A brick house
The sign outside Brickie’s Tavern says it was established in 1956, coincidentally the same year the Gold ’N’ Silver Inn opened a few blocks away, according to the sign outside that establishment. This part of Reno, just west of downtown, appears to be moving toward redevelopment and gentrification in the near future, so a brief trip 51 years back in time seemed timely and appealing.
Walking into Brickie’s for the first time—kind of shameful because my first apartment was just blocks away, and I never managed to wander in—it appeared to be as much diner as bar. A grill situated in the corner near large, handwritten menu boards confirmed what I’d heard—people come here as much for burgers as beer. I made a mental note to return with an appetite soon, if not for a burger, then a weekend breakfast, for sure. I pondered what Brickie’s was like in 1956. The false ceiling tiles and wood laminate on the bar don’t seem that old to me. Old boxing posters for Reno’s “Centennial Coliseum”—now the convention center—lend a bit of nostalgia I always value in older places.
On Sunday nights this time of year, bars are football central, so I was a little curious to see how much Brickie’s would be dominated by cheering fans. Fortunately, the few TVs don’t completely dominate the room, and the handful of enthusiastic regulars at the bar weren’t obnoxious. Clearly, though, this is a football establishment. Betting pool grids for bowl games decorate a sizeable part of the wall behind the bar.
My wife had been fighting a brutal, cold-induced sore throat, and homemade hot toddies were one weapon in her arsenal. Finally well enough to go out, she decided to see what Brickie’s might be able to offer. This neighborhood football bar wasn’t the place for toddies, so hot water with a generous pour of brandy was the closest they could come. The hot buttered rum mix our bartender offered as a possible substitute might have been OK, but it wasn’t what my wife was looking for. The six draft beers were mostly the major brewery options I expected, but I was happy to see two craft beers—and even happier that one was a local. I ordered a pint of Micron No Town Brown and enjoyed it just as much as I remember liking it at the brewery on Mill Street.
Bottled beer choices were the usual suspects, the ones you’d find at most every average bar in the country, churned out en masse by big beer factories. The wine list on par with your neighborhood supermarket. The hard alcohol was standard issue—whiskey, vodka, tequila and rum labels I’ve come to consider a typical bar selection.
I appreciate that as a food serving establishment, Brickie’s doesn’t allow smoking, taking it up a notch from many other neighborhood bars around town. For drinking, there’s nothing about Brickie’s Tavern to merit a special trip, especially if you want a hot toddy. My wife remarked that this could easily be our neighborhood spot if we lived nearby, and I agree. If you’re in the neighborhood and need a place to watch football and drink beer, Brickie’s has you covered. The food is a promising bonus that I regret not planning ahead for. After 51 years, they clearly have found their place and are doing it right.