I could spend hours waxing nostalgic about hot days at Rosenblatt Stadium: the way nobody ever seemed to mind the mile long walk back to the car, knowing that a stop at Zesto’s for a twisted cone could make even the 100+ degree days bearable, children from nearby homes peddling cold bottled water and soda to sweltering baseball fans for a buck or two while their parents sold parking in their driveways for $20. There was a great deal of resistance from locals when we discovered that our beloved stadium was being cast aside to make way for the newer, bigger TD Ameritrade Park.
We had our pity party and we held our protests, but at the end of the day we all had to admit that the new stadium was more accommodating.
Once the letter writing campaigns had been abandoned and wounds had been licked, a new dilemma presented itself: Where in the world is the tailgate? America’s favorite pastime may be baseball, but the country comes to Omaha for the party!
In years past, trailers and RVs crowded Rosenblatt’s parking lot, unloading grills and coolers to the sound of a car radio blasting game highlights. Zesto’s unleashed their disposable liquor license and Pauli’s tents became a virtual Spring Break destination. When Rosenblatt was demolished, with it went many of the World Series mainstays.
While Omaha loves a tradition, we are also incredibly open to growth and expansion. In letting go of our many CWS staples, we’ve opened the door for more local businesses to step up and help us create new traditions!
Blatt Beer and Table 610 N 12th St.
Owned by the same powerhouse that brought you Blue Sushi, Plank, Roja, and Red Lounge, Blatt Beer and Table knows how to bring a crowd together. Located walking distance from the stadium, the sports-themed gastropub has kept many of our favorite Rosenblatt memories alive and well! Blatt opened their seasonal Zesto’s window on May 25, so fans can still enjoy their favorite soft serve!
A special events menu will be available for all World Series fans, and to ensure even quicker service to the thousands of patrons they will serve over “The Best 10 Days Of Summer” Blatt will enlist several extra grills positioned throughout the property.
Bavarian Pretzel Bites with rosemary mustard and Gruyere fondue pique your appetite for the fun Dixie Fried Chicken. Assistant manager Steve recommends that more adventurous palates try the Chargrilled Indian spiced chicken with pickled fennel onions paired with an Indian pale ale or O’Dell IPA. The menu also features a classic fish and chips, but the recipe is new and the cod is flown in daily and never frozen. Purists will enjoy the brats, which Blatt chefs braise for hours in PBR with carrots, onions, and a few special spices before serving on a traditional pretzel bun with caraway kraut.
The beer menu features an extensive collection of drafts that is updated daily, from locally brewed lagers to Belgium born brews. If you’re not into the craft, bottlenecks and cans are available in everything from Moose Drool to Blue Moon.
The rooftop beer garden will feature a new VIP section that can be rented for your World Series party this year. The dining area’s garage-style doors will be open, bringing the outside in. Additionally, 7 stations throughout the downstairs and 4 stations in the upper level will be selling beer, streamlining your visit.
To see the entire events menu, beer list, or to reserve your VIP tables, head over to http://www.blattbeer.com/
The Old Mattress Factory And Omaha Baseball Village 501 N. 13th St.
An enormous parking lot is worth its weight in the Old Market, and The Matt knows how to capitalize! General Manager Pete Violi hires close to 200 extra employees to guarantee everyone gets ample attention and ensure the safety and security of his guests. Inside, screens air the game for anyone wanting to get out of the heat and enjoy all of the delicious Mattress Factory fare.
Outside, the parking lot is transformed into The Matt Omaha Baseball Village. Bud Light hosts a stage with daily live music where hats, shirts, and sports equipment will be given away all day
Vendors rent space in the lot selling everything from commemorative t-shirts to Dippin Dots.
Food vendors from Dante’s Pizza, Laura’s Eggrolls, Smallcakes, and Voodoo Taco will be on hand to manage any craving a fan can throw at them, while the game plays live on the 13 foot Jumbotron.
Batting cages and demos will be hosted in The Bullpen alongside Miuno, Adidas, and Scheels shops and demos.
VIP tickets, which must be purchased in advance, grant access to the VIP and Upper Deck 2 hours before game time. Both sections are 21 and over (with some exceptions) and only 200 tickets are available. If you’re looking to create an exclusive event for a corporate or family function, get in touch with staff soon! These spots are in high demand.
Are You Not Entertained? Buck’it.
And because drinking cold beer while watching baseball wasn’t quite enough fun, last year’s games gave witness to the birth of what could easily become Omaha’s next “Shark Tank” submission: Brew Buck’it.
The beer bottle vending claw machine is the invention of Omahans JR Bryant and Ryan Schwarz. Their prototype took up residence outside of The Matt during last year’s college games, becoming such a hit with fans that under the pressure of over 400 plays in an evening, the poor thing gave out. The inventors took this as a good sign and sunk more time and money into rebuilding the machine, which is now stronger and smoother than ever.
For obvious reasons, the machine doesn’t actually vend alcohol. Play costs $1, and the ‘claw’ in this case is actually a magnetic hand. The bottles in the machine are only for show, but if you’re lucky enough to snag one, it can be cashed in with the bar tender for a cold beer of the establishment’s choosing. Considering the extensive menu, it would be difficult to be disappointed in whatever you are handed.
One would assume that the more you win, the harder the game becomes, but I couldn’t say for sure without doing some… extensive… research. Find me, Brew Buck’it, and a few thousand baseball fans at The Matt this season!
To stay ahead of the game, Follow The Matt and OBV on twitter at https://twitter.com/TheMattOBV
Honorable Mention: Barrett’s Barleycorn Pub and Grill 4322 Leavenworth St.
Advertising as ‘The Biggest LSU Bar In Town”, Barrett’s Barleycorn is a sports lover’s paradise. The festive “Geaux Tigers” sign painted above the grill serves as permanent branding of the pub’s loyalty, but you don’t need to be an LSU fan to cash in on the friendly, welcoming vibe Omaha is famous for. The party isn’t as loud (or as packed) as other CWS destinations, but the crowd is warm and inviting, the food is fantastic pub fare, and game airs live.
Baseball may be the name of the game, but the spirit of Omaha is the reason you came. Welcome!