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Best College World Series Bars

For 2 weeks the college baseball world descends upon Omaha
Best College World Series Bars
Published on June 15, 2010 : 11 comments

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Omaha truly comes alive during the College World Series, and there’s no better place to experience this than the local watering hole. A great CWS bar may not have a velvet rope and valet parking (then again, what really does in Omaha?), but good beer, a little food, and a rowdy crowd is a must. College World Series bars are broken down by neighborhood.

Let’s start by Rosenblatt
, the classic home of the College World Series. If you spin around three times and walk straight, you’ll probably find some bar, beer garden, or BBQ to drink at, but if you’re looking for a little local tradition:

1. Zesto

"Root beer float, hold the root"
Zesto's Drive-Thru in OmahaZesto’s Drive-Thru in OmahaZesto’s is a drive-thru ice cream parlour claiming to serve “the best cheeseburgers in town.” Conveniently, they also serve an awful lot of beer during the College World Series, becoming something of an Omaha staple in the process. If the makeshift beer tent and hand written white board drink specials don’t scream “temporary liquor license” to you than nothing will, but Zesto’s survives off of the same charm that has kept the College World Series in Omaha for over half a century: family appeal, value, and familiarity triumphing over the gaudy improvements some call "high quality." If you can’t enjoy their 22 flavors of milkshakes along with some cheap beer and fries, you, sir, are not an American.

There are a number of classic Midtown CWS Bars. This is where the true fans come to enjoy the post game and enjoy the spectacle on their team’s off days. They are not to be missed:

2. Pauli’s Inc.

"A College World Series tradition"
Pauli’s has maintained its spot as one of the must-visit bars for the College World Series since the early 1980’s when owner Paul Griego painted a Chicago Cubs logo on the sidewalk, attracting the attention of ESPN crew members looking for a night out. The power of the Worldwide Leader became clear as chatter from the crew lead to more and more fans showing up (not to mention coverage from The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated).

These days, on a good night, the bar will do over 3,000 fans, and is a must-see for anyone looking to indulge in the drinking, taunting, and reveling that make sports so much fun. For two weeks the parking lot overflows with over-served patrons, so its best to enjoy Pauli’s now before it transforms back into a seedy sports bar for the remainder of the year.

3. Barrett’s Barleycorn Pub & Grill

"Bar of choice for traveling Tigers fans"
Barrett's Barleycorn Pub + GrillBarrett’s Barleycorn Pub + GrillThe (almost) official bar for one of Omaha’s favorite teams, perennial baseball power LSU, Barrett’s Barleycorn brings a little of the Mardi Gras spirit to Omaha each year the Tiger’s are in town, and Omaha is surely the better for it. Barrett’s is a definite step up in class from the average dive. You might think of it as a sports bar where it’d be acceptable to take a date—as long as it’s not game night. During the CWS, expect the burgers, beers, and Mardi Gras beads to fly, with more than a few spirited volleyball contests taking place on the sand court (they also sponsor league play).

4. McFly’s Center Street Tavern

From the Tiger Droppings message board:

Person 1: “Is [Barrett’s] the only LSU bar in Omaha?”
Person 2: “Exactly how many bars does LSU need in a Midwestern city 2000 miles from [Baton Rouge]?”

LSU Tailgate Party at McFly'sLSU Tailgate Party at McFly’sThat’s a very good point Tiger’s fans. Regardless, Omaha has two. McFly’s claims the “Ultimate LSU Tailgate Party!” in addition to a full slate of other CWS parties: live music (including the famous Paul and Joyce and the Sidetrack Band), a beer garden/tent area, and food a plenty. Another good stop if you enjoy rowdiness, plasma television technology, and such gastronomic innovation as “all you can eat tacos” (Thursday, $4.99, natch).

The Old Market might not be the most “authentic” crowd, but it’s a great place to go out to eat, shop, people watch, and watch the game, plus it’s probably a lot closer to your hotel than the Midtown bars on Leavenworth. If you want a more family friendly experience, perhaps the Old Market is the place for you:The Stadium ClubThe Stadium Club

5. The Stadium Club

"A good sports bar with a great location"
Think the Market is either snooty, cheesy, or any other adjective ending in y that doesn’t translate to "awesome place to watch the College World Series?" You should check out Stadium Club. A whole mess of plasma screens (11 at last count), a daily food special, the obligatory suds offerings, and an ideal location make The Stadium Club a great place to start out a night in Downtown Omaha if the CWS is still your main focus.

Get thee to NoDo. NoDo (or North Downtown) does sort of sound like a knock-off New York neighborhood, but it has something Queens can’t boast about: a yearly shot at the World Series (that’s right, we’re making Mets-related pro baseball jokes!). With the new TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in NoDo, the epicenter of college baseball has shifted significantly, within walking distance of major hotels, the historic Old Market, and a host of vendors, bars, and eateries ready to serve (and over-serve) you:

6. The Old Mattress Factory Bar & Grill

"A classic Omaha bar that pulls out extra stops for the CWS"
Omaha stalwarts might not immediately think of The Old Mattress Factory Bar as an absolutely necessary stop on the College World Series bar trail, but hear us out. For one thing, it’s a lot closer to downtown hotels than many traditional bar options. For two things, they have one heck of a beer garden/patio on premises, and truly know how to throw a tent party like no other (with an additional sprinkling of live music inside). Thricely (?), whether it’s the beer garden they sponsor at The ‘Blatt (Rosenblatt Stadium may ye rest in peace), or their stone’s throw location one block from the new stadium, the Old Mattress Factory is never far from the action. A big ‘ol bar, with a big ‘ol menu, and a good reputation: you could do a lot worse.

