5 Lincoln Husker Hangouts
In Lincoln, you'll find that Husker hangouts are just a "Go Bid Red" shout away.
(This story originally appeared in the November/December 2014 issue of Nebraska Life Magazine)
If you've got the good fortune to be in Lincoln on game day, but don't have a ticket into Memorial Stadium, here are our 5 favorite capital city spots to hangout and take part in some good ol' fashioned team spirit.
Barry’s Bar and Grill
Just four blocks from the stadium, Barry’s became the ultimate Husker hangout soon after its opening in 1959, where fans crave the atmosphere and the Big Suh-sized chicken wings. There are five bars across Barry’s 15,000 square feet, and the game can be watched on 22 flat-screen TVs as well as a quartet of 120-inch projector screens.
“We’re definitely Husker Central,” said Garrett Lomeli, who has been the manager at Barry’s since its reopening two years ago under new ownership. Don’t blame the Barry’s team if they tend to look down on the rivals, since Lomeli claims they have the only operating rooftop bar in the city. In all kinds of weather, about 300 UNL loyalists atop the corner of Ninth and Q streets will give a shout-out from the rooftop to the nearby stadium masses.
“We’re doing this all day from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m.,” Lomeli said. “Customers don’t usually last that long, but some of them give it a good try.”
Brewsky’s Food & Spirits
There are a half dozen of these watering holes in Lincoln and Omaha, but the Haymarket location is less than a mile from the stadium and it’s a prime outpost for Husker Nation. Now celebrating its 10th year at the north Eighth Street site, sports fans and members of Brewsky’s MVP Club are drawn to the 40 TV screens. The three floors include a patio, but the basement is where the bar’s featured post-game Blazin’ Pianos contest hits a high note with fans.
“They always end up playing the Husker fight song on the dueling pianos,” said manager David Wacker.
Celebrating its third year at the old Boomer’s Printing building at 10th and P streets, the Single Barrel pours local craft beer and more than a hundred whiskey selections. What really gets the fans rowdy is the delightfully notorious Sidetrack Band, which has entertained generations with its raucous Husker-themed parodies. In addition to a 20-foot projection TV screen, the Single Barrel also touts an enclosed 10,000-square-foot venue for tailgating known as the Garage. All are welcome, even a victorious Michigan crowd that rented out the space last year. “Both sides were cheering, and everyone was really cordial,” said manager Dayton Spomer, a UNL grad. “It makes for a fun atmosphere.”
We don’t know if Coach Bo would have shared in the fun and games on that afternoon.
The newest region for Husker Nation is the sidewalk village near the Pinnacle Bank Arena in an entertainment district known as the Railyard. Hundreds of fans can tailgate in the courtyard and cheer on the Huskers for free as they stare up at the Railyard’s version of Times Square with a 750-square-foot outdoor video display known as the Cube. The bigger of its two screens is 35 feet long and 15 feet high. A short stroll away is Gate 25 with 14 TVs of its own. It was the first Railyard restaurant to debut, kicking off just in time for last year’s season opener, and its name is a takeoff of the 24 Memorial Stadium gates less than a mile away.
A tapas menu is an audible for routine gridiron fare. The Big Red choice of beverage at this round bar is, of course, the very red Bloody Mary, said sure-handed bartender Max McKillip, a senior at UNL. “I’ve never fumbled a Bloody Mary,” McKillip vowed.
Misty’s Steakhouse and Brewery
Although there’s another Misty’s by the stadium, the original Husker landmark on Havelock Avenue is worth the five-mile jaunt to north Lincoln. It opened in 1963, and its first grill barely held six burgers. Since then the grill and the game day crowd has grown. Thousands have dined here on classic prime rib and garlic mashed potatoes, surrounded by Huskers memorabilia, a collection of helmets and 1970s decor. Many famed Husker heroes and TV personalities have visited, and even Lil’ Red has bellied up to the sunken bar designed like a football by the original owner, the late Bob Milton. The special spices used on Misty’s famous prime rib are no longer mixed by rolling a barrel down the alley, but one tradition still in effect is the UNL band dropping by on Friday evenings.