Friendly Neighborhood Bar Offers Accessible Craft Beers


The Casual Pint is a community and neighborhood craft beer spot in Countryside Village that provides a vast selection of the best local, regional, and national craft beers. (The Casual Pint)
By 
Emily Kerr
The Daily Record

Tucked into Countryside Village, The Casual Pint packs a massive amount of craft beers into a humble 2,000-square-foot bay.

Dave Vannier, owner of the little bar that could knock the socks off any tap room, was inspired to open his own location just over four years ago after discovering the home of The Casual Pint franchise in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“I walked in and thought, ‘This is the coolest place I’ve ever been in,’” he said, adding that he immediately fell in love with the space. “That’s how Casual Pint got started.”

Having worked as a golf professional for 15 years, Vannier and his wife, Becca, have plenty of customer service experience under their belts. The two were looking for a change after years of traveling.

“We decided that it was time to come home and be around family,” Vannier said. The couple graduated from Iowa State University.

“We met at college,” Vannier said. “I had always been into beer. I would always be the guy who would go to the store and get the weirdest beer you’ve seen that no one had ever heard of before. Craft beers were something that I was getting into and figured a lot of other people would be, too.”

Once they got to Omaha, the couple discovered that there was a market interested in craft beers served alongside food in an easygoing atmosphere.

“We don’t want to be like every place in town. We are very niche-specific to craft beers, which is what makes us stand out in my opinion,” Vannier said. “We can’t be everything to everyone, just craft beer.”

His wife focused on The Casual Pint’s food offerings by creating the company’s house-made beer cheese as well as their weekly special: chili. That joins a constantly rotating 30 beers on tap and more than 200 beer selections. Vannier and his team of loyal “beer tenders” provide the know-how to pair customers with their beer of their dreams. He has cultivated an environment that’s both knowledgeable and family oriented.

“Craft beer can be intimidating to people that have never ordered one,” said Vannier, adding that he treasures working with his wife and a small team of dedicated staff. “If you look at our staff, we opened our doors with seven people working here, and six of those people are still working here four years later. I’m proud of how much like a family it truly is, everyone gets along great and it’s because we all share that love and passion or craft beer.”

Keeping their focus on beer allows The Casual Pint to specialize in their craft. Their dedication led to their selection by the Greater Omaha Chamber as January’s Small Business of a Month.

“I’m going to be telling people about that forever,” Vannier said. “I’m so proud of our beer, so proud of our beer tenders. We have the best and the most knowledgeable staff, and they’re great people.”

When it comes to their customer service philosophy, The Casual Pint keeps it simple: “It comes down to the Golden Rule,” Vannier said. “There’s no magic formula. It’s the basics: give a friendly greeting, ask how we can help and avoid saying ‘no’ to someone.”

The beer tenders at The Casual Pint get creative to find ways of making people feel included, he said.

For Vannier, the most rewarding part of his job is the relationships he forms on a daily basis with the people that live in the neighborhood.

“We’ve always tried to be a neighborhood bar, and we’re in District 66. It’s just such a cool area of Omaha, these people that I meet here every day have grown up here and are now raising their families here,” Vannier said.

The Casual Pint is celebrating its anniversary with the “Fourever Casual,” an approachable India pale ale created in partnership with Kros Strain Brewing in La Vista. The bar has a rotating mystery beer that’s free to those who guess its brand and style.

The Casual Pint is located at 8718 Countryside Plaza across from Westside High School. Find more information at countrysidevillage.thecasualpint.com.

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