Nightlife review: Laid-back bar opened in 1968 and just keeps growing

By Ashley Strehle Hartman / World-Herald correspondent

Published in the Omaha World-Herald, January 26, 2017

Candlelight Lounge has staying power.

The laid-back, unpretentious pub at 5031 Grover St. has been in business for almost 50 years.

The neighborhood bar opened in 1968 in a narrow storefront in the same, unassuming strip mall it’s in now.

Over the years, Candlelight Lounge has expanded by absorbing the square footage of neighboring businesses as they closed or left.

Now the formerly small establishment is downright spacious. Its ample square footage affords plenty of room for pool tables, lots of seating at large tables, a sizable bar, and entertainment offerings like Keno, darts and electronic games, including my favorite: pinball.

Also, since no good Nebraska watering hole is complete without them, Candlelight Lounge has plenty of strategically-placed televisions for all of your football-watching needs.

As for its drinks, Candlelight offers all the standard mixed drinks and classic beer options you’d expect from your neighborhood sports bar. On tap they have the classics like Budweiser, Guinness and Blue Moon, as well as a few pleasant craft beer surprises.

The night I visited, Candlelight Lounge had one of my favorite local beers on tap. Joel Porter, from Benson’s Infusion Brewing Company, is an English-style porter. It is robust but still very drinkable, and you can really taste the beer’s advertised hints of chocolate and subtle notes of coffee. At more than 7 percent alcohol by volume, it’s a heartier beer, ideal for sipping on a cold, winter’s night.

On the food front, Candlelight Lounge serves up all of the bar and grill standards — burgers, sandwiches, salads, tacos and a whole host of appetizers from chicken wings to fried green beans.

Most of the food on Candlelight Lounge’s menu is less than $10, and the bar and grill also offers daily weeknight food specials such as hot roast beef with mashed potatoes, enchiladas, rib-eye steak, tacos and walleye. Again, each costs less than $10.

The bar serves food from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Candlelight Lounge also serves food on Husker game days and offers takeout.

Candlelight Lounge owner Travis Saint said the bar and grill’s menu is in the process of being revamped and expanded so new offerings will be available soon.

The bar and grill will also soon have a new website, as it is being updated, too. Meantime, customers can check out the bar’s Facebook page, Candlelight Lounge, to stay up to date on events or specials.

Though Candlelight Lounge has a few changes on the horizon, you can expect the neighborhood watering hole to stay true to what has kept it in business for almost five decades: affordable drinks and food served up in a relaxed atmosphere.

“We’re a neighborhood, come-as-you-are bar,” Saint said.


Where: 5031 Grover St.

When: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. Sunday

Info: 402-504-4966 or