By Kyle Eustice
Upon walking into the now iconic neighborhood bar, The Homy Inn, there’s an unmistakable sense of nostalgia that wafts through the air. Rare baseball cards, Beatles memorabilia and vintage newspapers line the walls of the quaint establishment. The name was shortened from “The Homey” to “Homy” after all the letters wouldn’t fit on the original sign, however, the name still serves its purpose of exuding a warm, “homey” feeling.
Founded in 1956 by the late Maynard Finkle, The Homy Inn quickly became a hangout for the local hot rod aficionados and beer lovers alike. However, it was just three little words, “champagne on tap,” that really created a buzz. Served by the pitcher or flute, it has become an attractive novelty that people from all across the country come to enjoy. Finkle was unaware at the time that his innovative idea would explode with popularity and put The Homy Inn on the map. In 1967, Finkle got even more creative and started putting up the memorabilia to celebrate the Nebraska Centennial then found some of his father’s old newspapers to slap on the walls. The newspapers date all the way back to 1910 and end around the 70’s so historical events such as captures of legendary criminals and natural disasters are preserved as long as The Homy Inn is standing. In the 1970’s, the former Miss Omaha donated an arsenal of old restaurant menus that are tacked up on the ceiling. She got free champagne for 5 years from Finkle for that favor.
After running the place for decades, Maynard Finkle sold the business to his son, Terry, in 1985. The younger Finkle has been at the helm ever since. Under his management, it has grown from a low-key lounge to an Omaha institution. The occasional celebrity pops in while during the day, the “Cheers” vibe is in full effect. Plus, if you run a $100 tab, you get a free T-shirt. What’s not to love? In 2006, Esquire Magazine named The Homy Inn one of the Top 50 Bars in the United States. Clearly, the word is spreading. With an incredible management team that includes bartender Beth Reilly, assistant manager Sean O’Malley and, of course, owner/manager Terry Finkle, it’s a well-oiled machine.
Open 7 days a week, the crowds are steady, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, when the tables are packed and the bubbly is flowing. The bottom line- there are so many interesting things to see, you’ll never get bored. The Homy Inn has survived all this time because it’s genuine. It’s the type of “dive bar” where you can sit back and relax while the impeccable service and cozy ambience speaks for itself.