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Pauli’s Bar to live anew at Aksarben Village

Pauli’s Bar to live anew at Aksarben Village

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An Omaha legend will reopen in a new location this fall.

Pauli’s Bar, a former College World Series hot spot, will set up shop in Aksarben Village in mid-October, said owner Paul Griego. Pauli’s will move into the first floor of the building under construction for Pacific Life Insurance Co.

Pauli’s opened in 1982 at 4016 Leavenworth St. It would serve as a haunt for revelers and regulars for nearly 30 years. The ESPN television crew was known to party there during the CWS.

“For 30-some years we were a big part of Omaha nightlife,” Griego said.

Pauli’s ended its run on Leavenworth in 2011 when Griego sold the spot to regular customers John Steichen and Dave Eckley. They reopened the space as the Recovery Room. But the building was demolished in late 2013 to make way for a parking lot for the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The Pauli’s name has lived on as an Eppley Airfield bar that has been open for 17 years. It was also revived for a short-lived party spot on the River City Star during the 2013 CWS.

Griego said the new space — 6750 Mercy Road, Suite 101 — will be cleaner than the old Pauli’s, which had been a bar for many decades before Pauli’s moved in.

There will be a U-shaped bar similar to the one in the Leavenworth location. Griego also plans for outdoor seating. He wants the bar to have a neighborhood feel.

“We want to become the neighborhood bar in Aksarben Village,” he said.

Former TV sports photographer Bob Horder spent nearly every night at Pauli’s for years, witnessing “everything and everybody.” He is eager to see the new spot.

But he won’t be going every night, as he used to. “I’m too old for that anymore,” he said.

Griego is opening the space with four partners: John Hughes and Joe Kutilek of Magnum Development Corp., which developed the village’s entertainment zone and is co-developer of the Pacific Life building; Jeff Lohmeier, a longtime Omaha bartender; and Bob Callahan, formerly of the Westcon Group. Callahan and Lohmeier will work full time as general managers of Pauli’s.

The construction of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Baxter Arena, which is scheduled to open this fall, is one of many reasons Griego said he picked the new spot.

He also lived in the nearby Happy Hollow neighborhood for many years and would often walk to Aksarben Village after the development opened in 2008 on land that formerly was part of the Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack.

The neighborhood has had quite a makeover from what it was before, Griego said.

“There is a history there.”

Contact the writer:, 402-444-1149

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