Nothing makes the liquor go down quicker than perching on a stool in a friendly neighborhood bar where the person doing the pouring has a genuine affection for their customers and a deep attachment to the establishment serving you.
So today’s questionable establishment with the unquestionable service is a small bar literally squeezed onto the corner of Saddle Creek and Leavenworth, The Neighber’s. At one point, Neighber’s was moved about 10 feet back from the actual creek portion of Saddle Creek, which was slowly eroding the building’s foundation. It’s tight. I wouldn’t even recommend walking around the front corner if one has, for any reason, balance issues.
My spirit guide on this journey was a man called Scheib, may he rest in nerdly peace painting miniatures and running “Dungeons & Dragons” adventures for Jesus. Scheib was a purveyor of high nerdery at Krypton Comics’ monthly Art Jam and the nephew of my Latin teacher. Scheib was not a big drinker, but he was, like most respectable people, a fan of nurses. He directed me to Neighber’s, proudly noting it to be a hangout for nurses as well as “very close to his house.”
Dive bars really own it these days, and Neighber’s is no exception. In fact, Neighber’s has a T-shirt for sale on the wall proclaiming it to be in a bad neighborhood with poor parking where foul language, poor service and nice girls may be found. I’ve seen worse, but the entrance is through the back alley and easy to miss. Good luck, look twice, go slow and you’ll be fine.
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Neighber’s barman Josh Bruckner is a friendly, talkative delight. He told me his mother purchased the building in 1987 and their cousin built it in 1954, among other historical trivia. The history lesson was interrupted by the introduction of the latest drink popularized by the tragically hip, Fernet-Branca. F-B is noted for being an Italian digestive invented in the 19th century. I find it also makes an excellent expectorant and ipecac.
Josh says the cool kids he’s been seeing more of these days — the ones who like to “drink like their granddads” — also occasionally choose to drink like 19th-century earls. One Jameson’s and a pickled egg put my taste buds back on track while discussing the finer points of lawn mower operation with Josh and a couple of regulars. A good time was had by all.
Taps include Pabst Blue Ribbon, Sierra Hazy Little Thing IPA, Goose Island IPA, Coors Light, Bud and Bud Light. Happy hours are 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and all day Sunday, with $2 Busch Light bottles, $2.75 Bud and Bud Light cans/bottles, $3 Wells, $7 domestic pitchers and $12 craft pitchers.
Daily specials are Rolling Rock tall boys for $2 and $1 off Irish whiskey on Mondays. Tuesdays are $3 craft beer coolers and $3.50 Malibus. Wednesdays are $3 PBR 32-ounce mini pitchers and $3.50 Sailor Jerry shots. Thursday is $2.50 Miller Lite bottles and $5 Jäger bombs. Friday is $3 Fireball shots and $7 Budweiser pitchers. Saturday is $12 domestic buckets.
Pool is always 50 cents, and there is a league on Thursdays.
The bar also has keno and darts, but I’m mostly thinking about getting another pickled egg. Hope to see you there.
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The Crescent Roadhouse Bar and Grill in Crescent, Iowa, is a dive bar with a good kitchen. It's largely a domestics-in-the-bottle kind of place. Blue Moon, Lagunitas and Corona are about as hip as you’re gonna get. Click here to read more.
There is likely room in your schedule somewhere for The Cabin’s happy hours. They last from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Click here to read more.
Pour Craft Beer & Spirits has two dozen brews on tap from local favorites like La Vista’s Kros Strain Brewing, Omaha’s Brickway Brewery & Distillery and fellow Lincoln newbie Cosmic Eye Brewing. Click here to read more.
Lincoln’s Pub sits where Dixie Quicks used to in Council Bluffs' historic 100 Block. It is turning into a worthy successor. Click here to read more.
Cosmic Eye Brewing opened in east Lincoln fall of 2018. Its location makes it unique for a couple of reasons — for one, it’s the only Lincoln brewery in a former laser tag place, and the only brewery in the neighborhood. Click here to read more.
Pat and Mike’s has Chiefs games, cheap tacos and arcade classics like “Ms. Pacman” and “Frogger.” Click here to read more.
As nice as it might be to go to a bar where “everybody knows your name,” occasionally it’s pleasant to go to a bar where no one knows who you are, what you do or where you’re from. The District offers that. Click here to read more.
Florence's New Frontier is a great dive. It is quaint, friendly, out of the way and time-worn, but clean and comfortable enough to exceed one’s most reasonably tempered expectations. Click here to read more.
Barley's, a saloon-style bar in Council Bluffs, offers 30 brews on tap, a friendly staff and an "epic" amount of parking. Click here to read more.
Not all dives are cut from the same cloth. George’s Tavern in Blair hits all the right notes for socializing on the DL and has what discriminating tastes aspire to, if not actually settle for, in a dive. Click here to read more.
Green Flash has some traditional brewpub offerings like wings, of course. But, in general, the eatery specializes in slightly more sophisticated eats, with more fresh vegetables and fewer fried foods. Click here to read more.
The Spillway in Council Bluffs is always family-friendly. There is an ATM, pool, darts, 11 TVs, free Wi-Fi and — the best idea ever — a Breathalyzer by the door reminding you to stay safe and never drive buzzed. Click here to read more.
You can enjoy drinking with strangers at Rathskeller Bier Haus, including a few real Germans. Wall art consists of European beer signs, a boar’s head and a reproduction of Berlin Wall graffiti. The back garden will still nurture you once warm weather returns. Click here to read more.
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