Music Issue: Hoodoo Venues

A few places you should be sure are on your roots music to-do list


As part of our Music issue, here, in no particular order, are some music venues of note for roots, R&B and blues. Remember that places like Waiting Room, Slowdown, Barley Street Tavern and Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre also contribute great shows to the local roots music calendar.

The Zoo Bar, 136 N. 14th Street, Lincoln, NE – Lincoln’s home of the blues for 42 years and counting, The Zoo Bar is in a very small category of long-running music bars devoted to live blues and roots music, drawing celebrated national touring artists who are often showcased at the weekly early Wednesday 6-9 p.m. time slot. There’s also a vibrant scene of excellent local players who have cut their teeth on the bar’s stage and can be seen there regularly. See zoobar.com and Facebook.com/ZooBarBlues.

The 21st Saloon, 96th & L. – Presenting regional, national and international touring blues, R&B and roots music every Thursday for nearly 20 years. See the interview in this issue with owner Scott Kirk about his commitment to the music. thereader.com/the_21st_saloon

The Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. – The Reverb is a One Percent Productions’ venue that has created a music room separate from the bar space. The music room can be a true listening room with tables and chairs, a standing-room-only style rock club or something in between. Co-owner Jim Johnson says the venue is going to continue booking the interesting mix of artists that have been seen on the club’s stage this year, which included personal favorites like jump-blues and swing vocalist Johnny Boyd and rockabilly queen Kim Lenz along with national and regional acts playing surf, acoustic music and soul. Folks who just want to hang out in the beautiful, mid-century themed bar can do so without paying the cover while enjoying beverages ranging from craft cocktails to Hamm’s beer and the separate music room lets music fans enjoy the artists with a minimum of distracting audience conversation. See reverblounge.comand Facebook.com/ReverbLoungeOmaha.

Omaha Lounge, 1505 Farnam St. – This renovated historic downtown Omaha location serves as beautiful bar lounge space and a consistent supporter of local jazz and blues acts. You’ll find solo/duo jazz, smooth jazz, soul and blues artists performing seven nights a week, 7:30-10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Find the schedule at theomahalounge.com and Facebook.com/theomahalounge.

Havana Garage, 1008 Howard St. – This Old Market cigar bar is also a consistent live music supporter presenting local blues and jazz acts on weekends, usually without a cover charge. See thehavanagarage.com.

Sunday Roadhouse Concert Series – Since 20013, this moveable Americana-roots concert series booked by Dean Dobmeier and Gary Grobeck has brought a remarkable cross-section of artists from Austin, Nashville and beyond to Omaha. The concert shows currently can be found at either The Reverb Lounge or The Waiting Room in the Benson neighborhood. See sundayroadhouse.com.

Harney Street Tavern, 1215 Harney St. – See the profile on the HST elsewhere in this issue by Wayne Brekke. Owner Brady Bock brings an excellent mix of roots, blues, R&B, jazz, rock and more to this downstairs venue. There is usually never a cover and the eclectic crowd takes time to enjoy the music. The venue offers younger Old Market bar hoppers an inviting introduction to great local and regional bands. 


Category: Music

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