A year ago I had the idea to write a piece for The Buzz highlighting bars in Omaha that could be categorized as “cozy,” places where you could lay back and hide out. It was perfect for our January issue since by then, most people are over the holidays. Add in Omaha’s lackluster, frigid weather, and people aren’t really looking to go bar hopping. Who knew two months later, our world would be rocked with a pandemic and 2020 would be a year none of us expected?
The bar scene in Omaha is just one of many local industries that have been affected greatly by COVID-19. In fact, when researching Part Two to Cozy Hideout Bars, two of the bars that were perfect for this article closed their doors until further notice. It is more important than ever that our community comes together and tries our hardest to support local businesses. With that in mind here are my picks for some of Omaha’s Best Cozy Hideout Bars, Part Two:
- The Nest Lounge – Also known as The Nest, this snug retreat is tucked away at 2638 S. 158th Plaza in the Woodhaven Shopping Center. It can be seen right off West Center Road and looks somewhat nestlike, perched on a hill. There is no direct road or access from the main street, giving The Nest its allure of isolation. This bar has a nicely lit patio which during the summer can get pretty busy. The inside has plenty of seating and a very long walk-up bar. The random pictures, scattered neon wall lights and the blue bar seats remind me of a maritime dive bar on the east coast. This neighborhood bar serves free food during Husker game days. You also can’t go wrong with the economical prices in this bar which range from $2.75 – $10 a drink. The Nest Lounge is open 7 days a week starting at 2 pm.
- My Way Lounge – 2425 N 84th Street. We have all heard the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Well, in this case, the saying might be, “Never judge a bar by its front entrance.” As you turn right off of 84th and Blondo to get to this bar, it looks like you just drove into a mini industrial district, arriving at what looks like an empty factory parking lot. I honestly thought I was lost and or that my phone took me to the wrong bar. To be fair it was only 7pm but the front entrance was marked only with a vinyl sign with the name of the bar and a simple string of Christmas lights on the top of the building. But once I walked in, I was amazed to see how big the place actually is. It’s dark but lit with Christmas lights on the ceiling. There is a main bar just inside the main entrance and off to the right is a big, open circular room with what looks like a fireplace that stretches to the ceiling; it also happens to be decorated with lights making it seem like a Christmas tree. And this is only one part of the actual bar. It also includes another sitting area with a separate bar that is usually used for private parties and a covered and lit patio with a gas fireplace. My Way Lounge is a hidden gem in our city, I completely misjudged this bar based on the front entrance. But it gets even better! Beer pong and ping pong tables are randomly strewn throughout the bar allowing people to sit in separate groups and mingle and drink. My Way Lounge has various drink specials throughout the week depending on what day you go including specialty shots. Their pièce de résistance happens to be their Apple Pie shot. Coming in at $3.75 a shot, you’re not going to be disappointed. Perfectly balanced, it’s one of the best Apple Pie shots I have ever had.
- The Homy Inn – Located at 1510 N Saddle Creek Rd, The Homy Inn has been a nationally-recognized Omaha staple since 1956. In 2006, Esquire magazine named it one of the best 50 bars in the United States. Although many people know about The Homy Inn and it is quite popular, it’s on my list because it stays true to its tradition of being a cozy nook which at times can become somewhat crowded back when the word “pandemic” was associated with the year 1918. Homy Inn is quite small and has limited seating. If you are worried about visiting this bar currently, Homy Inn takes its social distancing and regulations very seriously which makes me feel very safe and comfortable. This bar is renowned for its various brews and craft beers on tap or bottled and has a wide variety of spirits to choose from. What most famously distinguishes The Homy Inn and sets it apart from other bars in the metro area is that they serve champagne on tap. I am just going to make this note right here: More bars in Omaha need to do this! I never considered myself to be a champagne aficionado but champagne rules and the French might not agree that true champagne is brewed in France and la di da but who cares? You’re not a true Omahan if you haven’t had this at The Homy Inn. The bar serves 4 different flavors of champagne which I encourage mixing the peach and dry champagne together and they have a homemade sangria flavor on tap that quenches your thirst on any day of the year.
Bottoms Up: These bars are true local gems and although it might be tough to go out and sit at your favorite pub: remember to shop, eat and drink local. Check out other stories on thereader.com under The Buzz and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for updates @thebuzz_thereader. Message us your favorite bar suggestions, which could be featured in The Buzz. Remember to have fun, drink responsibly, tip your bartenders and stay healthy.