Nightlife in Lincoln
By Luke Tidball
Vega • 350 Canopy Street Ste 220
Vega is a hip new venue in the Haymarket started by four Lincolnites. They emphasize their love for live music and get some amazing artists to perform at their venue. They take great pride in their food and their menu offers an imaginative selection of gourmet hot dogs and burgers. Happy hour is Monday-Friday from 2pm-6pm.
DelRay Ballroom • 817 R Street
Mon-Thu 1pm-10pm • Fri-Sun Closed
Enjoy a cocktail in their 1940s themed lounge after an evening out in the Haymarket.
The DelRay Ballroom gets its guests on their feet with live music and ballroom dance lessons every night. Located in the Haymarket, they cater to all of Lincoln’s ballroom needs. The DelRay features ballroom dance instructors who can teach the basics to beginners but also provide technical coaching to those ambitious enough to partake in competition or performances.
Visit TheDelRay.com for details on classes and events.
Zoo Bar • 136 N 14th Street
Mon-Wed 3pm-1am • Thu-Sat 3pm-2am
The Zoo Bar is an intimate venue where true fans of great live music congregate. Although they’re known for serving up blues legends, Americana and country music, it’s a place where many of Lincoln’s finest musicians who have achieved success elsewhere return for a slice of the good life.
Big time artists such as Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Beat Farmers, Bo Diddley, Albert Collins and Otis Rush are only a few of the big-time acts that have performed on their main stage.
The Zoo Bar has an annual ‘ZooFest’ every summer that draws crowds to hear local Lincoln acts perform alongside national touring artists.
The Zoo Bar has a loyal group of music loving regulars that attend gigs religiously. To learn more about upcoming acts, visit their website at www.ZooBar.com.
The Bourbon Theatre • 1415 O Street
The Bourbon Theatre provides a venue for musicians and artists at vastly different stages of their respective careers. The Bourbon opens up their main stage when big shows come through. As many as 900 people can attend the theatre while the Rye Room holds 100-150 people for smaller events and up-and-comers who want to build their stage presence.
The Bourbon Theatre is known for its diverse acts. Many artists who have performed here have seen international success over the years.
Live bands show five nights a week during the peak fall and spring seasons and three-four nights a week in summer and winter.
Some of its most popular touring artists include: Public Enemy, Lil’ Kim, All American Rejects, Johnny Lang, Explosions in the Sky, Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Gwar, Johnny Winter, LMFAO, Third Eye Blind,
Dr. John, Taj Mahal, Lamb of God and Juicy J.
Visit bourbontheatre.com to find out about upcoming events at the Bourbon Theatre.
Duffy’s Tavern • 1412 O Street
Duffy’s Tavern’s rituals have made it one of Lincoln’s greatest dives. Home of the fishbowl, Duffy’s has action every night of the week. Mondays are the night for amateur comedy when anyone who wants to take the stage can. On Tuesday, Duffy’s intercepts Lincoln’s taco enthusiasts as well undergrads, grads and young professionals with their $1 priced pint cans. Duffy’s does not charge a cover but features live music on Wednesdays and Sundays. Thursdays, are the day for live Karaoke with Shithook, a band that’s been doing live Karaoke at Duffy’s for over 20 years. Duffy’s has had artists as big as Nirvana play (before they were popular). Their outdoor beer garden is the largest downtown and has a fire to keep the regulars warm in the colder months. Travel and Leisure magazine rated Duffys as one of America’s best college bars. Their staff is among the friendliest and hardest working in downtown Lincoln.
Jake’s Cigars • 101 N 14th Street, Ste 1
Mon-Sat 11am-2am • Sun 12pm-2am
Jake’s Cigars is a bar that also functions as a tobacco store that sells alcohol for takeaway. They offer an extensive selection of the finest spirits and beers; many of which were brewed here in Lincoln, quite possibly by someone sitting in the same bar. The crowd that Jake’s brings together is the most interesting in our nightlife scene. Jake’s draws hip college students as well as their professors. You’ll find older Lincoln gentlemen smoking fancy cigars next to a table of Middle Eastern students smoking shisha that they brought with them. They have a playlist and selection of drinks that manage to keep everyone coming back for more. The giant glass windows allow you to be a part of the action outside.
Rich Bar & Hookah Lounge • 1640 O Street
Rich Bar and Hookah Lounge is one of the newest venues in the city. They strive to offer their customers a premium VIP service. Their bar includes Rich branded energy drinks as well as European brewed beverages, all of which cater to the ‘Rich’ experience.
