Bars and Clubs
The RN&R’s annual look at the area scene
Every year, the RN&R sends its reporters out to chronicle the Reno-Sparks nightlife for our annual Bars & Clubs issue. This year, we set a goal to visit 100 of the area’s bars and clubs. And we did just that.
Even though this may very well be the most complete listing of bar and club descriptions ever done in the Truckee Meadows, we do realize that it is not completely complete. There are dozens of bars that we still couldn’t get to for various reasons, and to the fans of those bars not featured here, we apologize.
In case you’re wondering, we got most, but not all, of our listings out of the “Cocktail Lounges” section of the Nevada Bell Yellow Pages. In order to focus things a little, we only did bars and clubs located within Reno-Sparks or the close outskirts (sorry, Tahoe and Carson City). We also only reviewed free-standing clubs that are not located in casinos. There is only so much space; there are only so many of us; we can only drink so much without wreaking havoc on our lives and the lives of others.
With those caveats and apologies, here are 100 Reno-Sparks bars and clubs.
Abby’s Highway 40
424 E. Fourth St., 322-9422
Old pictures of Nevada, mostly Reno, hang on the walls. They belong to the owner, Donnie Schwartz. Nine hundred are up on the walls. This is not his entire collection. The neon sign out front was one of the first in Nevada, according to Mr. Schwartz. He also tells me the building itself dates back to the 1920s, and its next-door neighbor dates back to the 1890s. I forgot to ask him about the wooden framework that hangs above the bar. It looks like it came out of a mine. Ask Donnie. He knows all. —D.M.R.
Adele’s at the Plaza
425 S. Virginia St., 333-6503
Mahogany wood and big, cozy chairs give Adele’s an upscale appearance, and the staff is friendly and welcoming. We sat at a booth, and although it was facing the bar, we felt secluded because of its height. I ordered a glass of Villa Mt. Eden Zinfandel for $9.50. Although I usually don’t spend nearly $10 on a glass of wine, the size of the glass it was served in made up for the price. My boyfriend had a Sierra Nevada for $5, which was a bit pricey for a beer. I’ll be back on a Wednesday for wine tasting. —M.P.
The Alibi Lounge
125 Casazza Drive, 323-0611
What’s your excuse for not having an alibi at the ready? Fear not: That phone call to Johnnie Cochran won’t be necessary. This Alibi is cast-iron and tailored specifically to whatever ails you, even if it was the dog that bit you. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, and at this place, they celebrate the holiday for 34 hours straight. So what if it takes 200 pounds of corned beef? Speaking of quantity, check out the back bar. It’s a mountain. —D.M.R.
Alturas Bar & Nightclub
1044 E. Fourth St., 324-5050
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to go to a bar and do two things that seem mutually exclusive: listen to a good band and talk to my friends, so that my vocal chords are not irreparably damaged by the next day. Here, I was able to do exactly that. On the Saturday night I visited Alturas, my friend and I talked easily over beers upstairs; we then went downstairs and enjoyed great live music. Alturas has a lively but relaxed crowd and a good jukebox. —C.C.
2323 S. Virginia St., 825-5500
Once you get used to the restaurant/nightclub’s yellow and green exterior, prepare for a blast of bright, tropical colors to greet you on your way inside. While our party of four settled in the bar, a handful of people trickled in to participate in the nightclub’s Latin dance sessions (offered Thursday through Saturday). We were invited to cha-cha-cha, but we were all too busy stuffing our faces with the pad Thai we ordered from the restaurant. If dancing is not your thing, stop by on Wednesdays for comedy night. —K.L.
1483 E. Fourth St., 323-1956
The first thing I noticed when I walked into The Baron was its darkness—dim lighting, dark brown paneling and a small crowd that looked as though it could use a reason to smile. Not even its large fireplace could brighten the mood. On the Saturday night I visited, a three-man band played—or, more specifically, played around on their instruments—on the small stage, but no one seemed especially interested. In its favor, however, The Baron does have cordial bartenders and impressively clean bathrooms. —C.C.
Beaches Sports Bar & Grill
465 S. Meadows Parkway, 852-4955
With a bright interior and walls painted with fun-in-the-sun scenes, Beaches goes for an “Endless Summer” feel. My husband and I took a table by the bar and grabbed a pair of menus from inside a metal pail filled with condiments. As we waited for the drinks to arrive, we noted the giant projection television on a wall on the east side of the building and a small stage occupying the northeast corner. Beaches’ menu offers burgers, sandwiches and salads. Although it’s a billed as a sports bar, it has a family-friendly sort of feel. —K.L.
The Beer Barrel
58 E. Ninth St., 323-6222
Every town that has a college must have a college bar—a place with great drink specials and a DJ that’s within stumbling distance of student housing. The Beer Barrel is just that bar. It’s complete with its own patented floor covering, “Barrel Sludge,” and bathrooms that require you to drink quite a bit before you dare entering. The night I was there, the DJ played great dance music, and students packed the floor. All students attending the university must check out The Barrel at least once or twice; it’s required. —M.P.
1036 E. Fourth St., 348-6494
Big Ed’s is a great place to have a beer and a sandwich, undisturbed, at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon. This is exactly what I did on my visit to Big Ed’s. I had the impression that Big Ed’s is a noisy bar, but it’s actually a comfy grill with wooden floors, brick walls and pleasant music. The atmosphere is vaguely ‘50s, but the décor is a bit too generic to belong exclusively to any one era. Big Ed’s has limited hours, though—they close at 7 p.m. on some nights—so call first. —C.C.
3611 Kings Row, 747-4300
Since new owners took over, the Blue Max is slowly transforming itself into a great place to see bands. They’ve added a bunch of big, comfortable booths, and they just built a large stage area. Those who remember the old Max may miss the dark, comfy, divey feel it used to have, but the new black-lit celestial decorations and (will wonders never cease?) clean bathrooms will probably win you over. A $3.50 Jack and Coke is a fair price, and $2 during happy hour can’t be beat. Keep an eye out for future developments. —A.Y.R.
