Lincoln Calling provides a yearly rendezvous point for Nebraska's art-loving masses. Last year's gathering drew more than 3,600 fans and more than 100 bands, and the 2010 celebration aims for people pools just as deep, with more than 80 bands and counting. The festival kicks off on September 28 with Kinetic Brew's local music-video-themed Homegrown Movie Festival at the Bourbon Theatre, which is also where you will pick up your tickets. The live music begins on Sept. 29, with music at venues including the Alley, Duffy's Tavern, the Black Market, and Tavern on the Square, where fur-coat-wearing bands may play their final live show before going their separate ways toward solo careers of varying critical and commercial success. A vast lineup of groups, all of varied genres and tax-exemption statuses, provides a running soundtrack to the four days of community-bolstering art appreciation. On Oct. 1, Lincoln Calling will feature local photographers' work in an exhibit in the halls of the Parrish Project.
When owners Scott Ritter and Jeff Barclay conceived of Venue Restaurant & Lounge, they wanted to create a space that was known not only for upscale cuisine but also for its highly social aspect. To this end, they designed the main dining room and cocktail lounge around a circular layout to encourage mingling and to foster a sense of camaraderie among food enthusiasts and off-duty vacuum salesmen. Throughout the space, blown-glass accents and colorful artwork unite the separate areas with a refreshing, contemporary atmosphere.
Developed by head chef Kory Metzger, Venue’s menu of American cuisine features aged meats, fish flown in daily, and thin-crust, brick-oven pizzas infused with rustic, smoky flavors. Ethnic inspirations derived from Italian, Caribbean, and Atlantean cultures add additional intrigue to the varied offerings. Many of the restaurant’s dishes can be prepared gluten-free upon request. Deft bartenders hand mix martinis and cocktails using fresh fruit and premium alcohol from behind a red semicircular bar. An extensive wine list holds dozens of fine wines available by the bottle, glass, or 16th-century chalice.
Owners and chefs Roberto and Ana Meireles pile plates high with meticulously crafted dishes of beef, pork, poultry, and seafood made to order from fresh ingredients and traditional spices. Fried plantains, tropical fruit shakes, and Cuban sodas serve as plane tickets for the palate as lush foliage, cabana decor, and a working baggage claim evoke Caribbean climes. Libations from a brightly colored bar balance the subtle spice of the restaurant's signature red Cuban creole sauce. Gusto Cuban Cafe's patio bustles during the warmer months, and salsa dancing on weekends, like getting stuck on a slide, gives people an excuse to shake their hips.
Nosh Wine Lounge's valiant experts curate a diverse list of vinos for at-home enjoyment with the wine club. Induce heightened senses of fermented nirvana with two carefully selected wines each month, which in the past have included Australia's Ringbolt cabernet sauvignon and Oregon's Foris pinot noir. The four bottles of wine arrive in monthly pairs accompanied by a fact sheet that details tasting notes, suggested pairings, and a photograph of the wine's childhood home. Club members dining at Nosh receive a mélange of extra benefits, such as a coupon for a free appetizer from the lounge's chef-created menu, which includes a delectable crab-cake or caprese salad. Waived corkage fees on club bottles of wine whet appetites, and invitations to an annual wine tasting help to prepare members to decide how to use discounts on future events and on bottles of wine from the retail shop.
Jazz serves up the tasty, authentic fare and festive party atmosphere one typically finds while strolling down Bourbon Street. Creole and Cajun cravers can browse the restaurant's massive menu, featuring fresh seafood, po' boy sandwiches ($7.49), zesty pastas ($12.99/full order), and spicy blackened entrees. Diners are immersed in a hodgepodge of New Orleans–based décor and swinging live music throughout the week as local bands perform blues and jazz standards, helping visitors let the good times roll while keeping the bad times safely encased in electrified lock boxes.
At Oasis Hookah Bar, couches, a circular bar and a combination of cocktails, drinks, and hookah work together to create a relaxed environment. Customers can breathe in the chilled air of a large variety of shishas, taking in flavors such as berry, blueberry grape, lemon tea, or even varieties without tobacco. Meanwhile, they can sip on a number of drinks, such as whiskeys, sodas, or cocktails.