I’ll go ahead and say it right off the bat: The College World Series is the most underrated sporting event in the United States.
We dedicated an entire article as to why we think this fact is true a year ago, but in short there’s no other sporting event in the U.S. that is as long, brings together as many fan bases, and is as cordial and party friendly as the CWS. The city of Omaha truly comes alive every June and the whole “Nebraska Nice” shtick combined with convergence of fans from throughout the country creates an unmatched atmosphere of instant camaraderie and liberation.
Given all that, I’m fairly confident in saying the College World Series is not only the most underrated sporting event in the U.S., but also the most underrated partying event in American sports. The partying that goes on at the major horse and NASCAR racing events is top-notch, but how has party expert Art Mann NOT covered the College World Series by now? (I’ll talk about how we at NCB do our own version of Art Mann’s show shortly)
Now that I’ve gushed about the CWS, let’s talk about everything you need to know to have the absolute best time partying in Omaha during the near two-week event. We surveyed locals and regular attendees to come up with our list of tailgate areas and bars you have to check out as well as tips you need to follow to ensure you’re partying effectively and efficiently as possible.
The Tailgate Spots
The tailgate scene at the CWS has more of a “corporate feel” when compared to the old stomping grounds around the event’s previous home, Rosenblatt Stadium, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less wild.
Don’t believe us? Check out our College World Series party video we put together last year…
There are plenty of spots to tailgate at around TD Ameritrade Park, but most of the action goes on in Lot D followed by Lots B and C. If you want to maximize your wilding out on the event’s biggest party day, head out to these lots on the first Saturday of the CWS. Get there bright and early and you will find tailgaters starting the day with kegs and eggs as early as 8:oo AM, the earliest the lots open. You can find the No Coast Bias crew in Lot D along the middle walking path around 9:00 AM that Saturday. Drop by and say hi and you might even be featured in this year’s CWS party video.
(Click map to enlarge)
If you want to rage off the beaten path, you can check out tailgates behind all the hotels on Cuming St., particularly the area near the Hot Shops Arts Center on 13th and Nicholas, or The Yard parking lot on 15th and Cuming St.
If you’re an out-of-towner or are a little light on friends, you can also check out the Blur Parties tailgate. It’ll cost you a little dough to party there, but food is provided and there’s usually live music or DJs during each day of the event.
(Click map to enlarge)
Quotes From CWS Veterans:
“With the new CWS setup (RIP Rosenblatt), I’d recommend checking out the main tailgating area. You’ll find yourself mingling with fans from across the country and it has a close proximity to the stadium so you can’t possibly get lost.” – Seth Morris
“Go meet strangers. Tailgating at the CWS is among the more fun/relatively safe places to meet folks from all over the country. Most have beer/food for you, too. Special recognition goes to LSU fans – go meet every LSU fan you see. Also, get Zesto’s ice cream.” - Nick Verlaney
If you’ve survived the all-day bingefest at your tailgate spot of choice, the area right around TD Ameritrade Park offers everything you need to keep the party going.
The Old Mattress Factory is perhaps THE bar everyone has to check out at least once during the CWS. The bar fences off their parking lot area to create their “CWS Beer Garden” and it’s massive. It has to be since EVERYONE goes there that first night of games. EVERYONE. Be ready to wait in line for what seems like an eternity, but once you’re in you’ll be treated to live music, sexy co-eds, all types of food, and tons of beer. If that wasn’t enough, the bar is adding a rooftop patio just in time for this year’s event. “The Matt” is the one spot you’ll hear both CWS newbies and veterans recommend to any first-time CWS attendee.
The Blatt, not to be confused with The Matt, is probably the bar that’ll catch your eye right off the bat as you start your boozing festivities around the baseball park. Probably most referred to as the “Rooftop Bar”, Blatt Beer & Table is located so close to the stadium patrons (aka “Patio People”) can almost watch games from the bar’s rooftop. The bar offers a mix of craft beer, ballpark food and German-inspired eats, but is probably most famous for it’s Zesto ice cream window. In fact, just saying the word “Zesto” in Omaha will have the city’s residents automatically conjure up memories of the College World Series. The two go hand-in-hand.
If you want to experience the CWS nightlife scene and all its glory but want something slightly less crowded than The Matt and The Blatt, head on over to The Slowdown. Mostly known for throwing kick-ass concerts, The Slowdown hosts a beer garden similar to that of The Old Mattress Factory each year, but for whatever reason is slightly less crowded. That’s good news for everyone involved because you know how testy folks get after drinking all day under the hot sun. The bar also usually offers live band karaoke where wannabe vocalists can take the stage while backed by The Mother Dudes band.
In addition, the Old Market district in downtown Omaha is a couple of miles south of TD Ameritrade Park, and offers plenty of watering holes that may not be as crowded as the bars near the stadium. If you HAVE to venture off this way, we recommend checking out the following bars:
- DJ’s Dugout – the premiere sports bar in the Old Market. If you’re looking for a place to watch every sporting event possible, this spot has more than enough TVs for you.