Bob’s Saloon & Eatery
4840 Mill St., 857-3737
According to the neon sign in the window, this place has it all: Video poker, warm beer, bad food and lousy service. I did a double take, then I rubbed my eyes and giggled like a little school girl. You’ve got to like a place with old pictures of Nevada on the walls. Actually, I take that back. It’s a free country. Not everyone loves Nevada. Owner Susan Greenwood is planning to expand to include pool tables and shuffleboard. Until then, you’ll have to make do with a billiards video game or the Twilight Zone pinball machine facing it. —D.M.R.
10 E. Ninth St., 324-6200
Right next door to The Beer Barrel is The Breakaway. The scene at The Breakaway consists of both college students and other locals. I went there on a Friday and was bummed that I wasn’t hungry. When you’ve been drinking and are looking for a place to sit down and share a pizza, or have a burger or a calzone, it’s the place to go. Because I was tired and not hungry, I just finished my beer and headed out. Next time, I plan on playing pool and having a “Tree Hugger” (aka veggie) calzone. —M.P.
5890 S. Virginia St., 828-0616
Breaktime Billiards is a place to go if you are in the mood for a game of pool. There are plenty of tables at an hourly rate, and the atmosphere is nice. Underage patrons are allowed until 10 p.m., and then it becomes 18 and over only. They do card people at the bar; unfortunately, I wasn’t carded, but my younger friend was. Breaktime Billiards is a fun place to meet up with friends and have a good time. —A.S.
1114 Victorian Ave., Sparks, 359-0286
One of the most fabled “B” Street pubs is no more. The Buffalo Bar got rid of its bar about a month ago, although it still offers slot machines. Adieu, old friend. —D.B.B.
Bully’s Sports Bar & Grill
2005 Sierra Highlands Drive, 746-8006
Bully’s is a true sports bar. With more than 25 TVs, including a wall with a big-screen TV surrounded by smaller TVs, you’ll never have a problem with catching the action. The walls themselves are chock full of sports memorabilia, from autographed pictures to sports jerseys. While you’re watching the game, you can enjoy a snack, dinner or even breakfast from Bully’s full menu. Tucked away in a corner, there’s an arcade area with pool and foosball, but the emphasis at Bully’s is definitely on the true sports lover. —B.J.
Cantina Los Tres Hombres Sparks
926 Victorian Ave., Sparks, 356-6262
Another reason to hang out in downtown Sparks. The new branch of Cantina Los Tres Hombres feels huge, with its mirrored walls and a mega-screen TV. It’s perfect for kicking back with a margarita or a beer to catch a local band. Dave’s Tecate came so cold that a thin layer of ice crystals formed on the surface. My blended Blue Hawaii margarita packed a clean, not-too-syrupy punch. The place seemed quiet. Perhaps people don’t know the Cantina is here yet. We predict that it won’t be quiet for long. D.P.
3310 S. Virginia St., 829-8886
This place, which primarily caters to the gay crowd, had fun written all over it. Booze, loud music and pool provide this place’s claims to fame. On a Saturday night, the place was packed. The bartenders served us right away, and they were always checking back to make sure we were getting our alcohol fix. The drinks were good and affordable. This was a great place to hang out with friends and get some affordable drinks. If you go, you have to try the “Sperm Shot.” —A.R.R.
3700 N. Virginia St., 329-1923
Carz stands alone on the road heading up to the Bonanza Casino. I’m sure you’ve passed it once or twice. If you can get past the outside, which isn’t very nice-looking, inside you will find a place that is really comfortable and friendly. This bar offered pool and a jukebox. The drinks were cheap, and the service was fast and quite friendly. It was not overly busy, but it had a mixed group of patrons. Seems like a cheap and friendly place to hang out with a friend. —A.R.R.
Coach’s Grill & Sports Bar
1573 S. Virginia St., 329-2202
Here is a new place worth trying out. Coach’s has a friendly atmosphere and a tempting menu. Food is served from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with an average price of $6 to $8. Richard, the owner, suggested we try the shrimp kisses. How could we resist these calorie-hugging morsels of shrimp and cheese, wrapped in bacon, then breaded and fried? So what if it means a trip to the gym? They were worth it. They weren’t on the menu at the time, so ask for them and enjoy. —A.S.
Coney Island Bar
2644 Prater Way, Sparks, 358-6485
We went to Coney Island on a Saturday night, and we couldn’t get in the door—it was packed. I went on a Wednesday at lunchtime, and the place was packed again. At this local working man’s bar, everyone seemed to know each other’s name. The folks I talked to have been going there for over 30 years and claim the food is the best. I tried the “Mess” beef enchilada, beans and salad: very good! The service was fast and friendly. A great casual place to eat or drink, even if they don’t know your name. —D.R.
The Cork Room Lounge
1559 S. Virginia St., 322-8864
This is a bar I would encourage you to skip. The Cork Room is one of Reno’s best-kept secrets, and I would like to keep it that way. I’ve been to some bad bars in my day, but this one takes the cake and eats it, too. The décor is as old as the jukebox that used to play 45s in here. During my visit, there were seven people, total, in the bar. It was Brooke’s birthday. Andrea said to mention the “fiber-afro” lamp at the end of the bar. There you go, Andrea. —D.M.R.
Corrigan’s Bit O’ Ireland
1526 S. Wells Ave., 322-1977
Almost always busy, this impossibly tiny bar has an enormous amount of character. Depending on whom you like to tip your elbow with, the Corrigan’s crowd on any given evening might range from a story-telling grandpa to a down-on-his-luck (and funds) frat boy. It’s all good fun, though, while you line up your quarters to challenge players on the pool table and groove to the great tunes on the jukebox. Rumor has it that it’s standing room only on Christmas Eve. —C.M.
1303 E. Fourth St., 322-8481
Dilligas Saloon, a swingers’ bar for a variety of people, looks a bit more tame than nearby Peyton Place. On Sunday nights, the saloon offers the Cat Attack Blues Jam, when anyone can use the open mic and play along with the band. Dilligas caters to a clientele including college kids, blue-collar types and high rollers. The bar offers a Web site to keep interested parties abreast of activities at www.dilligassaloon.com. —W.P.
Donley’s Irish Pub
2174 Greenbrae Drive, Sparks, 356-0299
This is a nicely decorated, well-lighted and clean Irish pub. The back bar features some ultra-premium scotches and tequilas, and Donley’s has a good selection of imported draft beers, including Harp, Guinness, Murphy’s Bass and Cafferery’s. The clientele of this 24-hour bar is mostly people who live nearby, casino workers and people getting off shift at the nearby stores. “This is a nice place for couples,” said bartender Tammy West. “People are friendly, and we never have problems here.” Donley’s has pool and dart tournaments. —D.B.B.
