There is something special about a good library. Not to wax overly nostalgic or to reveal too many personal details, but I’m a devoted, lifelong nerd and “indoor kid.” My favorite summer destination while growing up in the days before the prurient lure of unedited cable movies and a free, democratic Internet was not Branson, Adventureland or Worlds of Fun — it was the library.
Any library, anywhere, any day and any time. Not only were libraries the Google of the 20th century, they were the best place to cool off after riding one’s bike all over like a character from “Stranger Things.” Well, if you’re looking for a good library to cool off in this summer, I recommend the Library Pub.
Not only is the Library Pub a great destination bar, it is an easily accessible destination. Located in northwest Omaha, this library is located conveniently near the north end of 90th Street directly across the street from the Abrahams branch of the Omaha Public Library. It’s a 20-minute drive from almost anywhere in town. It’s seconds south of Fort and only a few minutes off the Interstate.
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The Library Pub is “where the smart people drink.” I know I feel smarter surrounded by a sizable library with hundreds of books and even more upscale liquor bottles. Books and bottles on shelves are the primary decorative element here, alongside a few posters for upcoming events and specials. They create a very relaxed ambiance. The walls in this pub are like a chapter from “Around the World in Eighty Days” had Phileas Fogg been more of a drinker. It definitely makes my “best of” list for atmosphere. It is the most down-to-earth, high-end whiskey bar around.
The Library also makes my list for best collection of rotating craft and imported taps, with 40 to choose from. I had a pint of Millstream Windmill Wheat, which was one of the more mundane choices. Cast away on your own trip around Mid-America and the world with a Brouwerij Van Steenberge Gulden Draak Classic, a Belgian strong dark ale from Ertvelde, Vlaanderen or Brooklyn, New York’s Evil Twin 90 Days Dry Aged Stout. Midwest and Great Plains breweries take precedence, though. The average price for a pint at the Library Pub is $6. Refills on growlers go for $11 and up. There are six TVs, primarily for the viewing of sports, and free popcorn, always a crowd-pleaser.
Manager Kevin Smith is another feature of the Library Pub who not only talks up a friendly storm about the products he sells, but picks a new craft or import beer every time one of the 40 kegs bottoms out. There are at least 1,000 whiskeys in this bar, Smith said, and about 500 combined brands of gin, tequila, vodka and rum. Drams are $10 to $12 for 2.25-ounce pours of scotch, but there is a Balvenie 40 that tops out at $275 for one ounce, if you’re feeling rich. I’m just an Old Crow man, but I respect a quality collection of liquor when I see it, and you will, too.
The Library draws a couple of crowds. One is the local regulars, the people staff know by name and who fill the bar with the familiar patter of bar talk. The second crowd is the one for whom the Library Pub is a worthy destination. I count myself in that second crowd, and I hope to see you there making the Library your local branch.