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For Hawkeye fans, Lincoln offers plenty of entertainment

[ 0 ] November 22, 2011 |

For 52 years Barry’s Bar and Grill in Lincoln Neb., has been the gameday destination for Husker fans and other college football fans alike.

“People like to meet at Barry’s,” said co-owner Lou Mary Webb. “We’re close to the stadium and we can hold a lot of people. We’ve always been connected with the University of Nebraska football, volleyball and baseball.”

After Friday’s game against the University of Iowa, it will all come to an end.

Webb and her husband Mike along with her sister and brother-in-law Ryly Jane and Ken Hambleton bought Barry’s 23 years ago. After more than two decades, they’re ready to hang up their aprons, and the bar is for sale again.

Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer, and actor Patrick Swayze have visited the restaurant. And writers and reporters from Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, CBS and ESPN stop in when they’re in town, Webb said.

For Webb, ending the bar’s storied tradition at the time another begins, the Heroes rivalry between Nebraska and Iowa, is exciting.

“Everybody has been talking about this being the big game of the year,” she said. “We’re looking forward to the rivalry that will develop.”

She had one piece of advice for Hawkeye fans as they pile into Lincoln Friday for their first ever match up against the Cornhuskers:

“Get here early,” Webb said. “Everybody will open early. I think they’ll find Lincoln is a place they’ll want to come back to every time.”

Barry’s Bar and Grill is just one of many attractions awaiting the thousands of fans who will take over Nebraska’s capital city this weekend, said Jeff Maul, executive director of the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Barry’s sits at 9th and Q streets in the Historic Haymarket, home to some of the city’s top restaurants and bars, Maul said.

“First and foremost, that’s a spot for people to check out,” Maul said of the district that boasts more than 20 restaurants, bars and coffee shops and nearly 30 stores and boutiques.

For those looking for a good place to eat, Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill at 210 N. Seventh St., is a “local gem,” said Iowa native turned University of Nebraska law student Meghan Chaffee.

The Blue Orchid and Bison Witches all are popular dining sports in the Historic Haymarket, too, said Todd Ogden, marketing director of the Downtown Lincoln Association.

As is the Watering Hole, a local place known for its wings.

Those who don’t want to cook for Thanksgiving, can head to Misty’s Steakhouse and Lounge at 6235 Haverlock Ave., for a steak dinner and a pep rally that begins at 7:30 on Thursday night.

“It goes back to tradition,” Maul said. “It’s always been a popular place to travel to the night before to enjoy a steak and talk about the game.”

Before kickoff on gameday, Rock the Dock takes over the Embassy Suites near the stadium with live music and drink specials. For fans without tickets, they show the game in the lobby.

“It’s open to the public and is a great time,” Chaffee said.

Maul and Chaffee also recommend getting to the stadium early to experience the pre-game activites, including the Pride of All Nebraska concert performed by the Cornhusker Marching Band. The concert starts just south of Memorial Stadium and the band marches from there into the stadium playing the Nebraska fight song.

“It’s a rallying point for everyone, and it’s cool to see them gather and march into the stadium,” Maul said.

For three hours before the game begins, people can gather inside Husker Nation Pavilion north of the stadium for food, live music and autographs from local celebrities. They even open the Husker practice field for kids to play catch and run around.

Once inside the stadium, local favorites Valentinos pizza and Runza baked sandwiches are a must, Chaffee said.

The unique Runza sandwich, made of ground beef, cabbage, peppers, onions and seasonings wrapped in a bread pocket, helps make the gameday experience complete, Maul said.

“People who grew up in Lincoln go elsewhere and actually have cases of Runza sandwiches shipped to their homes around the country because they’re so good,” he said.

However fans chose to spend their time in Lincoln, Chaffee said they’re in for a memorable experience.

“We all think Nebraska fans are the most welcoming in the Big 10,” Chaffee said. “The game is the last home game of the season and the senior game. You are in for a great time.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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