.

All donations are 100% tax deductible and clearly go to a great local cause...so get off those wallets already!

What's In It For You: I know for some, giving is its own reward. But if you're like me, I like the chance to win stuff too. With that in mind, for every $10 you donate you're automatically entered once to win the "Ultimate HitThatDive Swag Bag" worth more than $300 in gift cards, HTD shirts and other assorted hooch-related merchandise.

So, for example, donate $100 like "Party" Marty Simpson and you're now entered 10 times to win. Just for shits and giggles, donate say like $750 and you now are entered 75 times and I'll also give you my dog for keeps.

How Do You Donate: It's so easy even I can do it.  Just click here to go to the M4K donations page. Donate any amount and where it asks "Who's Mustache are you Supporting" just type in the name "Scuba Steve" (That step is very important).

The Ultimate HitThatDive Swag Bag Can Be Yours!
HTD Ultimate Swag Bag:  Contains all of the following:

$200 for Shamrock Limousines (The great people that drove the buses on this year's Spring Stumble)
$25 Bar Tab to the Candlelight Lounge
3 HitThatDive Shirts
3 Jim Beam shirts
2 Hats
Wild Turkey Flip Flops
HTD Koozie
Village Bar license place holder
And last but not least. A flask.

Thank you to the great people who've already donated to an awful-looking mustache but a great cause.

Scuba Steve

HitThatDive's Wall of AWESOME Members


Ben Stone               
Marty Simpson        
Peter Istvan          
Eileen Flinn         
Pam Curry 
MelderJerry Jam    
Brian Monticue         
Leslie Regan         
Deb Christinsen


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

HTD Happenings -- Week of May 25-31

Say Whiskey
Wow.  Things are staring to get busy around these parts.  So, for the foreseeable future, we will do our best to keep you updated on all the "HitThatDive Approved" stuff going on around town. Enough with the small talk...let's get to what's going on this week.

Thursday May 29th.

Well, for starters, we continue the HTD Guide to Old School Whiskey tastings at Barrett's and The Neighber's Thursday and Friday both starting at 5:30.  This week we will be tasting whiskey from Two Gingers and the "Olds".  Meaning Old Granddad 114, Old Crow and Old Overholt.  If you didn't make it any last week, what are you waiting for?  We're giving away whiskey and swag...all you need to do is show up!

Don't Miss the Last Two

Friday May 30th. 

Also on Friday is great time at Monty G's Pub to help raise money for Mustaches for Kids Omaha and HETRA.  This will be a fun event for a great cause.  How do I know it's a great cause? Well, I've been growing a mustache since May 1st in support of their efforts. OH...did I mention that you can still donate money until the end of the week?  Just click here and donate any amount.  It's all 100% tax deductible and goes to a great cause.  Simply enter "Scuba Steve" under growers name.  How easy is that.

Dive Bar. Singing. Beer. Charity. Good Times

Saturday May 31st

If that's not enough...get ready to ride and then PARTY for the 12th Annual Holy Ghost Poker Run. Don't have a bike?  Have other things going on this weekend?  Not big deal...you still have time to buy a raffle ticket for your chance to win and brand new Harley or a $15,000 cash option .  Only 3,500 tickets are being sold...so your chances of winning are big are WAY better than an afternoon of Keno. 

12th Annual

And then, things really get fun. We wrap up Saturday with a good old fashioned street party in front of the Village Bar in Ralston with food, raffles and a live karaoke band.  This is your chance to be the rock star you alway knew that you were! 

Party at The Village

Coming This Week:  

Finally the full recap of the 4th Annual Spring Stumble that had a rather unceremonious ending in the Harrah's buffet line. But what a great day it was. (Wednesday)

Also this week...I spent a few hours with the new owners of the recently reopened Buffalo Company on 96th and L Street.  They're doing some really great stuff in there again, for those that remember how that place was once run...you'll be very happy with how things are in there again.  (Thursday)

Well, that's it for now.  Questions? Comments? Ideas? Suggestions?  Keep them all to yourself!  (Just kidding).  Always feel free to send them along...I might not get to all of them...but I sure as hell try.

