By Salvador S. Robles
Growing up in South Omaha, I can’t tell you how many times I drove down the 13th Street corridor that connects to downtown. Of course, I’d pass a handful of interesting restaurants; Howard’s Charro and Bohemian Café, to name a couple. But 13th Street was unremarkable to me at the time. However, after the resurrection of “Little Bohemia” began in 2017, I started hearing whispers through the ether about the revitalization of this historic corridor.
Being a 20-something, I was excited to hear new restaurants and bars would be opening literally down the street from where I lived (and still do). That won’t be an expensive Lyft/Uber ride home! Fast forward to 2019, and the increasingly chic corridor and its surrounds, the newly dubbed Little Bohemia district, is home to several exciting establishments, including a little treasure nestled right in the middle: Tiny House.
Tiny House is, in fact, a bar. But in the building’s long history on 13th Street, it was at one time a house — it just happened to be tiny. Owner Megan Malone opened Tiny House in late March with the goal of showcasing forward-thinking cocktails. If it’s your first time in the area, Tiny House could be easy to miss. It’s dark grey and burrowed between two other buildings; but with its new patio set and lighting on the front deck, it’s pretty easy to spot at night.
The first thing I noticed as I stepped through the front door was Tiny House is nothing short of a work of art. An assortment of velvet plush-looking furniture is scattered in small pockets for groups of people to sit comfortably together in the main bar area. A huge painting of what looks like a Godzilla apocalypse scenario, which is entertaining and impressive to look at, is plastered on the opposite side of the bar.
A relaxed boho-esque aura, accompanied by random pieces of art, dimly lit light fixtures and funky side tables, sets the ambience. There are three separate but open concept rooms toward the back of the building, which offer some privacy. The entire design of Tiny House reminds me of a 2010’s art-pop video, which you wouldn’t think could work for a bar in Omaha, but it really does. The decor is so artsy it might actually distract you from what brought you to Tiny House: the drinks.
Tiny House’s menu is organized into basic liquor categories. Depending on what you order, the drinks may be tiny, but they pack a punch! No matter how high your tolerance, these tiny cocktails can be life-altering.
The menu is enticing, in part for the laugh-out-loud descriptions of each cocktail. Popular drinks include “It’s Britney, Bitch” and “Honey Boo Boo,” which have a vodka base and are most requested, and “Ellis Island,” a spin on an elevated cosmo, and “The Last Unicorn,” a creamy drink dusted with cinnamon.
I have been on a Manhattan craze this year, and the bourbon/whiskey/scotch/rye cocktail category is a superb exploration. The bartenders at Tiny House will genuinely try to help you find the right cocktail. They are patient and try to appease your taste buds, even if you say, “I like sweet drinks.” (So vague and innocent. No worries, so many of us have said those exact words to some bartender somewhere.)
For this particular field trip to Tiny House, I was sad to see one of my favorite cocktails, the “Cognac Martinez,” had been taken off the menu. The bartender assured me they can still make it on request and are willing to attempt any other cocktails a customer desires, even if they’re not on the menu.
Other libations that you might want to try include “Passion Fruit Margarita,” which, I swear, is the nectar of the gods (mortals should tread lightly), and the “Negronito,” which pleasantly balances mezcal and campari in a way I wouldn’t think was possible. Fitting with the Tiny House’s tiny theme, many of the cocktails offered can be made in miniature, which allows the average customer looking to experiment the ability to function the following day. Think half-price cocktails at half-price size equal tiny drinks in a tiny house.
Summer hours for the bar are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tiny House is also open on Sundays from noon to 10 p.m., and it is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Fall hours may change, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Bottom’s Up: Tiny House might not be the best bar for the average millenial or college student who’s living with their parents and pinching pennies. But it’s still well worth a visit because, through and through, Tiny House is not just a bar, it’s an experience. Wherever you live in the Omaha metro area, you’re missing out if you don’t visit Tiny House.
Remember to have fun, drink responsibly and tip your bartenders.