Nightlife review: Bar and grill has what you need for a casual night out

By Ashley Strehle Hartman/World-Herald correspondent

Published in the Omaha World-Herald, February 23, 2017

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Tanner’s Bar and Grill

Where: 19102 Q St.

When: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday to Saturday. Kitchen hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday to Saturday

Info: tannersbarandgrill.com or 402-763-4414

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Sometimes you want fancy cocktails with ingredients you can’t pronounce.

But sometimes (most of the time, in my case), you just want to share some beers and burgers with friends. At times like that, you want Tanner’s Bar and Grill.

Tanner’s is a bar and grill chain with close to 20 locations across the Midwest, including spots in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin and, of course, Nebraska. There are two Tanner’s locations in Lincoln and five in the Omaha metro area.

I’ve been to a couple of the locations, but today I’m going to talk about the one I visited most recently — the one in southwest Omaha at 19102 Q St.

Like most of the other Tanner’s locations I’ve visited, it’s spacious while still maintaining a cozy, laid-back vibe. There is ample seating at round, wooden tables and at stools along the massive bar.

In keeping with the bar and grill tradition, there are plenty of televisions so you can catch the game as well as the usual entertainment options: keno, darts and electronic games.

The drinks menu features all the bar and grill classics as well — Budweiser, Miller, Michelob, Coors and Busch, along with the usual imports — Corona, Heineken, Modelo and Dos Equis.

For those more interested in craft brews, Tanner’s has beers from Surly Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewery and local favorites Lucky Bucket Brewing Company and Infusion Brewing Company.

I had a pint of Infusion’s Vanilla Bean Blonde (one of my favorite beers) for $5. This is a fairly easy-drinking beer at 4.8 alcohol by volume, and it has a distinct vanilla flavor. I’d recommend it if you’re interested in branching out to craft beers but you’re leery of typically darker beers like stouts or porters.

I also sampled Oskar Blues Brewery’s Dale Pale Ale, a hoppier beer with hints of citrus and 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. It’s a fairly common craft beer at Nebraska bar and grills.

Overall, though, I’d say Tanner’s has a slightly better than average beer selection for bars of its kind, which is a big plus for beer lovers like me.

I’m also a big lover of bar food, and Tanner’s has plenty of it for decent prices. It offers all the standard menu items — burgers, wings, chicken strips, a bunch of fried and cheesy appetizers, salads and sandwiches.

All of the food is less than $20 and most of it is less than $10.

I had a half pound cheeseburger, which at Tanner’s they call cheese Boogas. I got mine with a generous serving of “Tanner tots” for $8.49. It was a solid bar burger — greasy but not too greasy and so big you probably can’t eat it all at once.

Another popular menu item at Tanner’s is their boneless chicken strips, which they call chicken lips. They make them 10 different ways — battered, grilled, charred, blackened and with a variety of different sauces.

Tanner’s menu says they’ll “make ’em any way you want ’um” and that’s basically Tanner’s motto in a nutshell — friendly customer service delivered in an unpretentious atmosphere.

Tanner’s founder, who is lovingly referred to as Grandpa Tanner, wanted his bar and grills to be: “Friendly purveyors of good times, fine food, and the pause that refreshes.”

From what I’ve seen, they’re doing just that.

Nightlife review: Get your fill at Finnegan’s: Ample servings of bar grub go great with drink specials

By Ashley Strehle Hartman / World-Herald Correspondent

Published in the Omaha World-Herald, February 9, 2017

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Finnegan’s Pub

Where: 4309 S. 120th St.

When: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 12:30 a.m. Sunday

Info: 402-333-6181 or here

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Finnegan’s Pub on South 120th Street, not far from Interstate 80, is a classic Nebraska watering hole that goes big with the food servings.

It has everything you’d expect from your local bar and grill — cheap food and drinks and all of the standard sports bar entertainment.

The pub has plenty of televisions for your sports-viewing needs, Keno, a pool table and darts.

Likewise, its food menu is stuffed with all the bar and grill standbys. Finnegan’s food menu has all the appetizers, wings, wraps, burgers and sandwiches you’d expect from your local brewpub. Almost all of them cost less than $10.

My drinking buddies and I tried burgers and sandwiches, which came in generous portions along with mountains of french fries or tater tots (which you can substitute for a $1).

The Classic Pub Club sandwich, which came with a side for $8.99, was particularly enormous.

Finnegan’s goes big with the appetizers, too.

I’d recommend the loaded potato skins. You get a portion of eight large ones for $7.25. They’re not too greasy, and Finnegan’s doesn’t skimp on the sour cream like some restaurants do.

The pub offers its full kitchen menu from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Finnegan’s drink menu features all of the standard domestic brews — Coors, Miller, Michelob, Budweiser, etc., as well as more specialty beers like seasonal brews from La Vista’s craft brewery, Lucky Bucket Brewing Company.

The night we visited, Finnegan’s offered Lucky Bucket’s Snowsuit, a spiced Belgian Abbey Ale, which at 5.3 percent alcohol by volume is an easy-drinking winter weather brew. Its blend of six spices makes for a complex flavor.

Finnegan’s also offers other specialty brews like Fat Tire, Blue Moon, and Lucky Bucket’s Certified Evil, an imperial oatmeal stout that, at 9.1 percent alcohol by volume, is a heartier beer.

They also serve up the standard imports — Corona, Heineken, Dos Equis and a variety of Guinness offerings.

The pub’s drink menu also features wines and some specialty drinks, including the Original Watermelon, the Big Ginger, Finn’s Kinky Martini and Moscow Mules.

Moscow Mules are a cocktail with vodka, ginger beer and lime served in a copper mug. At Finnegan’s you can also get them flavored, so I made mine raspberry. It was refreshing, like a usual Moscow Mule, and not overly sweet. I’d recommend it.

Finnegan’s has nightly food and drink specials starting at 7 p.m., including 60-ounce pitchers for $7 on Tuesdays and $2 well drinks on Wednesdays.

In terms of seating, Finnegan’s is rather spacious with lots of high tables and low round tables.

They also have comfy office-style chairs that make you want to settle in and stay a while — ideally while snacking on loaded potato skins and sipping a Moscow Mule.