Before they were deployed to Afghanistan in November 2010, Tyler Hightree, Patrick Beerbohm and Devin Wilson often talked about what they would do when they returned.
Hightree and Beerbohm, friends since childhood, and Wilson, who they met in their late teens, eventually settled on opening a bar.
“Of course, we’ve been to bars before,” said Hightree, “and it just feels like they’re doing it wrong.”
They didn’t discuss the topic much in Afghanistan. But when they returned, in November 2011, they talked about it endlessly.
The talking led to the development of an 18-page business plan (Hightree and Wilson are 24 and Beerbohm is 23, so they figured if they wanted a bank to take them seriously, they would have to be thorough). They picked out a spot, at 14477 West Center Road, in what was formerly a quilting and fabric store, and for six months worked to remodel the space. Everything that they could do themselves, they did.
The bar, which they named Impulse (Wilson came up with the name), has slate-colored walls, a pool table, a modern bar with metal accents and glass-topped tables ringed with LED lights. It opened last month.
“Our main goal was not to look like other bars,” said Hightree.
During the renovation, they befriended owners of neighboring businesses who now stop in for drinks. Hightree’s grandma and her friends drove in from Fremont to check the place out. And many of the guys they deployed with (the Nebraska Army National Guard’s 402nd Military Police Battalion) hang out there, too.
One night, members of a country band stopped in. By the end of the night, they had retrieved their instruments from the trunk of their car (the drummer improvised on a five-gallon bucket), and took requests.
“When everyone is having a good time, that’s the best,” Hightree said.
Impulse specializes in sweet novelty drinks with names like Strawberry Shortcake and Impulse Island, available in regular size and in oversized cups called yardsticks. On Wednesdays, it has free pool and an all-day happy hour, and on Husker football game days, it has all you can eat wings for a $10 cover. Impulse is open Monday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. More info at www.impulseomaha.com
Pageturners Lounge, the bar at 5004 Dodge St., owned by Conor Oberst and Phil Schaffart, will open Friday at 4 p.m.
Schaffart said there’s clearly interest in the new business in the space that used to be Pageturners used bookstore. Sometimes he’ll arrive at the bar and see handprints from curious passersby on the windows.
The lounge, which Schaffart views as a neighborhood place, features a sunken bar, vintage wood-paneled walls from the 1940s, schoolhouse-style lighting, black vinyl lounge chairs and one private room — formerly an enclosed private dining room from when a restaurant occupied the space decades ago. Pageturners will feature 10 beers on tap, plus another 25 bottled beers, as well as a few specialty drinks (the Page Turner, for example, is made of rye whiskey, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, green chartreuse, lemon juice and cherries) and a few dozen wines.
And don’t let the piano atop the stage fool you, Schaffart said. The bar may feature the occasional musical guest, but it won’t book regular gigs.
“It could be a year before someone gets up there with a guitar,” he said.
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