Let’s do some Old Man Drinker awards, since it’s awards season and there is so much more cocktail love to go around in Omaha Town.
Best West Omaha restaurant to get a legit drink: Dante, 16901 Wright Plaza.
You my have noticed that my Top 5 bars in Omaha list is East Omaha focused. Sorries, but that’s the truth. Inkwell comes closest for me, and it’s not even really in West Omaha! I travelled out to Alice, Ethan Bondelid’s new West Omaha spot, in the hopes of putting it on the list. It’s a really good idea, and he’s going to do serious business out there. Maybe next year.
In the meantime, when I want to get a legit drink in West Omaha, I head straight over to Dante, the sublime pizza-and-pasta spot that also serves up a killer cocktail and wine list. Case in point: the Hazy Shade of Winter, pictured at the top of this story, a wintery cocktail from Dante that might be the single best drink I had in Omaha in 2019.
Favorite dive bar: The Library Pub, 5142 N 90th St.
Why, what do we have here? It appears to be a divey hole in the wall with a serious Scotch list, roughly 812 beers on tap and free popcorn. I think I might live here now.
Best Sports Bar to get a cocktail: Sports Hall, 3852 Farnam St.
Sports bars are a notoriously terrible place to both eat and drink, according to me. At Sports Hall, you can order fantastic pizzas from Forno, the Blackstone Italian joint brought to you by Dante owner/chef Nick Strawhecker. And you can get a decent enough Manhattan while you watch the Bears lose.
Standby beer bar 4 Life: Krug Park, 6205 Maple St.
Favorite brewery/tap room hang out spot: Vis Major, 3501 Center St.
A true neighborhood joint. A frequently rotating beer menu. Smiling, friendly faces. Vis Major is a regular 21st century Cheers, except I haven’t yet met the always off-duty mailman with a likely drinking problem.
Favorite brewery/tap room for beer: Zipline Omaha Taproom, 721 N. 14th St.
Lincoln beer is legit. More people need to go to Zipline’s north downtown tap room.
Cocktail bar I should go to more: Inkwell, 8716 Pacific St.
If I lived closer I would be there once of twice a month. The bar is writer-themed, for Christsakes. And they make the sort of cocktails any writer worth his weight in bourbon should love.
Restaurant bar I should go to more: V. Mertz, 1022 Howard St.
People always forget about their back bar. And what a back bar. It’s made of brass! And there is no better wine mind in Nebraska than general manager Matt Brown, who also makes a mean cocktail.