What's in a Legacy? A Bar!

Wilson & Washburn: A Serious Comfort Station

In the Old Market, a bar dwells which pays tribute to two of Omaha's first madams who were significant to the early debaucherous days of this great pioneer city. Their names were Anna Wilson and Josie Washburn.

Located on 1407 Harney Street, Wilson & Washburn is a darkly lit bar open for lunch and dinner with an aesthetic twist focused on keeping the stories alive of two infamous ladies of the prostitution industry who helped shape the city of Omaha in the late 19th Century.

Both Anna Wilson and Josie Washburn worked together at Wilson's brothel before Washburn moved on to start her own. Although their careers were not held in high regard, their impact on the community has left its mark because of Anna Wilson's donation of her life savings and 25-room mansion to be used as a hospital until the 1940's.

According to Omaha Magaizine, in 2013, Jeff and Faith Luby opened the doors of Wilson & Washburn. With a 4.6 rating on Google Map Reviews and a 4.8 on Facebook, they will continue honoring the stories of these women.

Although it may not be altogether noticeable at first glance because the brick exterior blends in with the other buildings in the Old Market, the dim bar truly fits its depicted aesthetic.  "Operating out of a 19th-century building that once housed a purveyor of rat poison, the mahogany-clad space uses subtle décor elements in a nod to whorehouse chic" (Omaha Magazine).  This bar is not located in a building historically signifcant to the women it is attributed to, but if asked, an employee will show you their sole blurry picture of Anna Wilson (featured below).

When entering the unassuming building, the long restaurant has high ceilings and a mezzanine layer up some stairs to the left.  Along the left side, a long, gorgeous bar is filled with a variety of beers, wines, and other drinks to choose from.  Along the right side and filling in all the gaps are dark high-top tables.  Next to these tables are framed boudiour pictures referencing the brothels owned by the women alongside period piece lanterns (featured below).

When going upstairs, there is a seating area that looks out upon the restaurant and through the windows to the street below.  There is also an event room in the back of the upstairs section of the restaurant with its own bar.

The menu itself has a tasty yet resonably priced variety of food for both brunch and dinner alongside aptly named cocktails like the Anna Wilson, the Josie Washburn, the Dirty Wicked, the Queen of the Underworld, and the Dan Allen (referring to Wilson's partner).

With its chic aesthetic, Wilson & Washburn sets out to be a comfortable and unique experience for any patron looking to learn a little about the naughtier aspects of early Omaha.



1407 Harney St, Omaha, NE 68102