Scuba Steve

HTD. Always a Good Time!



Friday, May 23, 2014

Jim Beam Tasting Recap -- Leavenworth Bar

4556 Leavenworth Street
Omaha NE 68106
402-551-4850

Great turnout last night at the Leavenworth Bar, the "LB" for those who know their dive bar lingo.  So why Jim Beam and HitThatDive?  This is an EASY one. For those that can remember back to their American history books, the start of Kentucky bourbon actually started when a bunch of angry whiskey drinkers started a rebellion in Southwestern Pennsylvania...AKA...my homeland.

It was Jim Beam time last night. 

So, just how old school of a whiskey is Jim Beam?  Like George Washington old school!

What We Learned About the Start of Jim Beam Last Night: In 1791, the freshman U.S. government approved one of its first tax increases—on all distilled spirits—in an attempt to make up some of the costs of the Revolutionary War.

Farmers rioted—with a mob at the epicenter of the rebellion in western Pennsylvania attacking a federal marshal, and another group setting a regional inspector's property ablaze.  Surely MY ancestors! 


Gotta love the LB
President Washington offered the rebels a settlement and incentives to move to western Virginia. Then-Governor Thomas Jefferson sweetened the deal with sixty acres in Kentucky County for any settler building a permanent structure and raising native corn. These rebel-farmers joined others already there, distilling corn-based whiskey on a larger scale.

Well, we learned a lot more than that too from a local Jim Beam expert, complete with in-depth video that I can out of time to edit today. Looks like lots of video edition this weekend between Memorial Day holiday weekend beers.

The Jim Beam girls were in the house
The Bar: Opened as a bar in 1951, the LB is EXACTLY what you think of when you think neighborhood bar.  Friendly service, great drink specials, and and always eclectic mix of customers from doctors to derelicts...all of which seem to get along just fine.  Older drinkers, younger pool players and everything in between can always be found here. Owner Kirk will always make sure you're having a good time.  

Nice Beam hickey
Later today, well at 5:30 on May 23rd...we're off to the Marylebone Tavern to get WILD with some Wild Turkey samplings.  Stop on by for live entertainment, great drink special and plenty of free swag to giveaway.  It's the start of a three-day weekend for a lot of people...make this happy hour count! We will see you tonight!

Great crowd


Always free stuff at these events


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Whiskey Tasting Recap -- The Down Under

The Down Under Lounge and Public House
3802 Leavenworth Street
Omaha NE 68105
402-342-3806

I know, you're asking why HitThatDive and "old school" whiskey? Let me 'splain. No...there is too much. Let me sum up.  Growing up in Pittsburgh with immigrant relatives (by way of Croatia) that ran the local beer distributor, there was one thing that was standard...beer with a shot of whiskey. Always. Never one without the other. Ever.

My grandfather, fresh off the boat from the old country (and thrown on a bus to Pittsburgh at Ellis Island) quickly acquired a taste for two things. Beer (eventually a PBR man) and Canadian Club.

Now, having spent an inordinate amount of time in neighborhood dives around town as a kid, my grandfather's drink(s) of choice only reinforced that whiskey and beer were as inextricably linked as Abbott and Costello that played in black and white on every bar TV every weekend.

Some Good Old Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse
Weird thing about me, I didn't drink until I was 21. For reals. So, by the time I got to college and would hang around all the college parties, I was out of the habit of hanging around all the old man bars in my area. Flash forward to my senior year, and turning 21, I got ripped on a pitcher of melonballs and eventually kissed a Nun on the lips...and the journey began.

Hey, I could get used to this whole drinking thing...so the following night we were off to the local dive, at my suggestion, where I would go as a kid to watch a local lounge act with my Dad. (We also figured out how to fix the 50/50 drawing every Monday, but that's a story for another time.)

