Tag Archives: Mercury Lounge

Raising the Bar

June 13, 2019 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

For many event-goers heading to a concert, play, or other performance downtown, Mercury is a popular pick. The cocktail lounge at the corner of 16th and Harney streets draws pre- and post-show crowds, and it hits all the right notes: top-notch drinks, a proximity to several arts and entertainment venues, and an appealing menu of dishes perfect for sharing.

It’s a comfortable and inviting place, equally suitable for relaxing at the bar with a glass of red, enjoying happy hour with friends, or noshing on late-night snacks available until 2 a.m. Guests can kick back with cocktails on one of the couches or settle in at a table for a casual meal. The latter is the route we took during a recent visit.

meat and cheese board, Mercury Lounge

Small plates such as steamed mussels and meat-and-cheese boards, sandwiches, salad, and soup are available, along with heartier steak and chicken dishes. The food menu is short, but it’s solid and doesn’t skimp on creativity. Everything my dining partner and I tried was high quality and well prepared.

Earlier this year, Mercury added some new dishes to its seasonally changing menu. Among the new offerings are pan-seared scallops. Elegantly plated, the dish features three big, sweet scallops with a deeply golden crust, served with roasted parsnips, Brussels sprouts, and brown butter vinaigrette. Brown butter also shows up in the honey glazed carrots. Cooked until tender but still bright, sliced carrots are served on a bed of creamy polenta, topped with toasted walnuts for a nice textural contrast, and sprinkled with snipped chives.

pan-seared sea scallops, Mercury Lounge

Toasted bread dunked in rich, melty beer cheese? Yes, please. Mercury’s beer cheese fondue, served with slices of crusty baguette, is a comforting, decadent dish. The only downside is that, if you linger over it too long, it cools off quite a bit and loses its gooey goodness.

Rigatoni with bolognese is a memorable gem. Made with a blend of ground chicken and pork, the lush, meaty sauce—boosted with Calabrian chili for a little heat—clings to the pasta’s ridges and delivers big-time flavor. A dusting of grated Grana Padano cheese provides a salty-savory finish. A vegetarian version of mushroom bolognese is also available.

Opened in May 2016, Mercury has a laid-back vibe and doesn’t feel cramped, even when it’s busy. There’s a variety of seating formats, including sleek, low-slung couches arranged around coffee tables. Chic light fixtures, bright red chairs, vintage tile, exposed brick, and plenty of plants add to the visual appeal.

The idea behind Mercury, says co-owner Clark Ross, was to create a comfortable atmosphere with quality drinks at affordable prices, the kind of place where he and the other owners would want to hang out. After moving from Baltimore to Omaha in 2011, Ross led the bar program at the Boiler Room Restaurant in the Old Market, followed by a stint at Nite Owl in the Blackstone District before opening Mercury.

cocktail at Mercury Lounge

Located on the ground floor of the Limelight apartments, the bar occupies the former space of Brodkey’s Jewelers. Mercury owners, including certified sommelier Sara Mellor, converted an old walk-in vault into a wine cellar. Around 100 wines are on hand (a dozen offered by the glass), along with a selection of beers and 350-plus spirits.

From the list of seasonal cocktails, the Fashion Club refreshes with its blend of gin, mulled wine, fresh lemon, and sparkling wine. We also enjoyed the Sadie Hawkins, a variation on the French 75, that combines gin, pomegranate, fresh lime, apple, and prosecco. The bar also excels at the classics, including an elegant and balanced Martinez cocktail made with gin and vermouth.

Even the ice has an artisanal quality. Mercury uses a Clinebell machine, typically used by ice sculptors, to produce 300-pound blocks of pure ice that are broken down with saws and chisels into pristine, crystal-clear cubes. Ice is a key cocktail ingredient, so it’s important to do it right. “We take it seriously,” Ross says.

The bar recently unveiled an outdoor patio—perfect for people-watching, relaxing on a warm day, and fueling up before an event at the Orpheum Theater a few steps across the street. Blocks away are the Holland Performing Arts Center, Bluebarn Theatre, CHI Health Center, Film Streams, Slowdown, and many more venues a short walk away.

Visit mercury-omaha.com for more information.

This article was printed in the July/August 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

scallops and menu at Mercury Lounge

Check the Radar, Omaha

July 26, 2018 by

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Thursday, July 26 to Saturday, July 28: We’re a little late to this party, as it kicked off on Wednesday, the 25th. But Omaha Under the Radar has so many events happening you’ll still have plenty of time to experience the incredible talent performing at several different venues in Omaha. Some of our favorite picks are Event 7 at Bancroft Street Market and Event 9 at OutrSpaces. Don’t just take our word for it, though. Head here for the full list and to get tickets.

Thursday, July 26: Picking up trash may not be how you planned on spending this lovely Thursday evening, but imagine how satisfying it will feel to enjoy an evening by the lake while doing some good. The Bluemovement Road Trip cruises through the country cleaning up vital waterways. This joint collaboration of Keep Omaha Beautiful, Inc., United by Blue, and Neighborhood Offshore Boutique & Board Shop is bringing people together to help preserve our nation’s natural beauty. Get all the details here.

Thursday, July 26: Think you know music? Relax after all that cleaning and test your knowledge later this evening at Mercury Lounge with Rock ’N’ Roll Jeopardy. You and up to three teammates will play a traditional three rounds. Win it all, and you will get a $100 bar tab. Best of all, that otherwise inane knowledge can help you support a good cause and keep that do-good vibe going. This week’s round of Jeopardy, $1 of every purchase will go to Omaha Girls Rock. Find out more here.

Saturday, July 28: Head to Lewis & Clark Landing this Saturday for the first Nebraska Asian Festival. Presented by Awesome Egg Rolls, this production includes activities and demonstrations from several different Asian cultures, including a Tibetan monk blessing in the morning, martial arts demonstrations, and a performance by the Pacific Island Dancers. Then there’s the food, with everything from sushi to curry and of course, egg rolls, with a beer garden featuring Asian beers. Tickets are only $5 and this is an all-day festival, so there’s really no excuse if you miss it. Learn more here.

Saturday, July 28: Can’t wait for that crunchy leaves, pumpkin-centric, spooky Halloween time of the year? Satisfy that yearning by signing up for the Haunted Hummel Hike this weekend. Known for generating creepy tales, Hummel Park is somewhat legendary around Omaha as a place for freaky happenings and encounters. Get your tickets here and determine for yourself whether the park is cursed or not.
(Keep an eye out for our upcoming story on Hummel Park in Omaha Magazine’s Sept./Oct. issue.)

Saturday, July 28 to July 29: Start with pancakes, end with a run to burn them off. Benson Days is happening this Saturday, with the the Indie 5k/10k run taking place Sunday morning. The pancake feed starts at 8 a.m., with a parade to follow. There’s also a street festival and the beer garden is open for business until 11 p.m. Also, if you miss the pancakes, there will be plenty of food trucks on hand to keep you fueled. Most importantly, though, the music starts at noon and lasts all day, with performances from local favorites Matt Cox, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, and Miwi La Lupa. Don’t drink too many brews though, or you may have a hard time staying hydrated during the run. Get the full rundown here.