Owning bars is in Josh Hallett’s blood, so it’s no surprise that when he discovered an old, 7,000-square-foot saloon in need of renovation, he jumped at the chance to buy it with his business partner—his mom. After recruiting his sister as bar manager, the family spent months rehabbing what used to be the Silver Spoke Saloon, picking out all-weather chairs for the outdoor beer garden, lining the brick and corrugated-iron walls with flat-screen TVs, and clearing space for the dance floor by unleashing a two-story Roomba.
Once the Halletts’ new bar The Alley, was complete, they set out to cultivate a festive atmosphere. Bartenders fill massive, 32- and 64-ounce mason jars with sudsy Budweisers, which weekend-revelers and Cornhusker-clad coeds can nurse on a deck overlooking M Street. The calendar of events keeps regulars coming back for beer-pong nights, live music, and theme parties
At a table in Road House Bar and Grille, breaded mushrooms, cauliflower, and corn nuggets snuggle up in a basket, and slices of ham and provolone cheese drape over a juicy, half-pound burger. Nearby, a patron smiles at the thwack of his cue ball connecting with its target as his friends tackle a massive pizza layered with hamburger, pepperoni, sausage, and veggies. Later the group shares a pitcher of beer and busts out tunes during one of the eatery’s twice-weekly karaoke nights that, in addition to live music on Fridays, helps provide them with all the vitamin B-flat recommended by the USDA.
More than 100 different bottles of tequila crowd the bar at Compadres Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar, where bartenders serve margaritas and other specialty drinks. The booze even finds its way into the food, as evidenced by the chicken wings' sweet and spicy tequila sauce. Other homestyle Mexican eats include burritos, tostadas, and deep-fried puffy tacos, which have a soft and hard shell, as well enchiladas, chicken chimichangas, and the Big Red Burrito, all of which are made from family recipes.
While the convivial atmosphere and comfortable furnishings at The Underground Bar are steadfast, its expansive space hosts a variety of activities throughout the week. Monday may play host to texas hold ’em tournaments, while Tuesday belongs to karaoke, and Wednesday can see beer-pong or pool tournaments. On Fridays and Saturdays, bands take the stage and set a musical backdrop for guests, who perch atop cushioned stools, chairs, and booths as they enjoy beer and pizza.
Angie Lewis never considered herself an artist. When she first began dabbling with paint, she found herself overwhelmed by choices. After fretting over what paintbrush to use and what brand of paint to buy, she eventually gave up and stuffed her art supplies—and her creativity—in the back of her closet.
They remained there until one day, while visiting friends in Denver, Angie attended an "entertainment-style" art class. It had music, wine, and a casual "it's OK to mess up" vibe, and Angie knew she just had to bring the concept home with her to Nebraska. And thus The Corky Canvas was born, a place where friends and artists of all skill levels gather with paintbrushes in one hand, and wine glasses in the other. At two Corky Canvas locations, Angie and her team of instructors lead groups through nightly featured painting, private parties, team buildings, and more. Painters are always welcome to change the colors of their class's suggested design, or to even paint something new entirely, following the whims of their creative spirits.