Many people speculated what would come of the building that housed Barry’s Bar and Grill after it closed its doors to the public in March of 2020. Some students thought it would get turned into a parking garage, and others thought it would just stand empty forever. Well, that didn’t happen.
The local game day hotspot, Barry’s The Nebraska Bar — formally called Barry’s Bar and Grill — reopened on Sept. 30 for a VIP event after over a year of the building standing derelict.
The bar, located off N 9th Street, shut down during the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the old owners decided to sell the building. Mark Suleiman, who is also a local investor and owner of multiple other restaurants in the Midwest as well as a University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumnus, bought Barry’s and gave it a new life. It’s still called Barry’s, but it has new management with new ideas.
Michael Newlin, the general manager, is a huge fan of live music and said he wants to see Barry’s host live bands. He is planning on revamping the 10 Below Night Club & Event Venue, which is located downstairs in Barry’s, and adding a stage to the side of the dance floor for musicians to perform on.
“I’m from Omaha, and there is a lot more live music there than here in Lincoln,” Newlin said. “I want to change that and get a bunch of different bands to perform at Barry’s.”
The first night of live music at Barry’s will be Oct. 15 after the Chris Stapleton concert at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“We want to designate Friday as country night,” Newlin said. “We’ve already got Tyler Anthony scheduled to do our first country show on Oct. 15 after the Stapleton show.”
Newlin said he wants to add a restaurant to the basement of Barry’s. He said he has some dishes planned and an extensive menu, but he’s been having trouble finding employees.
“Everything is ready for a restaurant at Barry’s, but I just can’t find any cooks. Without kitchen staff it makes it really difficult for us to be a full service restaurant and bar,” Newlin said. “I urge everyone to go on Indeed and check us out and maybe apply for a cook position.”
There will be a different theme or event at Barry’s each night. On Thursdays it’s college night, on Fridays it’s country night and on Saturdays there will be a live musician or well known DJ.
Currently Barry’s is only open Thursday through Saturday, and Newlin said they plan on gradually extending their hours until they are open for the full week.
Emily Schomburg, a senior biological systems engineering major at UNL, said she is excited that Barry’s reopened.
“I thought the [Barry’s] building was going to become a parking garage,” Schomburg said. “But now they have reopened, and I’m very excited.”
She went to the bar on the Homecoming Husker game day, and she said it was like the old Barry’s was back.
“They had the lights on, and everything was back to normal,” Schomburg said. “I’m so glad because Barry’s is the heart of Lincoln and the heart of game days.”
Newlin urged new customers to be understanding as Barry’s slowly opens up again. They are currently short staffed, and everyone has been working overtime to make sure the bar will be back to its glorious self that it was two years ago.
“All I ask is that the public be patient with us,” said Newlin. “I guarantee that after some time, Barry’s will be back and better than ever.”