Happy Hour in the Capital City
by Tyler Thomas,
Co-Founder/Managing Editor of NebraskaFoodie.com
At Nebraska Foodie, we spend a lot of traveling around the state and eating at local restaurants, dives and food trucks and on occasion we have a chance to venture outside of the state and explore the culinary scene of our neighbors. But, before we take any trip, we always plan according to these three guiding principles:
1 We look to stay in downtown areas or area that have a lot of history, nightlife and are within
walking distance to various eateries, bars and foodie destinations.
2 We map out what local restaurants are reviewed the highest on online websites and recommended by our friends.
3 We search out great places that have sweet Happy Hour deals, so we can save money and get more bang for our hard-earned buck.
And while these are our three guiding principles when we travel, we easily apply them to Lincoln when we go out, especially number 3!
Lincoln is known for its Historic Haymarket, which is within walking distance of a ton of places to grab a bite and/or a pint, and many of the highly reviewed places are favorites among locals. And while there are plenty of places to try something new, Lincoln has a great amount of establishments that feature Happy Hour specials you don’t want to miss!
From the traditional definition of discounted drinks to happy hour small plates and discounts on food to a full day happy hour, Lincoln has some amazing places to get a discount and fill your belly, quench your thirst or try something new!
Here are a few of the must tries:
Blue Sushi Sake Grill ›› Do you love sushi or Asian inspired dishes? Blue Sushi Sake Grill in the Haymarket is the perfect place to enter a sushi coma six days a week! Not only are popular sushi rolls like the Crunchy Blue and Blue Balls under $6 each, you can start your meal with other Blue specialties like the vegetable tempura or edamame hummus and not break the bank. They have happy hour 3 to 6:30 pm Monday through Saturday plus the very popular noon to 8 pm on Sunday. And if your sushi fix doesn’t kick in until late-night, Blue has a reverse Happy Hour on Friday and Saturday nights from 10:30 pm–Midnight.
Hiro 88 ›› If sushi is something you save for a special occasion or maybe just the weekend, Hiro 88 in the Haymarket features their reverse happy all day on Sundays. Hiro is a perfect Sunday brunch spot and we highly recommend the Red Hot Husker Bloody Mary (vodka, sriracha + a beef wrapped asparagus tempura) or if you’re more of a traditional bruncher, you can order a mimosa to pair with your fried gyoza or avocado egg roll.
The Flatwater ›› The Flatwater, also in the Haymarket, is a perfect Happy Hour spot, especially if you’re on a budget. The menu features a variety of appetizers and cocktails all under $5! We recommend the sweet and spicy wings, paired with a Huskarita or Long Island Iced Tea.
Bison Witches ›› Stop by the popular lunchtime deli in downtown Lincoln after work for $2 pints daily from 4-7. And with the hands down best chicken nachos in town, there’s nothing like washing down your giant tray of chicken nachos with a fresh pint.
The Green Gateau ›› The Green Gateau in downtown Lincoln features free beverages (up to $6) or dessert with a purchase of an entrée before 6 pm Monday-Thursday. This is a great deal especially if you want to eat early and head to a show at the Lied Center or some other downtown theater. Our recommendation is to try the “Green Gateau” dessert, you can’t beat the pistachio flavor or the thin layers of pastry in the apricot torte!
There are many other places throughout the capital city that have Happy Hour specials, specifically discounted drinks! And a few others that have stand-out specials once a week. A few of our favorite weekly specials are included below:
Bread & Cup ›› Located in the heart of the Haymarket, Bread & Cup is a simple restaurant with simple food and drink. The chefs take their inspiration from what’s fresh and in season and craft their menu from there. Weekly they host conversation hour from 4-6 pm Monday-Friday with small snacks like mixed nuts, savory toasts, seasonal vegetables and meat and cheese boards, all at a great rate. And on Tuesday nights they discount their opened bottles of wine and wine by the glass (from those opened bottles) are $4 from 4 pm to close. Thursdays are our favorite night at Bread & Cup because it’s Pizza Night! With tons of options like potato rosemary (cheve bechamel, roasted potatoes, parmesan, feta) or the traditional pepperoni (red sauce, pepperoni, cream cheese, parmesan, mozzarella) to our favorite, the Red State (tomato pesto, pepperoni, onions, Sriracha, mozzarella). You can’t go wrong with freshest dough topped with the freshest ingredients. And who doesn’t love pizza?
Misty’s ›› A Lincoln staple and available North, South and Downtown Lincoln, Misty’s Burger Madness is worth the wait! These maddening ½-pound fresh Angus burgers are served with hot and crispy fries for $6-8 and are available on Wednesdays at all locations for lunch and for dinner exclusively at the Williamsburg location. The “Husker Burger” is our favorite and features Cajun seasoning, roasted corn and black bean relish, pepper jack cheese, fried tortilla strips and guacamole. You can’t go wrong when there are crunchy tortilla strips involved! Or, if you want something a little more traditional, the “Smoky Blues Burger” is topped with blue cheese and hickory-smoked bacon, served with chipotle mayonnaise. You won’t be sorry you ordered this one!
If you are willing to leave downtown and head south in the city, here are couple we recommend:
Venue Restaurant & Lounge ›› Venue isn’t in the heart of downtown, but the trip to 70th & Pioneers is definitely worth it. First, the Venue has drink specials like wine by the glass for $5 and an assortment of cocktails—a Moscow mule, mojito and the classic martini for just $5. And while Venue has delicious drinks, it’s their “venue bites” that have us rushing to place our order before 6 pm! Try the smoked salmon spread served with fresh dill and capers on toasted marble rye bread with a fresh squeeze of lemon. There is just nothing like it! Add an order of crunchy buttermilk battered pickles and one of their five Venue signature fries—our favorite is the buffalo fries with celery and bleu cheese—and you have yourself a perfect Happy Hour meal to share with friends or co-workers.
Issara ›› located in the strip mall at 17th and Pine Lake, is known for their fresh and authentic fare. The amazing Asian delights offered during their happy hour include lobster rangoon and fried frog legs, and many more gourmet options under $4 plus all their drinks are just $5 with $3 beers. Happy hour runs between 4:30 and 6:30 pm every weekday.
No matter if you’re looking for a daily happy hour deal or a weekly special, our professional recommendation is if you find a place you want to try, give them a quick call. They likely have some sort of happy hour special. And whether you’re visiting Lincoln for the first time or you’re one of the locals, Lincoln restaurants promise to keep you well fed and your taste buds will be in a constant state of happiness. We promise.