I took my normally teetotaler mother to the bar. At the Nebraska Furniture Mart, aka NFM.
There we were on a recent weekday afternoon, just a couple of ladies with wine. I guzzled a smooth pinot. She gamely sipped a moscato.
We toasted under the bright lights of the wall-mounted TVs inside the “bar,” which doubles as a Subway sandwich dining area.
To our left, inside this Nebraska Furniture Mart annex, was Home Office. To our right was Electronics.
We weren’t stuck there. If we wanted to walk around and sip wine while picking out washing machines or gaming systems, we could. Currently, consumption is OK in the Appliances and Electronics Building.
The other patrons of the hour included an older man with a motorized cart and a weary woman who handed her phone over to her toddler. La Buvette, this was not.
However, the latest Mart addition — a bar serving wine, beer and local Hardy Coffee Co. joe — could be the smartest move the Mart has made since Mrs. B. used her birthday as a sales gimmick.
How many times had past Mart customers longed for a little liquid courage to pull the trigger on a couch, a stove, a too-smart TV understandable only to NASA scientists?
How many marriages could have been saved by this breather before picking out a sectional that might not fit through the front door?
The Mart is not the first alt-bar. Whole Foods has a bar and lets you sip and shop (taking the edge off that grocery tab). Some Hy-Vees offer sit-down bar areas. If there are others, let me know so I can plan my errands accordingly.
The Mart’s new coffee/wine bar opened two days before Thanksgiving. It’s called Base Kamp.
It’s owned by Bradley and Traci Krauth, who own some Subway stores in Nebraska, including the one inside the Mart. The bar name reflects the couple’s love of the outdoors and is a nod to a trip they made to Mount Everest. Base Kamp features a nice selection that includes pastries.
The bartender/barista picked a red for me: Le Grande pinot noir ($9). A glass of Barefoot moscato that retails for about $6 a bottle at the grocery store was $6 at Base Kamp.
Add a cinnamon roll and muffin (a microwave is coming, apologized the bartender/barista who couldn’t warm them up yet). Throw in a medium-sized black coffee and the tab without tip was $27.
We didn’t mind the wine tasting in a fast-food booth. We didn’t mind the plastic cups, except when they were empty. There was no recycling option. (Mart spokesman Andy Shefsky said he’d consider adding that.)
Mom thought the lights could have been dimmed. I thought a little jazz would have been nice.
Then again, Base Kamp is not a destination per se. It is, as its name suggests, a place you refuel before the sometimes exhilarating, sometimes treacherous shopping climb ahead.
Made right here: 12 things you may not know came from Nebraska
1 - Kool-Aid
2 - Car rentals
3 - Baker's Candies
4 - Reuben
5 - Dorothy Lynch
6 - Vise-Grip
7 - Chair lift
8 - Cliffsnotes
9 - Richtig
10 - Eskimo Pie
11 - SAFER barrier
12 - TV dinners
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Columnist Erin Grace has covered a variety of beats since she started at The World-Herald in 1998 — from education to City Hall and from the city's western suburbs to its inner-city neighborhoods. Follow her on Twitter @ErinGraceOWH. Phone: 402-444-1136.