El Cortez Lounge
239 W. Second St., 324-4255
This downtown spot once hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra and the Andrews Sisters. Today, the lounge/sports bar doesn’t feature such luminaries, but it still attracts locals and curious tourists. On a Saturday night, the bartender was friendly and asked for ID like a responsible bartender should. A few people drunker than ourselves finished off a game of pool, but the night was still young, and they were off to visit other bars in the area—as were we, but not without finishing our beers and soaking in the old Reno ambiance. —K.L.
3127 S. Virginia St., 827-4111
I slipped downstairs into the Famous Murphy’s cocktail lounge/oyster bar to have a drink. It was a nice, comfortable bar, and the bartender, Amanda, was very friendly. I ordered a Jack and Coke ($4.50), and she offered to double it for only $1 more, an excellent deal (and not just during happy hour). But knowing I had other bars to go to, I passed on the offer. The cost of a single is kind of pricey, but $5.50 for a double is a good deal. Another thing I liked about Famous Murphy’s: Even though I was in the oyster bar, it didn’t smell like fish. —G.D.
1095 E. Fourth St., 324-7877
The cover at this topless club was reasonable, and ladies got in free the night I was there. The place had an inviting atmosphere and plenty of seating to enjoy the entertainment. The bartenders and drink servers were friendly and always made sure you had a full glass at reasonable prices. The only drawback: The entertainers, when they weren’t dancing, were not very friendly. In the time my friends and I (male and female) were there, not one dancer came up to us. They seemed to stick together. Overall, we had fun. —A.R.R.
50 Yard Line Bar & Grill
400 S. Rock Blvd., Sparks, 358-8848
The 50 Yard Line is truly a sports lovers’ bar. Not only is every football, hockey and baseball team pennant represented, but the bar also shows games. The place offers a grill with hot and cold sandwiches and pretty decent fries. The bar also occasionally holds pool tournaments and features a 4-6 p.m. happy hour. Regulars include all kinds of sports fans and blue-collar types. —W.P.
Five Star Saloon
132 West St., 329-2878
The Five Star has a mixed clientele, but it’s mainly a gay bar, said bartender Wes. On a Saturday night, gay couples sat with casino workers; men and women drank, talked and played pool together. Wes talked about the occasional drag shows that are held there and about the other gay bars in town. By the time we finished our drinks, we felt like “family.” On our way out, Wes yelled from behind the bar: “Hey, you don’t have to be gay to have a good time here!” We agree. —D.R.
The Flowing Tide Pub
10580 N. McCarran Blvd., 747-7707
Located in one of the most hoppin’ shopping centers in Reno (the Hacienda is next door), The Tide is a nice, clean, brightly-lit place to watch a game and chat with friends. A Dave Matthews Band CD played in the background as I watched a Sacramento Kings game and chatted with my buddy, Taylor. We didn’t eat; he had two Rusty Nails and I had a virgin daiquiri. Taylor was ecstatic that the Rusty Nail came in a huge glass—and only cost $3.50. Expect a diverse crowd, slightly tilted toward the college set. —J.B.
Floyd’s Fireside Chat
698 Kietzke Lane, 786-2385
Floyd’s Fireside Chat is a traditional bar that has been around since the late ‘60s. You would think that after so many years, the place would be run-down, but just the opposite is true: This small bar is impressively clean. The bartenders and the owner are very friendly and make sure you are well taken care of. The jukebox continually plays tunes while patrons enjoy socializing and darts. It isn’t anything fancy; it’s just a good time. —A.S.
Foley’s Irish Pub
2780 S. Virginia St., 829-8500
Foley’s is the place to be if you’re missing the Emerald Isle. The walls are hand-papered with photographs of Ireland, Guinness memorabilia and past drinking celebrations. There’s a piece of the Blarney Stone and even a clock counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not a big place, with only eight tables and a U-shaped bar, but the food’s great and the staff is even better. Pull up a chair, and say hi to Noel, the owner. You’ll know him when you see him! —C.M.
Fourth Turn Bar & Grill
2285 Kietzke Lane, 825-7223
Fourth Turn is a home for car-racing enthusiasts. As you walk into the bar, a car hangs over the centrally located bar area. Around the room are tables that can be moved around to accommodate large groups. Nearly every table has a view of at least one TV showing some type of sport. There are a few arcade-style games that are a little old and beat-up, but still functional. Unfortunately, though, the air hockey table seemed to be missing the “air” part. —B.J.
6590 N. Wingfield Parkway, Sparks, 626-1000
Even if you don’t golf, Freddie’s is a posh hangout if you’re in the Wingfield Springs neighborhood. The atmosphere is warm, toned with plenty of wood trim, a grand piano and plush furnishings. The drinks, at least some of them, are warm, too. Like Hot Apple Pie, spiced cider with Tuaca. Or Red Hawk Coffee, a mix of Christian Brothers and Kahlua, served in a clear glass with a dollop of whipped cream. As the cream melts, it drizzles down into the drink like a mini lava lamp. Cool. —D.P.
The Gold Bar
1220 S. Wells Ave., 323-5656
How can you not love a bar that has changed its name at least three times in the past year? Starting out as the Red Rum, it was changed to the Painted Lady, then to Cestone’s Twisted Sizterz, and now it’s The Gold Bar. Cestone’s was a bit run-down, with funky purple walls, a jukebox heavy on the big-hair bands of the ‘80s and a red-topped pool table. The Gold Bar’s new management, however, is promising big changes. —C.M.
Good Times Co.
1430 Wells Ave., 329-3083
Tucked behind Eatos Burritos, this bar might be hard to find. But once you get inside, chances are you’ll like what you see. Not a soul was to be seen the night we were there, but our charming bartender hummed along with our picks from the jukebox and offered some helpful hints to improve our pool game. Good Times Co. felt like we were back hanging out in the basement of a friend’s house while a cool uncle kept a watchful eye on our foolishness. —C.M.
