Where: 5142 N. 90th St.
When: Noon to 2 a.m. daily
Info: 402-571-6262; LibraryPubOmaha.com
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The Library Pub: It's where the smart people drink. Sign on the beer cooler says so.
Intelligence may just trickle down from the top, as owner Mark Smith practiced law for more than 20 years before taking the reigns at the 30-year-old Library more than six years ago. He smartly expanded, renovated and revitalized the pub to be a desirable destination way out there in northwest Omaha. He found himself a point of differentiation by building the largest liquor collection in town.
The Pub's impressive liquor library boasts more labels than some libraries have books — about 800 at last count. Primarily a whiskey bar, guests can choose from between 220 and 240 scotches, ranging from $6 to $75 a pour. Additionally, the Library's stylish cabinets along the perimeter of the room are filled with between 80 and 85 bourbons, 60 tequilas and 30 rums. Then there's the draft beer menu, which Smith quipped includes “39 good beers, plus Bud Light.” If you prefer bottles, he's got coolers full of those, too.
Smith's beverage collection likens to a living, evolving entity and grows every month. The enthusiastic owner said he adds about five scotch labels alone per month to the roster, and he procures singleton kegs of import and craft beer. When the keg is drained, he cleans the line and rotates in another variety.
“Craft beer drinkers aren't label-loyal, they're section loyal,” Smith observes. Wheat beer drinkers aren't going to want a Blue Moon every time; they want to try something different.
You can certainly learn a little something at the Library, if you're open to it. The expert staff delights in recommending new labels to customers based on the flavors they know they enjoy. Smith manages to win over guests who carry an attitude of, “My Grandpa drank scotch, and I don't like it.”
“If you tell me your taste profile, I will find you a scotch that falls in there,” he said.
More formal learning is available at the Library's monthly tastings. Every other session features scotch, and other liquors take a turn in between. Jan. 25 is set for a special rye whiskey tasting, paired with gourmet appetizers by acclaimed chef Tom Meade (6:30 p.m.; $50). Seating is limited to 30 whiskey folks, so call to reserve your place.
Weekly events include craft beer night on Tuesdays, where beer is discounted by a buck. Wednesdays feature singer/songwriter night — live acoustic music enhanced by Smith's expert and custom sound system, which allows artists to simply plug in and play. Music is slated for Saturdays nights as well starting Jan. 18.
Baseball fans, you've got a new hot spot at the Library. Smith boasted that the sport's opening is such an event that about 30 of his regulars take the day off of work for the baseball bash, bringing in potluck offerings for a bountiful grill out. Potlucks aren't just for baseball's opening day. Special occasions to feast are frequent enough that the occasional Crock-Pot is nestled among the scotch.
And, yes, the Library indeed offers a book collection for the borrowing. Smith and his wife fill the shelves with their personal titles after they read them, and customers donate as well. The selection piqued the interest of this devoted columnist, with plenty of biography selections, plus fiction authors ranging from Tom Clancy to Jacqueline Susann.
So, smarty-pants, get thee to the Library and get schooled in the language of liquor. You might just learn something.