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Tales & Cocktails: Spelling Out Inkwell’s Success

There’s a cocktail revival sweeping the continent and we’re here to cover it. Welcome to Yelp’s Tales & Cocktails, where we spotlight 5-star bartenders and the establishments they work at.

You don’t find many bars with a stuffed Kurt Vonnegut doll sitting atop a typewriter. You also don’t find many bars connected to barbershops in mid-century strip malls. And if you did come across a bar with any of these attributes, you’d be hard-pressed to also find a menu of intricately made house cocktails served with a smile right alongside silver can domestic beer. Omaha’s Inkwell is all the above. An intimate cocktail bar with a literary vibe, Inkwell is refreshingly unpretentious, especially considering the quality of both drinks and customer service that proprietor Tyler Schaeffer offers on a daily basis.

Pull up a chair at the bar and chat with Tyler, who opened Inkwell in 2017, opting to relocate from Los Angeles to Omaha. Can’t decide what to order? Tell Tyler what sort of flavors you like and are in the mood for and he’ll concoct something just for you on the spot.

Tyler talked with us about how Inkwell came to be, what’s brought him from the Midwest to California and back as well as his favorite drinks to make.

How long have you been bartending?

About ten years now.

What did you doing before bartending?

I was attending Grinnell College studying art history. Throughout my bartending career I have held other jobs simultaneously such as personal training and answering phones at an art gallery.

Who or what inspired you to go into bartending?

Well, to be honest, I spent so much time on the patron side of my favorite bar in college that they finally made me get up and start making my own drinks. I found I really enjoyed the work and from there decided to travel around the US to work under my favorite bartenders.

Can you tell me a little bit about Inkwell?

Inkwell was conceptualized while me and my partners Jonathan Schaeffer (brother) and Damian Windsor were working together at a bar in Los Angeles. Originally we were looking to start a concept in LA but found there were several obstacles. My father (a writer) had recently moved to Omaha and suggested we come check it out. The rest is history.

  • Photos by Andy Lachance

What makes Inkwell unique?

I think it’s our balance between fancy cocktail bar and casual neighborhood bar. We like to serve well crafted cocktails, but keep an approachable attitude and atmosphere.

What’s your favorite cocktail to make?

Well I enjoy shaking drinks, as a former drummer I have fun with the rhythm. So that being said, anything involving a long shake like a sour or Ramos (but not too many of them in a row) are fun for me.

What is your favorite spot to grab a cocktail?

In rare occasions I get away from the shop I like to go anywhere quiet and I know my bartender. So a Sunday night at Blackstone Social is always a favorite!

Fatima Alliyani contributed to this post

Stop by Inkwell seven days a week for a drink and conversation. For more Yelp’s Tales & Cocktails events, head here for details, RSVPs and complete event lineup.