The Zoo Bar is a blues music venue and nightclub located in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. Larry Boehmer, a musician, artist and Master of Fine Art graduate from the University of Nebraska founded the Zoo Bar in 1973. Styled around the Chicago blues clubs, it is a long, narrow venue in a building built in 1921.
After enticing Chicago blues musicians to stop in Lincoln on their way to the west coast on Interstate 80, Boehmer booked legendary performers as well as local blues, rock and jazz bands. By the late 1970s, the Zoo Bar had built a reputation as the place to play for Midwest exposure. The Zoo Bar continued to thrive throughout the 1980s and 1990s, as musical acts included: Albert Collins, Koko Taylor, Charlie Musselwhite, Luther Allison, Bo Diddley, Chris Duarte, Magic Slim, Rod Piazza, Anson Funderburgh, James Harman, Dave Alvin, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Son Seals and Otis Rush. Numerous live albums have been recorded here and Magic Slim enjoyed playing the club so much that he relocated to Lincoln from Chicago.
In 2001, Larry Boehmer semi-retired from the bar and passed most of the responsibilities down to his sons. Today the Zoo Bar continues to thrive as a venue to see notable blues and roots-rock musicians in an intimate and exciting atmosphere.