Great Basin Brewing Company
846 Victorian Ave., Sparks, 355-7711
I forgot to try the raspberry-infused beer. We nabbed the last two spots at the bar, near the window that lets you peek in on the microbrewery’s brewing gear—awfully busy for a weeknight. I asked for an Irish Red before I remembered the February fruitacious beer special. My husband ordered one of Great Basin’s seasonal beers, the Pogonip Pilsner. The couple next to us sampled a new beer, too. They nodded with approval. But when they ordered, it was a standard favorite—Great Basin’s famed Ichthyosaur India Style Pale Ale, aka Icky. —D.P.
Hacienda Restaurant & Bar
10580 N. McCarran Blvd., 746-2228
Somebody’s doing something right at this bar. The top-notch, high-energy bartenders serve, visit and move on to the next patron, as good bartenders should. Clearly catering to the just-turned-21 crowd, Hacienda serves free chips, a DJ or live music, noise, some TVs and a lively crowd. And don’t forget the drink specials, ranging from $2 shots to $2 shots to “insane drink specials” (what’s the difference!?) on Saturday, aka “College Night.” Six security personnel oversee the crowd. The heat of wall-to-wall coeds keep this Cabo-themed bar nice and warm. —C.A.
Hard Hat Bar & Grill
950 Glendale Ave., Sparks, 359-0411
Just say schizophrenic. On weekdays, the Hard Hat is a working man’s bar, where you might find a day laborer quietly cooling off during his lunch hour with a Budweiser or one of several imported beers on tap. On weekends, the bar morphs into an all-ages club. Kids come to hear bands like Existence, Arch, Livitz Livitz and Redcel. The cement floor in front of a quiet stage that, on weekdays, holds a big-screen TV becomes, on weekends, a mosh pit packed with happy, sweating, body-slamming youths. —D.P.
Harry’s Watering Hole
1100 E. Plumb Lane, 825-2292
A list behind the bar reads: “LACK OF INTEGRITY: DO NOT BOOK THESE BANDS.” Sounds like Harry, whose name is really Ernest, has been burned. While the stage was empty during my visit, the mural behind the stage was not. It is a depiction of dark-skinned natives, presumably cannibals, cooking a white man in a big, black cauldron. There’s a painting of Raquel Welch on the door to the ladies’ room; Ernest tells me a clean ladies’ room is the secret to a successful bar. —D.M.R.
Hawks’ Nest Bar
12725 S. Virginia St., 853-2197
The Hawk’s Nest Bar boasts itself as “the only second-class bar in Nevada.” Well, they’re right (but not about the “only” part). The bar is located on the very edge of town, past Meadowood, the pink Scolari’s and all the glimmering lights of Reno. It is a nice place to grab a beer at the end of the day and converse with the rancher types that line the bar. Beer is cheap, and the bartenders are friendly. —B.H.
701 S. Virginia St., 337-2345
YEE HAW! Boot scootin', karaoke tootin’ and pool playin', too. This is a country bar with a Hawaiian flare. Why? Who knows? Come down early on the weekends, and they will give you free line dancing lessons before 9 p.m. Stay, and you can croon to a karaoke tune. The bar gets crowded early, perhaps to avoid the $5 cover charge, but it still doesn’t stop the boots lining up to dance the night away. —A.S.
3098 Kietzke Lane, 826-3141
I wish I could tell you about The Hub’s décor, its bartenders, its drink specials _ but the fact is, I was so frightened by the way the bar looked on the outside, I didn’t dare venture inside. The Hub is hidden behind a tire store, next to a dingy Laundromat, in a part of town that can euphemistically be described as “interesting,” and there’s no neon or flashing lights to draw you in. There aren’t even any windows so you can scope out the clientele before you head in—just a couple of beat-up junkers in the parking lot and a real bad vibe. —A.Y.R.
231 W. Second St., 329-8668
A recent addition to Second Street, located next door to El Cortez Lounge. We were hungry and decided to see what this place had to offer. My husband, Dave, ordered a Newcastle, and I settled on a soda, since I’d had enough to drink by then. A few young women danced with a willing male partner to the tunes of Lenny Kravitz. The restaurant’s spackled walls and stone-colored tables seem to relate more to mountains than to hurricanes, but no matter. Dave’s hamburger and my barbequed quesadillas were enough to fill up an empty, alcohol-abused belly. —K.L.
567 W. Fourth St., 337-2521
The cavernous bar in the center of this big joint seats at least 50, but not many people stand still in a place with this much to do. Two pool tables, a stage for live bands or karaoke, a juke box and lots and lots of drink specials make this place unique. Saturday is all-you-can-drink night, which isn’t all that much considering Friday is “penny pitchers” night. Autographed dollar bills cover one wall, while sporting equipment covers all the others. Broken skateboards, snowboards, wakeboards, a bike frame and more decorate the interior. —C.A.
211 Keystone Ave., 329-6386
Strategically located within walking distance of the Greyhound station, downtown casinos and two good thrift shops, this bar is the perfect spot for that mid-morning cocktail to make your Monday pass a bit more quickly. The clientele includes a mix of regulars and those just passing through. Despite its vaguely satanic décor, the lounge is a dark, comfortable, smoky hideout from that big, crazy world. —E.D.
300 N. Center St., 322-4860
Kicks has a huge bar, a dance floor, pool tables and even a go-go cage—but where is everyone? Did zombie bowlers scare everyone away? It was like being in the Twilight Zone on a Friday night. The music was playing, and the lights were flashing, waiting for someone to step on the dance floor. The fear was that we might have been sucked into another dimension. Casting fears aside, we spoke to the bouncer, and he assured us that the club would be hosting after-hours parties in the near future. Let’s hope so; it’s a nice place. —A.S.
Knuckleheads Sports Bar
405 Vine St., 323-6500
Tucked away in the Sportsman’s Corner between Fourth and Vine streets, this sports-lover hangout provides ample space to watch games, shoot the 8 ball or challenge your buddy to a game of darts. A jukebox offers a nice selection of music from alternative to country. The place also has live music on occasion. And if you can find the courage (which no doubt would be supplied from a bottle), you can test your vocal range during Wednesday night karaoke. —K.L.
