When I go out of town to watch roller derby, one of the things our travelling fan group likes to do is find a (or many) tiki bar in the city where the event is happening. We usually do some research to see what our options are. This recent trip to Omaha, there happened to be a tiki bar across the street from our hotel. ACROSS THE STREET. How amazing is that?!
Our first concern about this place was the name – Firewater Grill. Isn’t “firewater” sort of a derogatory, or at least hinting at, racist term – and oddly enough in the middle of a land with tons of beautiful native American culture? Well, yes, it is. Our second concern was that it’s in a Comfort Inn. Our third concern was the d-baggery of clientele smoking on the outside patio when we arrived. We thought we’d check it out, even if very briefly.
The lobby of the hotel has a tiki statue in a fountain, so at least they got that right, even though it wasn’t anywhere near the entrance to the bar. That’s weird. When we walked into the bar area, it was really well-lit. Like REALLY bright. There is a full bar with some bamboo reeds nailed to it, which serves as their version of a tiki bar. We found our friends (who hadn’t left yet) and sat down. Firewater Grill doesn’t have a tiki drink menu. Unusual, right? They have lots of bud lights and coors and pbr and fireball shots, but they don’t have tiki drinks. We asked about it and were told the bartender could make us whatever we wanted. We rattled off a couple of commonly understood tiki drink names (zombie, scorpion, rum runner, yellow bird, and even a Bahama mama or rum punch), but the server’s expression was blank. They WERE however running a special on mai tai cocktails. Fine. We’ll get that, even though it’s going to come out of a icee machine.
We all commented on the only other tiki related item in the room – a giant plaster tree with a huge chunk out of it where some frat boy’s head clearly impacted after a rousing game of darts. Here is that tree.
The drink arrived and was a mai tai flavored slurpee. Waste of time. We unhappily listened to a guitar duo singing some awful version of 90’s and 2000’s songs and drop a few n-words here and there. Are you serious? What’s wrong with this place?
We looked up the next tiki bar in Omaha and packed up to leave. The server brought our individual checks and my friend LooseChange wondered why her check was completely different than all of ours. I knew she had ordered a margarita, but all the drinks were the same price. Or, so we thought. I want you to look at the drink ticket and tell me what’s wrong with it… Go ahead…
First off how do we get different prices from sub-total to total? Then, why is there an occupancy tax? Do they charge people for sitting? The liquor tax we ARE willing to allow, even though it was not really taste-able in the drink. Then, there is a food tax somehow. I’ll assure you that none of the rest of us got any of these random taxes on our drinks. You might think we’re done with the confusion – but WAIT!!! There’s more. Go ahead and add up these numbers in your head. Better yet, get a calculator. How did they come up with 19 cents??!?!?!?
The server came back and we were laughing openly about the bill. LooseChange asked him about the check and he took it to his manager – who promptly comped the drink and told her not to worry about it. Thankfully. We used Uber to get a ride to the nearest actual tiki bar in Omaha. A mere 15 minutes away, but totally worth the cost to get out of this fake tiki bar.
Despite the internet saying Firewater Grill has tiki-style meals, an island bar, an island in the middle of Omaha, island cuisine, fun dining, “commissioned artwork of Aztec” (their words not mine), this place should be skipped at all costs. It was a complete waste of time and money. Sorry to be harsh, but come on.
I’m not even going to put the business address on here so I don’t accidentally make it easy for you to go here. You can thank me later.