In 2014, Noah and Katie Mock opened their unique Blackstone joint, Nite Owl, a self-service spot with velvet paintings lining the walls, a sunken bar, chairs reminiscent of 70s Naugahyde, and kitschy movies playing above the liquor shelves. At the time, Omaha lacked many dark, pseudo dive bars, and even fewer that served tasty late-night food and beverages.
Inspired by the owners’ time living in cultural hot spots Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas, the cocktail menu at Nite Owl is creative, but a special affinity for daiquiris led Noah to procure a slushee machine shortly after opening. The resultant concoctions were an immediate hit and remain the top-selling cocktail style. “Marcy (the mixologist) is the slushee queen,” Noah shared. The team relishes experimenting with flavor combinations inspired by seasonal ingredients and bartender whims.
Just down the street from Nite Owl stands the original Archetype Coffee, owned by Isaiah Sheese, expert small-batch coffee roaster and barista. “Isaiah is insanely educated on coffee,” Noah said, “it’s great to work with the best coffee in town.”
A typical Irish coffee combines hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar, topped with a float of freshly whipped double cream. The coffee slushee at the Nite Owl riffs on this traditional formula, featuring Archetype Coffee cold brew, Tullamore Dew, coconut milk for richness, and vanillin bitters for balance. The cold brew brings depth and complexity due to the unique sourcing and roasting process employed by Sheese, and Irish whiskey distilled in Tullamore, Ireland, lends both sweetness and authenticity.
To accompany the cocktails, the Nite Owl serves all the late-night foods Noah typically scarfed down post shift in his early industry days, including the famous Tot-Chos. The team at Nite Owl makes it a priority to work with local purveyors for ingredients where possible, including Coneflower Creamery ice cream, Culprit bread, Imperial Farms Wagyu beef, Tea Smith, and a wide variety of items from Jon’s Naturals.
What keeps the team motivated? According to Noah, “Coming together with friends and creating something amazing. We want to create a safe space for everyone in Omaha to relax and enjoy.”