790 Baring Blvd., Sparks, 331-1483
Great indoor fountain. Super Mexican food. And one of the best margaritas I’ve ever had—the Midori. The Midori features melon liquor with a little bit of tequila and triple sec. I ordered it on the rocks, but I wasn’t disappointed when it came blended. The bright chartreuse slush looked a bit alien at first. But one sip, and I was complete, at one with my inner extraterrestrial. —D.P.
220 Mill St., 329-9928
You won’t find Reno’s hippest bands playing here. In fact, the only music heard screamed through a jukebox. Lamplighter offers a full bar, but when I was there, straight whiskey seemed to be the popular drink. Flumes of smoke filled the room, as gray-bearded men chugged their poison. This place has seen Reno’s population grow and its historic buildings and businesses torn down. Its stamina should be admired. —B.H.
La Shay Lounge
4008 Kietzke Lane, 826-4077
I was a little hesitant about this bar, with its inconspicuous strip mall location and its retro-sounding name. But once I got inside, I found a cozy little bar with a very friendly, talkative bartender. To my surprise, many of the people inside were younger. They were playing some really eclectic stuff on the jukebox and having a blast. And upon further inspection, I realized that the chick nursing a drink at the end of the bar was actually a mannequin wearing shades—quite a conversation piece. A Jack and Coke is $3.25. —A.Y.R.
Legends All-Star Restaurant & Lounge
6015 S. Virginia St., 853-5550
This place has the best food that a bar can possibly have and still be considered, in any way, a bar. It’s a popular place, with upscale décor (but not pretentious) and a large, reasonably priced menu. On a recent visit, Legends was a bit too busy; the waitress unapologetically told people to seat themselves at uncleaned tables. They must have been short-handed that day. Despite that, TVs were tuned to sports, the drinks were being poured and people were scarfing down their meals, having a good ol’ time. —J.B. Liberty Belle4250 S. Virginia St., 825-1776
As my girlfriend and I stepped into the Liberty Belle for an afternoon drink, we felt like we were stepping back in time: low, comfortable lighting, old-style slot machines everywhere and advertisements from the early 20th century. I got a Jack and Coke for $3—not bad. The bartender was friendly and answered our questions about how long the place had been open (42 years) and other questions regarding the décor. The only drawback—I’d like to go there to eat sometime, but with the exception of a grilled cheese sandwich or salad, there’s nothing for vegetarians. —G.D.
Little Waldorf Saloon
1661 N. Virginia St., 323-3682
Wolf Pack memorabilia hangs in every square inch of The Wal, as it’s often called, although my girlfriend said the place looks like it could be sprayed out with a hose to clean it. On weekends, you’ll often find the place packed with people watching some of the area’s best bands. On a weekday afternoon, TVs showing sports were placed 360 degrees around the bar. The Jack and Coke ($4.50) I ordered was a big, football player-sized drink. The Wal also has 17 beers on tap, featuring standards with some good imports and micro-beers. —G.D.
541 E. Moana Lane, 828-1987
I heard that strippers like to hang out at this place late at night—and when I went there, the rumor held true. The name fits the bar; it is tucked away nicely so you can sneak away for a quiet time without your car advertising your presence. The bartenders were friendly, at least when I was there. But don’t call and ask for any information, because employees are apparently forbidden from giving out simple information like bar hours or drink specials. If you want to know this info, you need to call the owner. —B.H.
Luckie’s Sports Bar & Delicatessen
608 E. Prater Way, Sparks, 331-3321
A woman walked through selling flowers. Guys with graying long hair bought these overpriced buds for their dates. Luckie’s is about two blocks from my house. The people shooting pool, playing darts or drinking shots here are my neighbors. The Dukes of Hazzard décor threatened to depress me. But the blasting big rock oldies had me tapping my toes: Stevie Nicks, vintage Van Halen. The kind of songs that I know all the words to. I sipped my rum and Coke, feeling at one with my inner middle-income Sparks resident. —D.P.
880 Holman Way, Sparks, 356-9813
This bar is tucked away in a strip mall next to a Laundromat in Sparks. The inside of the bar is cozy, warm and down-home. Slot machines hug a wall, along with a jukebox that has a collection of country hits going back 30 years or more. A couple danced on the postage stamp-sized dance floor when I visited. Maybe they were waiting for their laundry to get done. It’s another locals’ bar where you don’t have to live in the neighborhood to feel welcome there. —D.R.
The Men’s Club of Reno
270 Lake St., 786-7800
This place has class, from the gentleman who seats you to the plush, high-backed chairs that line the walls to the stage with its two large pillars and soft but colorful lighting. A sound system pours out a comfortable level of modern music to accompany the dancers. They are friendly and dressed in seductive but classy attire. On weeknights, between 12 to 15 girls dance, and on the weekends, up to 25 girls rotate on the stage. Lunch and dinner is available, and dessert for the eyes is served continuously. —D.R.
2205 W. Fourth St., 323-6466
My boyfriend and I went on a Friday night around 10:30 p.m. We chose a seat right in front of the fireplace. The bartender came right over and took our order, offering us chips and salsa. We both chose 16-ounce blended margaritas. It was probably the best margarita I’ve ever had: perfectly blended, without ice chunks stopping up your straw. When I paid the bill, I found that the chips were complimentary and our drinks were only $4.50 each. Definitely a place I will be going back to. —M.P.
1495 S. Virginia St., 323-4244
The best thing about this place is the baseball memorabilia plastered on the walls. It’s good to see some New York Yankees fans on the West Coast. You’ll find some of the friendliest bartenders in town serving reasonably priced drinks in this dark, smoke-filled bar. The pool table is usually full, so if you’re looking to get a table, you’ll need to be a skilled shark. Lending your ear to a patron on the stool next to yours might lead to the most interesting conversation of your lifetime. I know that happened to me. —B.H.
Molly Malone’s Cocktail Lounge
125 W. Third St., 329-1987
When I entered Molly Malone’s, what caught my eye was green. There was green everywhere, but not in a nauseating kind of way. I guess that’s what to expect from an Irish bar. The bartender was friendly, and you can’t go wrong with a $3 Jack and Coke. The place provided enough to look at, including past Super Bowl lottery cards hanging near the bathrooms. And a huge plus for this bar: a real dart board. Yes, Molly Malone’s had an electronic one, but the real one hung next to it. —G.D.
