The cuisine throughout Nebraska is overwhelmingly hearty meat and potatoes, and for good reason. One of the state’s earlier slogans was the Beef State, and few can argue the taste merits of corn-fed Nebraskan chops. In Omaha and Lincoln you are likely to find ethnic restaurants offering some variety, but be prepared to eat a lot of classic Midwest dishes. Fortunately, you get incredible value when you eat or drink and this is farming country, so you can count on excellent locally-grown food cooked the right way at the right price.
Bars and Pubbing in Nebraska
If you have a hankering for a big night out with a group of locals you should stick to the college towns of Lincoln or Omaha. Few other places in Nebraska offer much more than a couple of sleepy bars with a pool table and a juke box. The rowdiest scene is usually in Lincoln, home to the Cornhuskers. Head down to O Street, one of America’s longest "main streets," and you will have your pick of dozens of lively bars, pubs and dives heavily frequented by students.
Lincoln’s downtown corridor between 12th and 16th Streets is where to focus your energy if you want to catch some local music and get social. The capital’s live music scene is the best in Nebraska, particularly at Duffy’s (1412 East O Street, Lincoln) a legendary venue. Jake’s (101 N. 14th Street, Lincoln) is the hotspot for sophisticated drinking and a slick cigar room, as is Barrymore’s (124 N. 13th Street, Lincoln) for an upscale evening of cocktails. Bars around Nebraska close at 2 am.
Omaha is just as lively as Lincoln, just a little less student-oriented. The renovated downtown warehouse district called Old Market is the best place to start. Grab a few pints of craft beer at the popular Upstream Brewing Company (514 S. 11th Street, Omaha) or catch some live music at Slowdown (729 N. 14th Street, Omaha). America’s largest community theater group is based in Omaha if you prefer a more thoughtful night out. The Omaha Community Playhouse (6915 Cass Street, Omaha) has shows throughout the year, while the Holland Performing Arts Center regularly hosts the talented Omaha Symphony.
Dining and Cuisine in Nebraska
Even the smallest hamlet in Nebraska has a handful of reliably tasty diners and cafés. You can expect some of the most delicious steaks in the world here, along with a bounty of fresh vegetables. Omaha has the state’s best dining scene, with some of the country’s most famous steak houses like Gorat’s (4917 Center Street, Omaha) and Anthony’s (7220 F Street, Omaha).
Omaha also has some great ethnic restaurants covering the usual nations. But where this city really shines is its American tavern cuisine. Down in the Old Market check out M’s Pub (422 S. 11th Street, Omaha) with its open kitchen and slick bistro menu. The most scenic dining in Nebraska is at Rick’s Café Boatyard (345 Riverfront Drive, Omaha) where 1,000 diners can enjoy the riverside views on its massive deck along the Missouri River. Live music at night and a well-rounded menu make this one of Omaha’s top spots.