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.
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.
"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.
Eschewing fancy trappings for a simple, everybody's-welcome atmosphere, The Foundation's lurid neon lights, exposed brick, and oak-beamed ceiling are a means to an end—and that end is the bar's 25 beers on tap and 100+ bottled varieties. Say the word and The Foundation's bartenders will slice off a frothy cut of Fat Tire, Goose Island, Skinny Dip, or Boulevard Ale and magically capture its thundering majesty inside a pint glass ($4). Or venture further into the realm of crafts and imports with a bottle of Purple Haze, Saint Bridget's, or Summit Pale Ale. To offset the usual side effect of carbonated beverages––weightlessness––a hearty menu of classic pub grub will keep you tethered to earth. Pre-game for the Huskers with an avalanche of Foundation nachos ($7.95, or keep one hand open for celebrating touchdowns by munching on an Omaha Reuben ($7.59), served with a side of fresh-cut fries ($8.59 with fries). Gamblers who are short on cash after foolishly taking the long odds against the sun rising tomorrow can find solace in the Cheapskate (two sliders and fries, $3.99).
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.
The series' lineup includes films kids may have missed during their first childhood, as well as classics that deserve a second run on the big screen. See the first recorded instance of a flying bicycle in Steven Spielberg's classic story of missing a ride home, E.T.: Extra-Terrestrial (August 7–19), or celebrate the 25th anniversary of Marty McFly's time travel or commemorate the 55th anniversary of his electric-guitar solo with Back to the Future (September 18–30). Other cinematic gems include The Thief of Baghdad and Whale Rider. Each film has a two-week run with afternoon showtimes on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
DJs spin and weekend crowds clamor within the Hive lounge’s walls, which are festooned with murals by local artist Maggie Webber and décor inspired by owner Jack Gardner’s road trips. A sprawling outdoor patio hosts alfresco sippers, and glass-tile panels admit streetlights’ golden shimmer indoors, where large-screen TVs glow with sports broadcasts alongside live games of darts and shuffleboard. At the bar, drink slingers pour frothy pints from a rotating selection of craft and organic beers and set specialty cocktails on turntables to be mixed as a DJ scratches over obscure Raffi LPs. The Hive Lounge hosts regular events such as Saturday and Sunday "Hangover Recovery Parties," during which patrons sip more than 20 mimosa flavors and shout “bloody mary” three times in front of a cocktail shaker to summon custom libations from a build-your-own bloody mary bar.