Wait, what was my point?  Oh yeah...I was shocked that my friends that had been old enough to drink would always forego whiskey at the bars and just drink beer by the pitcher.  I assume that much stricter drinking and driving laws had an impact on all of that...but to be it seemed like another part of nostalgia was dying faster than they could put up new Wal-Mart on every corner.

Getting Ready For Some Free Samples
For the record, I'm not a huge whiskey drinker to this day.  But, a I do like a shot of "old school" whiskey once in a while as a tribute to all the cool old guys I would see firing back shots and beers as a kid.

My grandfather died in 1993 after living well into his 80's.  After his funeral, my cousin Steph and I went to his favorite bar "The Croatian Club" in Monessen, Pennsylvania to have a drink in his honor. "You Mike's grand kids?" we were asked when we sat down. Answering yes, we were immediately given a beer with a shot of Canadian Club. "That's on us." the old man bartender said. "They're all on us for the rest of the day." By "us", he meant the community that resided nearly everyday in that place.

Steph and I got ripped to the point we had to call my Aunt to come and drive our drunk asses home.  And, actually that's not true...we went for wings on the way home first!  Ahhhh...good times.

Women and Whiskey
So back to the original question, "Why old school whiskey?" It's a taste of history and tradition that gets overlooked these days for JagerBombs, Jello shots and Rumchata pudding shots. So, here at HitThatDive, we decided to hand out real drinks at real bars around town for everyone to taste the tradition of years gone by.  Will they be for everyone...hell no!  But, how will you know if you don't even give it a shot? (No pun intended)

Cheers to every crusty, gruff, and occasionally grouchy (but good-hearted) bar people from decades ago (even the ones that hated having a kid in the bar)...these events are for you!

Don't Be Fooled From the Outside
The Bar:  For those that don't know, the NEW Down Under is one of the coolest (and cleanest) little getaways anywhere in Omaha. Owner John Nosal and his wife took months to renovate (and fumigate) the entire place.

I had never been inside the old Down Under, not for lack of trying but I swear they were never open, so I can't give a detailed account of apparently how nasty this place was just before it closed last year.

Part speakeasy, part retro lounge (with just enough of a dive feel to never feel pretentious) regular readers can take my word that you will love this place immediately...once you get inside.   Don't let the rather drab exterior, or the could-potentially-be-intimidating, 15 or so steps to get to get to the bar (watch the last step) fool you. This is the most laid-back and fun bars on Leavenworth Street.

The Booze: Having a nautical theme, Cutty Sark was a no-brainer.  It seemed good to match that with another old school blended whiskey, The Famous Grouse.  Now, if you weren't there last night...it's kind of hard to write how they tasted.  Stop by the Down Under and give them a try...but get with it...you're already one event behind.

The Down Under

What You Missed: 

  • Zac Triemert of Borgata Brewery & Distillery discussing the differences between single barrel scotch whiskey and blended whiskies.  Zac has a Master's Degree in distilling from Scotland, so when Zac talks whiskey, people listen.  (Video of that discussion will be out over the weekend).
  • MelderJerry Jam:  Omaha's number one lounge act was taking requests and playing any song you can you could name.  When you need one the best lounge duos in town...call Mel and Jerry...you won't regret it!
  • Free samples.  Yes...just show up to any of the remaining four events and you're getting some outstanding free booze and a little education on each featured product. 
Don't miss tonight's Jim Beam tasting at The Leavenworth Bar starting at 5:30.  What do we have planned for this one? You'll just have to stop by and find out.  See you there! 

Thanks Zac and Phil!


MelderJerry Jam

Hello Ladies

Jim Beam Tasting is Next!







Thursday, May 15, 2014

2014 HTD's Spring Stumble

Let's get ready to Stumble!

What's the Spring Stumble?  That's a good question. To the general public, it's a bunch of people day drinking and getting drunk at some of Omaha's more divey "dive bars" as we ride around on buses that may, or may not, break down.

