Hasting Pub Tour Part 3
If you haven’t been following my adventures thus far, it’s too late now. You’ll have to go back and read them all yourself. It’s too awesome to recap. For those who have been along for the ride this whole time, welcome back! I hope you all had a chance to go visit some of the bars I have been wandering through these last few months, and I was glad to see a few people out and about when I went on this last little tour. To jog your memory, I went to Rivals, The Second Street Slammer and Bullseye’s.
- Hastings Pub Tour Part 1 http://thehword.com/feature/hastings-night-life/
- Hastings Pub Tour Part 2http://thehword.com/feature/hastings-pub-tour/
My night started at Rivals. I will say this for Rivals: They have my favorite appetizer of all time on the menu. You can’t get better than deep fried pickles. Seriously, I could eat them all day. Every day. When I saw this, my heart melted and life got better. And these aren’t just the cheap fried pickles you get at the fair. These are the fancy, batter dipped, seasoned and salted and amazing to snack on fried pickles that only happen when an eatery wants to impress you. I could go on about the pickles, but I think I need to leave a little mystery so you can experience them yourself. My other favorite things about Rivals were the sandwich choices, the drink selection, and the patio. I haven’t experienced a good patio bar in a long time. Not since the Reno. And wouldn’t you know it, I found three in one night (more on the other two later). The Rivals patio was pretty much the Ferrari of patios. It was a half in/half out kind of thing, with some open sky patio seating and part of it under the roof, so if it were still raining outside one could still sit on the comfy patio seats (which are rocking seats, by the way) and watch the TV on the wall. Brilliant! Rivals also made a sandwich that was amazing. I didn’t actually order it, because I had two other bars to go to, and I need to watch my figure. I did have my wingman Heather with me, and she ate a sandwich (or half) and the small (possibly huge) bite I took made me wish I was eating one all by myself. Rivals has definitely made it on my list of bars to go back to for food. The last thing I will note about Rivals is how much I love the mixed drinks. I am a sucker for mixed drinks, and these were superb. Not too small, not too large and definitely mixed well. It was a near perfect booze-to-soda ratio, and that’s hard to come by sometimes. But seriously, the fried pickles.
My next stop on the bar tour put me back on 2nd street. I was going to have a meal at Bullseye’s. And that’s really what I love the most about the place. The menu there is out of this world. Between the daily food specials and the number of appetizers to munch on, there is no way someone couldn’t find something good to eat. I started my meal with a bottle of 312 (the best beer to enjoy with a meal, I swear) and a basket of gizzards. I was torn, because I really like the fried cauliflower. And the onion rings. And the fries. You can see why this is hard. And I’m trying to watch my figure. But I settled on gizzards. And I ate them. And I hardly shared any with Heather. After my appetizer (and my first beer) I went out to see who was on the patio. This was the second awesome patio of the night. It might have been because the night was beautiful. It might have been because it has those towering heater stands that keep you warm in the chilly months. Not quite sure, but it was a stellar patio experience. It was from the patio that I ordered my meal (I had to flip a coin to determine which sandwich I would be ordering, because there are so many choices) and from the patio that I enjoyed my fruity, blendy, boozy drink. I don’t generally ask for fruity, blendy, boozy drinks because my old roommate was a bartender, and he informed me that every time someone orders a drink that involves a blender, a little piece of the bartender’s soul dies. So it makes me feel terrible to do it, but I will speak to you truthfully for a few moments about how utterly awesome the bartenders are at Bullseye’s. I don’t know if they send them off to “Tom Cruise Cocktail school” or what it is, but they pour some tasty drinks and the bar has a great selection of beer. Bullseye’s pretty much has a lot of the things I look for in a bar. And I wasn’t even there on a live music night or a Husker game day. Let me tell you, those are the days to get in early, start with breakfast, and camp out at a table all day.
My last stop on the trip is nothing unusual for most of the Hastings bar community. It is a long standing tradition (from what I observe) that Saturday nights should always always ALWAYS end at the Second Street Slammer. I have a lot of friends who are a few years older than me, and when they were in their early 20’s, it was the same. I can probably assume it has been this way for many years. But what’s not to love about the Slammer (lovingly called ‘The Slamdome’ or ‘The Dome’ because of the rounded roof of the quonset hut)? The staff is always really nice (not to mention great at keeping my drink full and in my hand) and the music is always good. It really is the only place in Hastings to go dancing (until I go check out the new night club in downtown Hastings) and that is the really important part of a good night. It’s not the great food you ate 2 hours ago, or the awesome pickles you had 4 hours ago. It’s the dancing you do at the end of the night in a vain attempt to burn off all of the calories you’ve taken in from fried food, blended fruity drinks, and beer. And seriously, nobody looks better on the dance floor than me after a night of bar hopping. On top of that, the Slammer’s patio is quite possibly the grand daddy of all patios. They have a reserve bar set up outside, picnic tables, bar top tables, umbrellas, and the opportunity to watch dedicated athletes (not me) play sand volleyball all summer long. And if you haven’t noticed the newest addition to the outdoor features, just drive by some night. You’ll see the glowing neon palm tree from 3 blocks away.
After my last dance and last call, I had Heather drive me safely to my house by way of a late night sandwich shop. As we drove, we discussed where we should go next month. Heather pointed out that I hadn’t been to a single bar on the South side of town. It possibly has to do with me not knowing any bars on that side of town except the Keno. But that is our destination. We will make our way south of the railroad tracks in an attempt to explore the various watering holes of Hastings. We begin promptly at 9 p.m. at the Keno on ‘J’ street on August 19. Don’t be late, because I probably will be.
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