Well, it’s not official yet, but I’m calling it: Papillion is the new Benson ... at least for the Gen-X set and any demographic that enjoys good times and better parking.
Parking this spacious is why many Europeans came to America in the first place. If Papillion isn’t soon beset on all sides by developers intent on transforming its organic, Rockwellian charm into a slick mixed commercial/residential project, then someone’s not hearing the “cha-ching” of the great American siren song. Also, it’s family-friendly.
The main drag of Papillion hasn’t changed too much since 1908. There are paved roads and sidewalks now, but the historic charm remains the same. And a good deal of that charm makes its way into Brownies for brews and burgers.
Brownies features one my favorite old bar peccadilloes. A banner on the side of the building says “Brownies Food & Spirits” while a wooden sign on the front reads “Brownies Bar & Eatery.” The door says “Brownies Bar & Grill,” but the Facebook page says “Brownie’s Watering Hole.” Which is it? Read on for the answer.
On one of my recent visits, I was joined by two abstemious contacts, Peggy Ullom and Dave Mike of Guitars for Vets. Guitars for Vets (guitars4vets.org) is a suicide prevention program putting the healing power of music in the hands of at-risk veterans. They will be holding a fundraising concert at SumTur Amphitheater featuring Jimmy Weber on Sept. 9 from 3 to 8 p.m.
These coffee-sippers were happy enough to watch me drink a Fairy Nectar from Kros Strain Brewery just up the road a piece. I’ve been over IPAs for a while, but this Fairy Nectar is changing my mind. The Guitars for Vets reps also graciously introduced me to owner and namesake Lee “Brownie” Brown. Brown has owned Brownies (mostly as a hobby, he said) since “Mr. Roboto” was a hit — hence all the name changes since 1983. Officially, this bar is (ready?) Brownies Watering Hole. Brownies is celebrating its 35th anniversary in the fall, so there’s still time to become a regular before the party starts.
The beer garden out back is my favorite feature. It isn’t fancy, but it is spacious, comfortable and filled with Papillion’s finest characters. It’s one of the best outdoor drinking spots in the area for making new friends.
There is an extensive food menu, with great specials like an 8 oz. prime rib for just under $9 on Wednesdays, but the burgers and homemade onion rings are what most customers talk up. Kitchen hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The kitchen is closed on Sundays.
Taps include Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller Lite, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Lagunitas IPA, Shock Top, Busch Light and Bud Light. Pints are $3.50, as are the few craft bottle choices. Snacks include chips, pretzels, popcorn, candy and nuts. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. and features $2.75 domestics, $2.50 wells and $2.75 tall wells.
Brownies is a good place to stop in and make a friend. Hope to see you there.