The Buzz is the newest edition to the The Reader’s columnist community, starting in September 2019, so I couldn’t wrap up a whole year to fit with this month’s theme. Instead, I’m going to focus on getting us all through the cold and blah month of January. The holidays are over, the frigid temperatures declare with their blistering winds, “Stay home and watch Netflix or Disney Plus” (my newest obsession). And, although tempting, we aren’t meant to be trapped indoors. We are Omahans, and we must avoid cabin fever!
That said, finding the perfect cozy hideout bar to visit with friends was, surprisingly, easier to do than I thought. Omaha has several of these bars, which is why I had to break this article into two parts.
- Interlude Lounge —
Located at 7643 Pacific St., Interlude has been serving strong pours since 1966 and is a staple in Omaha. Interlude Lounge is dark and dimly lit, offering the perfect spot to sit back and laugh with friends while nursing the single cocktail you ordered that the bartender poured more like a double. No complaints from me here. You can also order food and have it delivered to the bar. Interlude’s happy hour, daily from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., includes half-price or even $1 offers for drinks.
- Red Lion Lounge — On the corner of 38th and Farnam, this is a Blackstone District favorite and a must if you are trying out new bars in Omaha. Red Lion is located in the lower level of the Colonial Apartments, giving it that extra cozy hideout feel. Its specialty is serving classic cocktails and light bar snacks in a relaxing atmosphere. Red Lion can get busy on the weekends but does have speedy drink service. When the bar first opened, its drinks were pricey, but that has gotten better in the last couple of years. Plus, Red Lion has weekly specials and a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m.
The V.I.P Lounge — Another Omaha classic, V.I.P is very snug and cozy. This bar is smaller and more boisterous than I had expected; it’s probably because the bartenders are really fun and actually try to get everyone drunk in the bar. (They will try to give you free shots.) No one mentioned a happy hour, but that doesn’t surprise me because the drinks are very moderately priced with a heavy pour. I recommend going early if you have a bigger group of friends because this bar is very small. But it is fun. Check it out.
- The Trap Room — Nestled on N. 14th St. in NoDo, The Trap Room is truly a bar where you can go and hide out. Not only is it small, dimly lit and cozy, but it is a spot to relax, sit in a corner and drink a dirty martini or sip on your favorite whiskey and bask in the fact that you are an adult. (I feel grown up when I go there.) The prices for cocktails and drinks range from $6 to $12 depending on what you order. The Trap Room is usually very quiet and chill, but since it’s right next to Slowdown, I imagine it could get busy when there is a show.
Cedar — Located in Countryside Village, dimly lit Cedar is a relaxing, higher-end cocktail lounge with a sophisticated feel. It is cozy and offers a wide variety of fancy cocktails and a long list of wines to choose from. Fun fact: Cedar makes its own in-house fireball shots ($6), which hit the spot on a cold January night. Cedar offers few specials but sometimes features live music.
Bottoms Up: Check out Part 2 of Cozy Hideout Bars coming soon at TheReader.com under The Buzz. Remember to have fun, drink responsibly and tip your bartenders. Tweet us bar suggestions and follow The Buzz at TheReader.com. Your bar suggestions could be featured in The Buzz.