Nothing quite like a good personal connection to make a trip to the bar seem less like a minor social excursion and more like an occasion to be remembered fondly for a while, perhaps even written about in one’s journal. As in “Dear Diary, finally met the beer server of my dreams today ...”
Was it happenstance or kismet? I don’t know, but by golly, if my recent visit to 5168 Brewing Taproom on Farnam Street wasn’t special as all get-out. Certainly special enough to make an old punk like me get all folksy.
Firstly, my guide on this journey was none other than my lovely and talented sister, Kim. Having grown tired of not being mentioned more often in these pages, she and I decided she had better make an appearance before one or both of us decides — jokingly — to stop drinking. I say “jokingly” because Sister Kim and I come from a long line of truckers, bikers, moonshiners, outdoorsmen, poets and other functional substance users, so the inside joke is really on us and our descendants.
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Sorry, kids. 5168 Brewing Taproom was her idea, and a good ’un. Since she and I have long searched for and occupied bars on different peripheries of mainstream society, we thought we’d meet, literally and figuratively, in the middle at Midtown’s 5168.
Our waiter was Mr. Jeremy. Normally, I’d just use his first name, but this lovely, mustachioed gentleman was so pleasantly familiar in his approach to us that he deserves the extra respect. He scored points as we mutually admired each other’s ring game. Ring guys, like beard guys, share a bond. Multiple yet tasteful, daring but never audacious. He pointed me to all my purchases on the 5168 menu, as well as one made of silver at Pretty in Patina.
Mr. Jeremy scored all the points a good waiter would ever really need to score by knowing which beers on his menu might satisfy my surreptitious questioning. With inquiries like “What’s a red ale?” and “Is the coffee stout decaffeinated?” or “What would you recommend that’s light but not an IPA?,” Mr. Jeremy had the patience of a saint (and my sister could make most saints cuss) while recommending beers and menu items.
We had the 5168’s Sour Cherry Lager, Apricot Lager and Nebraska Strong Ale (proceeds go to flood relief). They were all terrific, light, refreshing and paired well with my Elvis-inspired peanut butter, jelly, bacon and banana sandwich, The Heartbreak Hotel. Also delicious was the bite I stole from my sister’s Italian grilled cheese filled with tangy peppers. All the food is $10 or less, and the beers are all $5 to $7, so I’m going back to try more. I hope to see you there. (Tip Mr. Jeremy well.)
Happy hours are 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, featuring $2 off all 5168 beers and $1 off chicken drummies. Regular specials currently include $5 Growlers and 25% off for all service industry employees on Mondays, beer yoga from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, 25% off for college students and faculty on Wednesdays, $5 flights on Saturdays and pub trivia from 6 to 8 p.m. Sundays.