Which, actually, that's exactly what the Stumble is.  BUT, it's so much more than that. I mean, yes...there will be drinking.  And, there will be a few that stumble.  Ultimately someone may even vomit (that only happened once) but to me, it's a chance to do some good for local businesses and raise money and awareness for charity (more on that in a minute) as I get to spend an afternoon in places that I love with my friends...and friends that I haven't yet met.

2013 Spring Stumble
Here's the interesting part about my friends in Omaha...I've met nearly all of them through the ramblings of HitThatDive. Which, to me, is the real testament of the appeal of dive bars...and more importantly...the people inside of them. The Spring Stumble is a celebration of friendship and a chance to get drunk and be somebody (cue Toby Keith) as we generously spend our cash in locally run businesses that always fully appreciate the extra business. So to the HTD crew...and there's a lot of us out there these days...I sincerely thank you all.

The Spring Stumble is a charity event for people (like me) that would never get invited to a black tie affair (cue Friends in Low Places).  And, well, hell...it's a reason to go drinking on a Saturday afternoon without out being judged by a bunch of snooty white wine drinkers.

We know how to party


Let's get to the details!

Where: Start and end at Harrah's Casino in Council Bluffs
When: May 17th. Sign-in starts at 11am.  We return to CB by 6 for a live concert by Matt Whipkey.
Cost: $25 donation to charity
Why: It's fun!

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE. NOW. DO IT. 

The Charity: Rebuilding Together Omaha. They bring together volunteers and communities to improve homes and lives of low income homeowners. It's one thing to say you want to improve your community...it's another thing to do out and get your hands dirty while doing it.

Not sure how much money we will raise this year to donate, but that's not entirely the point. Even if you can't make it to this year's Stumble (you're a fool if you don't) you can still donate directly to them, or better yet, roll up your sleeves and be a volunteer.

This is how we Stumble
The Bars:  This year we're getting a little fancy.  We start and end at Harrah's Casino in Council Bluffs.  Along with more than enough parking, they also are providing rooms for 50% off...join along and I'll send you the code!  Not only that, BUT, your $25 donation to get on the buses also gets you a BOGO buffet. That's a $15 value right off the bat!

The Brass Monkey: The funky Monkey is under new ownership by my friend Brock that owns The Village bar, but it is still one of the best places to hang out in town.  Make sure to check out the back deck and have a Coors on tap.

Brass Monkey

Lemon Drop Bar: Soon to the new home of Ray's wings, owner Rhonda will treat you like a regular immediately and kick your ass out if you don't behave. Great place!


Lemon Drop Bar

Corner Pocket: What's behind the front door?  Well, join the Stumble and find out for yourself. Owner Eric has some of the cheapest drinks in town, and this is one of the favorite places for my 9 year old to shoot pool.

Corner Pocket

The Elbow Room: Omaha's classic dive bar. Stop on by to say hi to Eric, Jeff, Fast Eddie and the rest of the crew at "The Bow."  One of my favorite places in town.

The Elbow Room

Welcome Inn Tavern: Help us as we say goodbye to Omaha's friendliest biker bar.  Dive bars seem to really be taking a hit on 24th Street these days...join us to see a one-of-a-kind dive before it closes for good in a few weeks.

Welcome Inn Tavern


And if that's not enough...we return back at Harrah's at 6 to ROCK THE HOUSE with Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award's Artist of the Year...Matt Whipkey!

So that's it...what are you waiting for? Sign-up now if you haven't done so yet.  Yeah, I know some of you are like... "I ran out of gas! I--I had a flat tire! I didn't have enough money for cab fare! My tux didn't come back from the cleaners! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!!!"  

But for those that don't look for excuses not to have a fun afternoon AND do still good for the community...we will see you on Saturday!

Scuba Steve




Friday, May 9, 2014

OFace Bar -- EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

For all the people that bash the OFace Bar, yet have never been there, we take you to the only and only bar that the "reality" show Bar Rescue has ever walked out on.  Enjoy Bar Rescue junkies!