Best College World Series Bars
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:
"Root beer float, hold the root"
Zesto’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.
"Bar of choice for traveling Tigers fans"
The (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).
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]?”
That’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:
"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:
"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.
"Set to be the World Series’ new sports bar of choice"
Another 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!
"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.