The Homy Inn
Where: 1510 N. Saddle Creek Rd.
When: Open daily 1 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Info: (402) 554 5815, www.HomyInn.com
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The leisure recipe at Saddle Creek's Homy Inn hasn't changed much in its decades of existence: Grab your friends and cozy up around a nice, cold pitcher of champagne and some hot peanuts served in a two-sided dog dish (no shells to sweep up that way, see?)
Open since 1956, the good time purveyor has grown to be a local institution, beloved by patrons for its charm and hospitality. All are made to feel at home at the quirky little dive, and in 2006, Homy was named one of Esquire magazine's Top 50 bars in the United States. Yay, Omaha!
The Homy Inn, which changed names from “Homey” early on, when there turned out to be room for only four letters on the original sign, now features five varieties of champagne on tap, served by the flute or the pitcher. The beer selection now showcases more than 100 bottled offerings and 25 draft varieties. They also have an icy cold Tuaca liquor dispenser — a personal favorite.
While booze abounds, the Homy's most impressive collection is actually an inedible one — an army of pop culture and political memorabilia, carefully categorized and artfully arranged, to spark your imagination and conversations.
Part bar, part Americana museum, the Homy began displaying historical effects in 1967 when founder Maynard Finkle decked his walls for the Nebraska Centennial using his father's cache of mid-century newspapers. Finkle's son, Terry, who bought the business in 1985, explained that between the father-son pack rat team and the generosity of patrons with treasures over the past 50 years, the Homy now boasts a collection of memorabilia where every object has an authentic local story behind it. For instance, a former Miss Omaha donated her slew of old restaurant menus, which adorn the Homy ceiling. She received free champagne for five years for that. Not a bad deal.
Virtually every space in the place is objectified with vintage gold: Baseball cards, ashtrays, bar trays, Beatles paraphernalia, tap handles, photographs, promotional materials, political campaign buttons, special-edition cans and decanters — it would take several flutes of strawberry champagne to lay eyes on it all. While the chain restaurants try to scrape together American artifacts for decoration, Finkle wants us to know, “There's no place like the Homy.”
A cozy space, the Homy is furnished with its small bar, a handful of gathering-sized tables and a few intimate booths. Sgt. Peffer's Italian restaurant across the street is happy to deliver a feast unto you, should you need more substantial fare than hot nuts and popcorn. Enjoy happy hour discounts from 1 to 7 p.m. Monday- Friday, and when your bar tab hits the $100 mark, you get a free T-shirt. Again, not a bad deal.
For those who like to drop a few bucks in the jukebox, the Homy has a beloved and enviable AMI jukebox, which offers access to virtually any album, unlike the limited selection of the weaker yet ubiquitous TouchTunes jukeboxes.
As if you needed an excuse to pop in and take a look around, remember that it's celebration season, which Finkle says is a particularly special time at the Homy. Regulars from far and wide travel back to Omaha for the holidays and then make their Homy pilgrimages to drink from the champagne tap and snack from the dog dish in the name of reunion. And, oh, does the Homy light it up with seasonal decorations.
Finkle adds with a laugh, “As if we need any more stuff!”