The Hive Rock Club and Art Gallery
Where: 1207 Harney St.
When: Open 3:11 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily
Info: 402-889-8595; TheHiveOmaha.com
* * *
It's quite a happening corner we have down there around 12th and Harney. Omaha should take pride in the thriving, homegrown nightlife surrounding the area. We have the Dubliner, The Berry & Rye, Parliament Pub, Blue Sushi and, most recently, the Hive Rock Club and Art Gallery opened its new location in that hub of independent authenticity.
After six weeks as the new kid on the corner, Hive owner Jake Gardner couldn't be happier with his move from the St. Mary's Avenue location. Peering over the upstairs banister, Gardner gestured toward the customers buzzing below (sorry, I held the bee pun as long as I could). “This. Is exactly what I wanted.”
Gardner wanted a lot, and he got a lot. First, a collection of 311 band memorabilia suitable for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit on the local band-turned-superstars.
After Gardner got the thumbs up from the group on a 311 cruise to use the band as a unifying theme for the Hive (a 311 song title), the musicians and manager happily upgraded Gardner's sticker and poster collection to include a gold record, a signed guitar and two of Chad Sexton's retired drum kits, showcased in the second story front windows.
The new Hive boasts four rooms to accommodate a range of social moods. The main bar area looks as if it were plucked from Brooklyn, with a showpiece of a carved wood bar set off by exposed brick walls and lit by flattering chandelier glow. Choose among one of the cozy-cornered tables, ideal for intimate visits, or sit at the bar and take in the artisanship of the woodworking and the bartending.
Gardner's mixology training across the country bloomed into an inspired craft cocktail menu, featuring fresh ingredients and house-made flavor-infused spirits. The infusions allow bartenders to pour a gourmet drink in the time it takes to pour a rum and Coke. Beer drinkers can select among the Hive's 50 varieties.
Adjoining the barroom is the art gallery, a spacious, airy room lined with local works available to buy right off the wall if you'd like. It's quite a nice effect to peruse a dedicated art space on an evening out. It opens up a new conversation category, for sure.
Beyond the art is the concert room, with the stage at the front and standing/dancing space everywhere else. Gardner invested in the sort of sound system smartly devised by a guy who's heard enough concerts to know what will work in that particular venue.
All this, and we haven't event been upstairs yet — my favorite spot, an observer's dream. Just pick what you want to oversee, the band and dance floor on one side, or the barroom action on the other side. It's also a great space to be able to step away from noisy areas and cozy up on a sofa for a comfortable chat.
Live music is slated for Thursday through Saturday nights, with this and every Thursday packing 'em in for reggae night.
Of his accomplishment, Gardner said, “Our mission is to be the best representation of local art, music and cocktails.”
So, yes, he got exactly what he wanted.