Boombox Social is Kinkaider’s Vibrant Ode to the 80s and 90s
After some big success and expansion in the past five years, Nebraska’s Kinkaider Brewing is taking their business in a whole new direction: back in time. Boombox Social officially (and cautiously) opened their doors on May 11 after holding off a month due to COVID-19 concerns. The new bar, pizza joint, arcade, and soon-to-be distillery is located in the large building at 1630 P St. that has formerly housed Ploughshare and Green Flash.
Take a stroll past, and you might do a double take. The space has transformed with neon lighting and vintage video game imagery, bar seating that opens up to the street via garage-style doors, and, of course, “Take on Me” playing over the speakers. Step inside, and you’ll find a space that’s a complete ode to the 80s and 90s. No need for the DeLorean.
“The 80s and 90s were my childhood,” owner Cody Schmick said. “I’m 36 years old, but I love the resurgence of that kind of stuff. This appeals to the younger generation because the fashion, movies, and music of the 80s and 90s are coming full circle, but then it also appeals to guys and gals my age because it’s nostalgic for us. It’s a little risky, but we had so much fun building the brand. We didn’t take it too seriously.”
Along with funky, bright design elements that scream “Saved by the Bell,” Boombox Social has a faux food truck, walk-up window where you can order gourmet pizza with names like “Smells Like Taco Spirit” as well as fried sides and loaded “totchos” (tater tots + nachos.) It’ll stay open until 2 a.m. every night.
In the building’s large lofted area, the team decided to opt for a throwback arcade rather than extra seating. Local arcade vendors VVS jumped on the project to help.
While Boombox Social was an opportunity to try out a fun concept with a college crowd appeal, the team was after the large production backroom to launch Sideshow Spirits, a Kinkaider-owned distillery.
“We wanted this front side to have a little bit more of a broad appeal,” Schmick said. “The backside of the arcade is going to have a secret door that you go through into The Sideshow Cocktail Lounge. It’s going to be super high end, and have a little bit of a different drink menu, but people will be able to flow between the two spaces, too.”
The team hopes to have the lounge open by fall, along with an operating production room to distribute their product across the state. The focus will be rum, vodka, whiskey, and gin, as well as liqueurs, canned cocktails, and kegged cocktails.
“We’re setting ourselves up, equipment-wise, to be the biggest in the state, right out the gate, and Lincoln’s first distillery for the time being,” Schmick said. “This building is about 11,000 square feet, but every inch is going to be used.”
While COVID-19 pushed back the timeline for Boombox’s opening, Schmick said the team took the extra time to prepare in their stride. The team has been careful to operate at half capacity with all employees wearing a mask.
Founded in 1967, the Downtown Lincoln Association provides services and champions initiatives for maintaining and enhancing our vibrant downtown. Our vision is to create an energetic downtown environment where we live, learn, work, invest and play. DLA has evolved into a multi-faceted organization supporting a wide range of programs and activities including maintenance, economic development and advocacy.