- Stadium Club – the “gateway” to the rest of the Old Market if you are walking south on 10th St. If you want to interact with a younger crowd, this bar and it’s neighbor JD Tucker’s is where you want to be.
- Billy Frogg’s - an Omaha favorite, this bar seems to ALWAYS have some sort of bachelorette party going on. That’s pretty much all you need to know about this bar’s atmosphere. They also offer cheap beer and a shot wheel.
- The Hive – The bar prides itself on offering an extensive craft cocktail menu and music that’s “all over the board“, but technically it’s supposed to be a “311 bar“. Say hi to LeBron the dog as you walk in and get a taste of that Omaha Stylee.
There’s plenty of places to check out in the Old Market and this should get you pointed in the right direction.
Quotes From CWS Veterans:
“Old Matt is where everyone ends up and it is great most nights. You run into tons of people you know and meet the fans from all over the country. It is also so crowded that you can’t even move. If you want to watch a game while down there, Slowdown is where to go. They have outdoor TV bars and on the inside they show the games on the big screen.” – Andrew Cumbee
“My favorite spot is the Slowdown. It’s in the backyard of the stadium and seems to attract the most diverse crowd. There’s never a cover and always live music if the DJ isn’t your style. Drinks are fairly priced and there’s enough bars to where you’re not waiting an eternity in line just for a couple beers. They have a ‘take no shit’ staff, which means you have a lower chance of getting in a scuffle. Most importantly, there is no shortage of girls.” – Justin Tweedy
“The Old Mattress factory is a solid choice before the CWS, but chances are it’s going to be packed. I’m generally not a fan of the Omaha bar scene, but the Dubliner is alright in my book. I’m sure during the CWS they’ll have live music playing almost every night.” – Seth Morris
“Call me old fashioned, but I still go to the Old Market bars during CWS. Particularly: Dubliner, Borgata Brewery, Old Market Tavern and others. Also, go to Barrett’s (LSU bar). It’s off the beaten path, but a great time.” – Nick Verlaney
“Check out the Slowdown: NO cover (unlike Old Mattress), NO lines (unlike Old Mattress), pretty faces (same as Old Mattress)” – Steven Edge
The Actual College World Series
We’ve talked about all the party hot spots during the College World Series but we haven’t discussed one major part of the event…the ACTUAL College World Series. If you have questions about tickets or the ballpark, you can check both the CWS and TD Ameritrade websites or follow the official College World Series Twitter account for updates. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, you can always take a short break from the tailgate madness and briefly recover in advance of that night’s festivities.
Here are a few key dates to jot down in case you actually want to have a good time INSIDE the stadium:
Here are the teams that qualified for the College World Series:
- UC Irvine
- Texas Tech
- Ole Miss
If you do find yourself checking out a game or two, be aware that the CWS has a history of streaking and throwing beach balls onto the field. Think you have what it takes to join the long list of legends? Good luck.
Quotes From CWS Veterans:
“Omaha always selects a home team. Every year. In years past it has been Oregon State, TCU, South Carolina, and Stony Brook. Louisiana teams are always loved because their fans travel and we have a lot of displaced Katrina people up here still. There’s a weird connection to New Orleans up here. So Louisiana-Lafayette will probably have a mass amount of bandwagoners, including myself. I actually do think this is the only bandwagon-ing in sports that I can actually get behind. It’s semi-necessary.” – Andrew Cumbee
“….AAAAnd they (Louisiana-Lafayette) lost. Who knows what Omaha will want this year.” – Andrew Cumbee after Ole Miss knocked out the Ragin Cajuns
“Most fans at the CWS are ‘t-shirt fans’. If a person is wearing a Cal State Fullerton shirt or hat, it’s highly unlikely they are an alumni or fan of the team. Also, the atmosphere is very relaxed compared to other sporting events. Fans mingle and mix with the opposing team both before and after the game. If you like beer and baseball, this is probably the event for you.” – Seth Morris
Have A Great Time!
We’ve thrown a lot at you, but the one thing you should always remember is everyone is there to have a great time. Talk to a stranger and share a few beers with an out-of-towner. The CWS is truly the only event I can think of where everyone is friendly with each other, no matter the school colors you are wearing….well except for Texas
We leave you with some words of advice and things to know from our panel of CWS “experts”, but feel free to comment with some of your favorite stories or tips we may have missed.
Advice & Quotes From CWS Veterans:
“Eye candy.” – Brian B.
“While the new CWS isn’t as party-friendly as Rosenblatt Stadium was, it’s still a great time during the opening weekend!” – Nick Verlaney
“If you plan on starting your day of tailgating nonstop before noon and plan to go until the wee hours of the night, HYDRATE YO’ SELF. Also…bitch, don’t kill my vibe! It’s a celebration of one America’s favorite past-times, so don’t be a douche.” – Steven Edge
“Check out The Trap Room for their Bloody Mary.” – Dana B.
“Bring a Styrofoam cooler instead of a real one if you plan on hitting the bars up after you tailgate.” – Matt H.
“Always make sure at least a few people see you fill your Flabongo.” – Paul Lenzen