The interior includes leather couches and chandeliers. The front area is great for groups and couples to congregate while they also feature a dance floor and a space for a DJ or bands.
Visit their facebook page at www.facebook.com/richbarandlounge.
Zen’s Lounge • 122 N 11th Street
Monday Closed • Tues-Wed 5pm-1am
Thurs-Sat 5pm-2am • Sun 6pm-2am
Zen’s Lounge offers a classy feel in a calm, low-key environment. The multiple levels of seating, red walls and modern art décor make for an intimate date. Every Tuesday is ‘Tap Tuesday’ where Zen’s taps new craft beers in an attempt to educate and build the local beer connoisseur community.
Visit their website at www.zenslounge.com
Marz Martini Bar • 1140 O Street
Mon-Thu 4pm-12am • Fri 2pm-2am
Sat 4pm-2am • Sun Closed
Marz Martini Bar offers food and cocktails in a pristine environment. Marz’s ambiance is as futuristic as it is disco. Their half circle booths and long bar offer classy indoor seating while they also sport outdoor seating.
Cliff’s Lounge • 1323 O Street
Mon-Sat 4pm-2am • Sun 6pm – 2am
Cliff’s Lounge is known for their wall of Kamikaze flavors that are served as $8 pints. This may seem expensive for Lincoln but customers seem to agree that you get what you pay for. Cliff’s has been in Lincoln for a long time and is in the middle of the rest of the downtown Lincoln nightlife.
Starlite Lounge 247 N 8th Street, Ste. 101
Sun-Mon Closed • Tues-Wed 7pm-1am
Thu 4pm-1am • Fri-Sat 4pm-2am
Starlite Lounge boasts a 1960s blast from the past interior while their martini menu seems to be rather futuristic. Tucked under the basement of Buzzard Billy’s in the Haymarket, it’d be easy to miss this hidden gem if it weren’t for their classic kitsch radio jingle that remains one of the most memorable of Lincoln. Starlite Lounge has Throwback Thursdays starting at 7pm which include free appetizers, drink specials and retro trivia. Starlite Lounge’s beautiful interior draws customers both young and old.
Find out more at – www.buzzardbillys.com/lincoln/the-starlite-lounge.
Barrymore’s • 124 N 13th Street
Mon-Thu 3pm-1am • Fri 3pm-2am • Sat 5pm-2am
Barrymore’s is the most luxurious bar in Lincoln to have an alleyway entrance. It’s located around the corner of the Rococo Theatre and sports a wide range of cocktails as well as beer and wine. The high ceilings in this bar are magnificent. The space used to be the backstage of the Stewart Theatre. They have a switchboard as decoration as well as ropes and stage cables. Barrymore’s is yet another place to get exceptional Martinis in downtown Lincoln.
Knickerbockers • 901 O Street
Tue-Wed 8pm-2am • Thu 11:30am-2pm
Knickerbockers is a place where fans of all forms of rock, ska, funk and punk congregate for live music that doesn’t let up until you’ve exited the bar. The bar is divided into two sides and makes it easy to step aside to catch your breath. Knickerbockers is a place where many Lincoln locals played their first gig in high school but in recent years it’s even seen the likes of former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter’s younger brother, Aaron Carter.
The Watering Hole • 1321 O Street
Mon-Wed 11am-11pm • Thu-Sat 11am-2am
The Watering Hole is known for their fabulous chicken wings that come in a variety of flavors and sauces to choose from. You won’t miss the game here with a TV at every booth. The new location exhibits a wall-mounted, motor-driven, buffalo head.
Mix Bar • 1427 O Street
Mon Closed • Tue-Sat 8pm-2am
Mix Bar is a bar and dance club where local DJs hit the decks with electronic dance music or whatever it takes to get the crowd going.
Sandy’s • 1401 O Street
Sandy’s is a favorite spot for the college crowd. This place gets a lot of traffic as it’s located at the busiest corner in downtown Lincoln.
Fat Toad Pub • 1409 O St
The Fat Toad Pub is a bar that draws a lot of college students. The dance floor always has people on it and the bar and tables stay well occupied. If you find yourself looking for seating on the main floor, remember that there is an upper level, near the front entrance, with a separate bar and booths just the right distance from the action.
O’Rourkes Tavern • 1329 O Street
Mon-Fri 12pm-2am • Sat 11am-2am
O’Rourkes Tavern is a favorite among Lincoln’s more alternative youth. O’Rourkes features ample room for a game of pool and there are plenty of booths and tables, both inside and out front in their beer garden. They also offer free popcorn for the taking.