7. The Union Pizzeria & Sports Bar

"Set to be the World Series’ new sports bar of choice"
Union Sports Bar WaitressesUnion Sports Bar WaitressesAnother perfectly good sports bar that benefits greatly from the World Series’ move from South Omaha’s Rosenblatt to North Downtown’s TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. The Union is a fairly large with a big-sized patio to match. The inside is bedecked with all manner of Omaha related regalia (UNL, UNO, and Creighton are all well represented), but the bar is not above welcoming in outsiders, as evidenced by its decision to don the orange of the University of Virginia when a large group of Cavaliers made The Union its temporary home. Look for the Union to gain an even stronger following in the years to come!

8. Goodnights Pizza

"Good food and drink until late into the night"
More of a bar with a pizza problem than the other way around, it’s virtually impossible to beat Goodnights’ location when it comes to the new stadium. You won’t need to mark this one on your to do list so much as find yourself naturally wandering into the open garage doors that beckon patrons in lieu of walls during the warmer months. A lengthy list of pizza options, shots, and a some cheap beers on tap, mixed with spacious confines and a friendly, fun staff virtually ensure that Goodnights will be an Omaha College World Series favorite for years to come.

jordyAn writer since 2008, Jordy freely admits he's waiting for his golden parachute "anxiously." He microblogs @jordyclements + macroblogs


tiger fan (not verified) says:

June 17, 2010 : 11 years 5 days ago

tiger fan's picture

The Union has been more than what we expected from your article. They have taked in the Clemson Tiger fans with open arms. I would have to say this will be the place to go for years to come.

tiger fan (not verified) says:

June 17, 2010 : 11 years 5 days ago

tiger fan's picture

The Union is more than expected , we are Clemson Tiger fans and have been welcomed with open arms by there wonderful staff. The food is excellent and I can already tell the Union will be the place to go in the years to come

mamashepp says:

June 24, 2010 : 10 years 52 weeks ago

mamashepp's picture

I sure hope they figure out a way to get room for Zesto to have a presence at the new stadium. The Series just wouldn’t be the same without them!

jordy says:

June 24, 2010 : 10 years 52 weeks ago

jordy's picture

What do you think, would a Zesto’s ice cream and beer truck work for you? The move will certainly affect the history of the tournament, but I’m excited to be honest, it’s going to be great for the future of the CWS!

mamashepp says:

June 24, 2010 : 10 years 51 weeks ago

mamashepp's picture

Yes, indeed, Jordy; that would work for me! The new stadium itself will be great. I just hope they remember that the atmosphere outside the stadium is equally important and make room for all of the vendors and activities without charging prohibitive fees.

mamashepp says:

June 29, 2010 : 10 years 51 weeks ago

mamashepp's picture

Very excited to hear on the news today that Zesto will have a new location by the new stadium!

steve (not verified) says:

February 7, 2011 : 10 years 19 weeks ago

steve's picture

Union is the place for sure, hands down the best staff and atmosphere. Can’t wait

Sarah(Virgina Fan) (not verified) says:

February 7, 2011 : 10 years 19 weeks ago

Sarah(Virgina Fan)'s picture

Been here two years in a row, can’t wait to make it back. Here is my list of the top bars by the new stadium:
1. Union
2. Mattress
3. Slowdown
4 Barley’s
5 Good Nights
6 Farrels
7 DJ’s Dugout

I highly recommend the top 2. I have had great service and food. They truly make you feel like you are at home and make it a point to remember you.

jordy says:

February 8, 2011 : 10 years 19 weeks ago

jordy's picture

@Sarah That’s a strong list. I’ve never eaten at Union, but they certainly have the sports bar feeling down. Excited to see how the outdoor “drinking/tailgate/BBQ” culture changes with the new stadium. Should be a great CWS!

matt (not verified) says:

February 8, 2011 : 10 years 19 weeks ago

matt's picture

Its good to see some action going on here, the CWS will be here before we know it.

Nate (not verified) says:

May 1, 2011 : 10 years 7 weeks ago

Nate's picture

I am a LSU fan in town for a wedding for a couple that we met at last years CWS. One of the groomsmen gave us tickets for Sundays Creighton vs. Bradley game, wow that staduim is really nice, of course we had on our tiger gear so we were welcomed with the normal Omaha hospitality. Since we were in the area we decided to check out the local bars, we googled best bars and ran across this website and took the advice of Sarah above and she is not far off. We first went to Union(closest one ) and had a couple and met their staff and what seemed to be the owner. This is a great place and wonderful staff, they actually joined us on our next visit to Barleys for some hot wings( if Creighton scored more than 6 runs you got six wings free) Wings were okay, service was just as good as Union. The two Staffs seemed to know eachother very well and next thing we new our group and some of the staff from both Union and Barleys took us to the other stops , Mattress Company and Goodnights. I would have to say that most the staffs from Mattress, Union, and Barleys know each other and supports one another for one of them was borrowing soda from the other …Goodnights ..has a nice location but not what I feel is CWS standards…the others seem to have that passion for the area.We went the Slowdown , great place to have a drink or two…we are now at Union and wanted to get this on here before I forget. Omaha you sure do it right, I cant say which bar is better or worse I would just say the following will see us again in June, Union,Barleys,Mattress Co.and Slowdown.Sidenote, actor Micheal Pitt is sitting in the lobby of the Union, didnt expect to see that….See Ya in June and well done on the new park….