4385 Neil Road, 827-2399
I admit it: I am biased when it comes to Murrieta’s. I have always said that it’s the best Mexican restaurant in town, and all the people I lure there agree with me. The food, which is relatively inexpensive, is consistently delicious; the staff is friendly, and the atmosphere is relaxed—it’s hardly ever noisy, even on weekend nights. The chips, which are relatively non-greasy, are served with two kinds of fresh salsa. The margaritas are super-potent (amateurs watch out), and they have a wide variety of combo plates. Go there. —C.C.
800 Marietta Way, Sparks, 356-0933
Options Lounge is a working-class bar that services the industry between Rock and McCarran boulevards in Sparks. Anything you want in a bar can be found here—deli sandwiches, a dance floor, live music every other Friday night and a happy hour from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. daily. Weekend bartender Bob Prary says some of the best pool players around congregate in this bar. “It’s a social club,” he said. “Most people who come in here know each other.” Options Lounge also features pool leagues, dart leagues and shuffleboard. Open 10 a.m. to whenever. —D.B.B.
404 N. McCarran Blvd., Sparks, 355-8391
The funk is loud at Outer Limits, considering it’s 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday. James Brown feels just slightly less good than many of the guests of this locals’ hideaway bar. Most of the patrons, said bartender Christi Olson, are off-duty casino workers, blue- and white-collar workers. Outer Limits features darts and pool. “It’s always a good time here,” says Olson. While the bar has all the accouterments of a kick-back after-shift hangout, the carpet, which features a solar system print, is out of this world. Closed from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday. —D.B.B.
PJ & Company Restaurant & Saloon
1590 S. Wells Ave., 323-6366
Considered by many to be the first stop along the Wells Avenue circuit on St. Paddy’s Day, PJ’s is a great place to hang out and share a bite with friends. We sat in the bar and lingered over drinks with complimentary chips and yummy homemade salsa. Truly friendly service, a variety of fun tunes on the stereo and eight beers on tap. Did I mention they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner? The right place any time of the day. —C.M.
2130 Oddie Blvd., Sparks, 351-1988
Walking in the door, we saw mainly older couples dancing while the band Devil Wind played country standards. This is a place for “old school” country fans. A large bar divides the club, while pool tables line the back area. The whole place was very clean and tidy. We didn’t see one bar fight; the patrons seemed to be more interested in their dance partners than in brawling. Or maybe it was the sign hanging by the door: “If you are any part of a fight in this bar, pick a number between 85 and 87!” —D.R.
600 W. Fifth St., 323-6565
With its clean mauve and blue décor, The Patio looks like the Denny’s of gay and lesbian bars. The crowd—about equally divided between men and women—was laid-back. My friend Mike and I sat at one of the high tables, feeling overwhelmingly heterosexual, and we tried to hear each other over the loud music playing on the jukebox. I imagine it’s a bit more charming in the summer, when the actual outdoor “patio” is open, but The Patio is nevertheless a fun, albeit loud, place to go for a beer year-round. —C.C.
1114 E. Fourth St., 324-2373
Peyton Place is one of Reno’s swingers bars, for couples ranging in age from their early 20s to mid-40s, on Friday and Saturday nights. You get a sense it is not your average bar, thanks to the porn on the television sets and the sign that reads, “BEWARE: PICKPOCKETS & LOOSE WOMEN.” During the other nights of the week, you will find college kids and blue-collar types. Monday nights offer karaoke, while the bar features lingerie shows every first and third Thursday. —W.P.
2590 E. Second St., 322-8699
Located peculiarly in the parking lot of the Reno Hilton, this all-night hangout has it all—the jukebox, the pool table, the patio, the sweetly romantic ladies’ room filled with more flowers than a Victorian debutante’s boudoir. If the gentlemen at the bar begin to resemble too closely the lounge’s namesake, members of the gentler sex can always retreat to the restroom and take solace in the scent of potpourri. —E.D.
Q’s Billiard Club
3350 S. Virginia St., 825-2337
For the record, I edged Kelley Lang in the Most Heinous Game of Pool Ever at this very club. We went in there on a Tuesday when things were pretty dead. It’s a nice place—new and clean with lots of pool tables. We didn’t eat, but the smells wafting from the kitchen, of hamburgers, sandwiches and fried foods, were nice. Nine TVs showed sports above the bar; six speakers blared modern-rock hits from the jukebox. But the pool was expensive; the one game Kelley and I played cost $4. —J.B.
210 W. Commercial Row, 333-2808
Of all Reno’s gay bars, this may be the diviest one. Located along the future train trench, The Quest was only moderately busy at midnight on a recent Saturday when I was there. Two extremely young-looking men explored each other’s faces at the bar, while other people gabbed around them. Loud music blared on the empty dance floor as a skimpily dressed male bartender took drink orders. This place reminds me of a smaller version of Visions—without all the fun. —J.B.
1227 Baring Blvd., Sparks, 358-6460
With pool tables from wall to wall, Rack’em Up is made for teenagers who love to play pool. Rather than paying by the game, you’ll pay for pool table rental by the hour—a great deal if you want to play a billiards variation instead of standard 8-ball. Besides pool, there’s an up-to-date arcade with a variety of games. Since this is a non-alcoholic bar, while you’re playing, you can enjoy a soda or snack on a pretzel or some candy. —B.J.
45 W. Second St., 329-1952
Is it live or is it a dive? After entering through the metal detector and passing by numerous security folks, you are free to explore. There are spacious dance floors and a variety of music playing throughout this multi-room nightclub. The hip-hop and techno beats are like an aphrodisiac, causing mating simulations on the dance floor, and women to climb into cages to express themselves. Friday nights, ladies get free cover and well drinks until 11 p.m. Which drinks are free depends on the bartender you go to. —A.S.
102 E. Grove St., 828-7429
This small, somewhat bedraggled hole-in-the-wall is a stone’s throw away from Confetti’s, Reno’s premier Tejano dance club. While its heavily barred windows may frighten certain members of the TGI Friday’s set, the bar is a convenient spot for a stiff drink before the show or a refreshing beer after dancing the night away. The music is loud; the drinks are strong, and most of the fights happen outside. —E.D.
