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.
Omaha Performing Arts brings world-class entertainment to its two distinct but complementary venues. Built in 1927 as a vaudeville palace, the fully remodeled Orpheum Theater evokes the gilded concert halls of Europe with magnificent chandeliers; gracefully vaulted ceilings; and intricate, decorative metalwork. The newly built Holland Performing Arts Center surrounds the action with modernist elegance, featuring clean, geometric lines and a lobby with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The main Peter Kiewit Concert Hall's gently curving shoebox design ensures clear sightlines and comfortable feet, and organically placed wooden panels sharpen the acoustics and bestow the space with a warm glow.
"No cookbooks. No measuring cups. No measuring spoons. No scales. I know from experience," Be Lam—the executive chef of Saigon Surface—responded when Jane Palmer of the Omaha World-Herald asked if she uses a cookbook. Lam, who runs the restaurant with the help of her daughter and son, Ngoc and Tu Nguyen, told Palmer that she learned her culinary and artistic techniques from a group of elders in her native Saigon. She creates her signature grilled pork dish, for example, not from a written-down formula but from a memorized marinade that developed over years of practice and bestows flavor to the meat over several days.
Though steeped in the food wisdom of several generations, the restaurant's overall vibe is decidedly modern. The Omaha World-Herald, which had already named it one of the Top 8 restaurants in 2011, said that it "mixes the traditional with the technological to great effect. It's a welcome addition to the downtown dining scene." There's an iPad at every table, which guests can use to order a lychee martini from the lime-green-backlit bar or fiddle with when their dates decide to show their ventriloquism skills. The walls, meanwhile, are covered with dark wood paneling, which provides a pleasingly stark contrast to the sleek white booths and tables.
Union's menu is dripping with hot, steaming New York–style cuisine, from meaty, meaty pizzas to foldable, Brooklyn-style buffalo wings. Start out strong with a helping of hearty hot wings doused in Louisiana, sweet and sour, barbecue, spicy garlic, or Jamaican-jerk sauce (half dozen, $6.99; one dozen, $9.99; two dozen, $18.99) before dipping into a 16-inch pizza such as the Union Special (sausage, peppers, onions, extra cheese, pepperoni, beef, black olives, and anchovies on NY-style pizza crust, $16.99). Force hunger to experience its last gasps with the Whiskey Strip, a 10-ounce NY strip steak grilled to taste and served with a garlic knot, a dinner salad, and your choice of side ($16.99). For dessert, grab a slice of real NY cheesecake ($3.99), transported across state lines in secret compartments beneath car seats.
Once you've assembled a guest list of up to 80 close friends and local dignitaries, The Foundation Bar will grant your band of revelers access to its VIP Lounge for three to five hours and set you up with a personal bartender, along with a manager to handle the legwork and security to keep out the press and break up any Monopoly-induced fistfights. Boasting a stylish vintage-lounge ambience, right down to the black sofa, old-fashioned lamps, and deep-crimson walls, the Foundation lounge also packs a mezzanine of pool tables, flat-screen TVs, a fireplace, a pristine sound system, and even a handsomely framed portrait of the World's Most Interesting Man. Although alcohol is not included in this Groupon, your bartender will happily set up a tab so that your guests are free to voyage through the bar's 25 craft beers on tap, more than 100 bottled beers, and array of high-end liquors. Kegs are also available for purchase to ensure the party keeps flowing steadily. Call ahead to schedule your shindig.
Barley’s builds culinary character by guiding its delicious menu of traditional burger and steak fare through a series of exhausting yet rewarding victual rituals. Start with homemade flour chips ($5.95) with cheddar cheese and salsa as a way of making peace with growling stomach Gorgons. Equip both fists with a smokehouse burger (with cheddar, barbecue sauce, and bacon, $7.95) and a guacamole burger ($8.45), or contemplate the trinity of a triple club ($7.95) served with ham, turkey, bacon, and more between two slabs of marble rye. There are also a number of options for the vegetarian crowd, including the garden burger ($7.95) and garden Philly ($7.75), each stocked with 100% vegan patties. In between bites of burgers, steaks, and salads, sip on some fresh-squeezed ales and lagers from the bottle or tap, with varieties spanning the intoxicating rainbow from micro and macro brews.