2285 “G” St., Sparks, 355-8281
Robin’s Nest is proof positive that you can never know what to expect when you walk in a bar. On the recent Sunday morning I was there, a patron had a blow-up sex doll sitting next to him. “I have never seen anything like that in this bar before,” said Tom, a regular customer. The bar doesn’t have draft beer or slot machines, but they do have three-ball pool tournaments and all the colorful characters you’d want to meet in a neighborhood bar. —D.B.B.
Ryan’s Saloon and Broiler
924 S. Wells Ave., 323-4142
Bigger than it seems from outside, Ryan’s has more than enough to keep you entertained for an evening. We discovered three gaming tables in the bar area where you can bring your own chess, checkers or backgammon pieces. They’ve got a grill in the corner, ready to serve up wings, burgers or just about any bar snack you could want. In the spacious back room (lined with wooden plaques in memory of former patrons), there are pool tables and dart boards. Although there’s not too much on tap, the beers are big and guaranteed to keep you going for a while. —C.M.
434 N. Virginia St., 329-9646
This bar sits across from Reno’s casino row. One thing the place has going for it is the attractive female bartenders behind the rail. Whether sipping on a draft beer or guzzling a cocktail, the poison always tastes better when poured by a beautiful hand. Besides the grungy clientele that wanders into the joint, Shooter’s Saloon seems to be fulfilling its mission: providing casino guests with an alternative to sitting at the cookie-cutter bars inside the gambling halls. —B.H.
Sidelines Bar & Grill
1237 Baring Blvd., Sparks, 355-1030
From the name, one might assume that Sidelines is primarily a sports bar, along the lines of Bully’s or Sparky’s. But Sidelines is actually a really nice place to hang out, no matter what level of athletic interest you might have, with no annoying sports memorabilia all over the walls. Instead, you get very plush red upholstery and mellow lighting, and a surprisingly big stage for bands and a dance floor area. A Jack and Coke is $3, and Sidelines has a nice variety of beer on tap. —A.Y.R.
1221 Commerce St., Sparks, 331-1986
“A cop came in here a couple days ago, and I told him, ‘If you’re looking for anyone under 50, you’re in the wrong place,'” says the bartender. “Yeah,” says the patron, “they don’t call this Menopause Manor for nothing.” A very clean, friendly bar with a clientele of old-time Sparks residents. If you’re a Sparks High graduate, they’ll make room for you at the bar. Judging from the signs, fishermen and hunters are also welcome. This bar features a brand-new dance floor, a classic jukebox and shuffleboard competitions. —D.B.B.
Sparky’s Sports Bar & Grill
1460 E. Prater Way, Sparks, 356-6969
Sparky’s has a friendly environment, ideal for an informal get-together with friends. From my seat near the middle of the dining room, I could see 28 TVs, and while most were showing typical sports bar fare, I spotted everything from swimming to CNBC to The Weather Channel. In addition to normal bar food, Sparky’s also offers pizzas, sandwiches and hamburgers. For non-sports entertainment, there’s a mini-arcade and a half-dozen pool tables ready for your use. —B.J.
Spice House Adult Cabaret
310 Spokane St., 786-1299
It must be somebody’s birthday _ two guys are shirtless and getting whipped hard by five girls with belts on stage. The big-screen TV is situated stage right, and it is very big, but it still doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of competition to the violent, belt-wielding, naked women. Apparently the Spice House is the only place around where you can watch girls shower on stage, although they forget to mention that you may feel inclined to shower when you get home. Especially if you watched it while trying to eat Spice House Wings and Naughty Nachos at the same time. —D.M.R.
Spiro’s Sports Bar & Grille
4690 Longley Lane, 828-6000
This place is so new, it is still under construction. I stood peering through the glass doors, imagining what it would be like to be sitting at the bar having a cold brew and watching a game. But in reality, all there was to see were a few studs, and they weren’t even the human kind. I look forward to the end of May, when Spiro’s will open its doors to sports fans. Maybe then, I will be able to judge for myself which goes better with baseball: an American hot dog or a Greek gyro. —A.S.
Stained Glass Pub
540 W. Fourth St., 329-8548
The cute, little yellow house with the blue trim is as warm and cozy inside as it looks on the outside. Tiffany lamps, pool tables, electric darts and a jukebox with all the Def Leppard, Poison, Shaina Twain and Otis Redding you need, plus a picture of John Lennon, make you want to greet everyone by their nickname. With about 25 stools, the small bar gets loud with a small crowd, but it’s more like hanging out with your family. A trio of TVs give just enough distraction if that’s what you’re after. And you can get a sandwich or an omelet around lunchtime if you so desire. —C.A.
The Stock Exchange
535 E. Fourth St., 348-1983
Hey, remember the ‘80s? Yeah, me neither. But the Stock Exchange is what us young folks probably imagine the ‘80s were like for all those stockbrokers, yuppie lawyers and junior execs. The design and décor of the Stock Exchange is very minimalist and very classy. You probably shouldn’t show up in sweats and sneakers. Check your stocks (or just goof off) on the computer terminals, or thrash your significant other in Connect Four. Indulge in some spicy bar snacks. Bring some cash, though, because a Jack and Coke is $5. —A.Y.R.
303 Kietzke Lane, 348-4806
If you forget to take your ID to Stroker’s, don’t bother going in. A sign on the bar says: “Don’t have ID? Get the fuck out!” Be sure to take your money with you; another sign reads: “Toni says, pay your fucking tab.” But beyond the warnings at the bar, this place seemed fun and friendly. The bartender was quick to say “hi” and asked us what we wanted to drink. Posters and photos of motorcycles with their owners lined the walls. If you like hard rock, drinking and playing pool this place is for you. —D.R.
1290 E. Plumb Lane, 825-4653
Sullivan’s is an Irish pub with a lot of unique little features. The bar offers many specialties—from personal volume stations to listen to your favorite game to 34-ounce beer mugs. The grill offers an assortment of hot and cold sandwiches. Sullivan’s caters mostly to golf enthusiasts and college kids, and is known more as a local hideaway rather than a hot spot, with its calm and mellow atmosphere. The pub will offer free limo service home, provided the driver is tipped, on St. Patrick’s Day. —W.P.
3001 W. Fourth St., 329-1906
I miss the old Summit Saloon. There used to be live music on the weekends from bands like the Sand Dunes and Keyser Soze. But the new owner’s lease is apparently more restrictive than the previous owner’s. Instead, he says, he’s trying to attract the crowd on Summit Ridge Drive that lives right behind his bar. But it still looks like the same bar as when it catered to university students. Something needs to be done inside the place to make it stand out. There’s potential, but it’s not yet there. —G.D.
501 Mill St., 329-5922
This place’s unassuming exterior won’t remind you of a ski lodge, but you can still partake in some après-ski drinking. The bartender was very friendly, asking how the weather was as my husband, Dave, and I settled into some seats at the bar. Christmas lights hung around the bar and around framed wall art depicting a winter scene, which hung above a fireplace. No fire had been lit, but it was warm anyway. If you have an urge to read, check out the selection of paperbacks in a bookshelf across from the bar. —K.L.
1099 S. Virginia St., 329-1099
This mysteriously nondescript bar is the venue of choice for Reno’s large, vibrant drag underground. Periodically, the lovely ladies of the Silver Dollar Court pull the pleather, stillettos and gold lame out of mothballs for some of the best diva action this side of San Francisco. In keeping with the rest of Reno’s peculiarly flashy, yet trashy, down-home ambiance, country acts are a favorite—Dolly Parton is not to be missed. —E.D.
Time Out Lounge
902 S. Virginia St., 348-4644
The Time Out Lounge is described as having crowds ranging from bikers to lawyers. The bar’s graveyard shift is said to be the most happening time. The bar is under the same ownership as Corrigan’s, and the jukebox plays all the classic rock tunes you heard while growing up. The Time Out sometimes offers acoustic sets and occasionally does benefits for charity. A nice place. —W.P.
180 W. Peckham Lane, 825-8112
Just walking into Toppers, I could tell this was a locals’ bar. Booze, darts, pool and fried foods are this place’s draw. On a Saturday night, only 10 people (including the bartender) were there. The bartender was friendly and referred to us by name after checking our IDs. I ordered a mixed drink. My friend ordered a beer. The mixed drink did not skimp on any alcohol but was pricey. The beer was more reasonable. Bottom line: A friendly locals’ place to get your party rolling, but not the place for an entire evening out. —A.R.R.
1218 Victorian Ave., Sparks, 358-5484
Val’s is the kind of bar that you go to if you’re not bothered about atmosphere. Located in Victorian Square, Val’s is a “no frills” place. You have your pool table, juke box, dart board and, of course, a bar—your basic necessities for just plain ol’ drinking. Slot machines are located on the bar, and if you get a four-of-a-kind, you can enter a drawing for a $20 bar tab and a stuffed animal. —D.R.
908 Victorian Ave., Sparks, 358-4778
The Victorian Saloon is a neighborhood Sparks bar. The bar caters mostly to blue-collar types and hard-working people. Located in the heart of Victorian Square, the Victorian Saloon is one of the sources of the daiquiris and other drinks you see people drinking during special events in the area, such as the Sparks Hometowne Farmers’ Market or Hot August Nights. —W.P.
340 Kietzke Lane, 786-5455
Anyone who loves dancing to techno and hip-hop music should go to Visions. Visions is known as Reno’s top gay dance club, but those who don’t swing that way shouldn’t hesitate to go for the late-night dancing. Although it was crowded on the Saturday night I stopped by, the bartender served me promptly. When I later moved out onto the dance floor, I found that it was populated enough to keep me from feeling self-conscious about my dancing, but not so crowded that I bumped into people. One of Reno’s best clubs. —C.C.
West Second Street Bar
118 W. Second St., 348-7976
The West Second Street Bar is not what you’d expect from the outside. When you walk in the door, you’ll be surprised at how spacious and classy it is inside. Make sure you have a chat with David, a very friendly bartender who provides ambience in the daytime with his personal and eclectic MP3 collection. At night, the West Second Street Bar is unmatched in its karaoke offerings seven days a week on a very expensive sound system. A $3 Jack and Coke will keep this reviewer coming back. —A.Y.R.
Wild Orchid Gentlemen’s Club
515 S. Virginia St., 324-1010
Since I’d never been to a strip club, I was a little nervous when I entered the Wild Orchid. But to my surprise, it was different than I expected—no drooling fat men wandering around. It was extremely classy, and the women were gorgeous and very friendly. My friend got a lap dance from a long-legged blonde. We both enjoyed the show. The drinks cost a bit more than at other bars, but other bars don’t have beautiful women slithering through pink and blue lights. —B.H.
Winner’s Circle II
7100 N. Virginia St., 853-0444
This NASCAR-themed lounge can only be described as eerily hygienic. The small, rectangular room features a spotless bar and a long, glowing line of slot machines. The checkered carpet is clean and new-smelling. The walls are covered with neat murals of race cars in primary colors. It’s a little like a brand-new Chuck E. Cheese’s—with alcohol. The alcohol, on the other hand, isn’t bad; mixed drinks are concocted with obvious expertise. —E.D.
1195 S. Wells Ave., 322-7965
This is one tiny bar—a bit intimidating, perhaps—but if you like darts, this could be your new hangout. Having barely sat down (there’s only one long table to sit at other than the bar), we were immediately challenged to a rousing game of cricket. The Wonder Bar’s definitely a local’s hangout; our opponents had even brought their own darts. The bartender was putting away the remains of a stewpot the night we were there, which leads us to believe they might even have an occasional bite to eat. —C.M.
2910 S. Virginia St., 827-6015
Lying in the shadows of the Peppermill’s neon sign is the Zanzibar Lounge. And it may be the perfect place to go if you’ve just lost $5,000 and need to get out of a casino immediately. The Zanzibar looks like a drinkers’ bar. The atmosphere was comfortable enough, the bartender was friendly and the patrons were enjoying themselves listening to classic rock songs. And in case of emergencies, a fart extinguisher was on hand. It was a nice touch. — G.D.
1074 S. Virginia St., 337-6004
This bar is the best place in town to see local musicians. Almost every night of the week, tunes leak out the back door of the Zephyr Lounge. The place is small, so it gets filled fast, especially when Steve Foht is in town with his new band, SpaceZero, or if he is doing something by himself. The bartenders are probably the friendliest in town; they seem to be enjoying the music as much as the patrons. —B.H.