Beaten path

Reno’s bar scene holds hidden gems

Column note

It’s always fun to be in the know when it comes to secrets. Among Reno’s myriad bars are a few hideaways that fly under the radar, either because they are intentionally hidden or simply keep a low profile. What they all have in common is strong drinks, cozy atmospheres and dim lighting that will let you keep a few secrets of your own.


Thirsty’s is a secret bar and a time machine all rolled into one. Located on the seventh floor of the downtown Plaza Hotel the original bar was only recently rediscovered after being closed and walled off in 1985. After a lot of dusting, the bar reopened in 2016, keeping a lot of the old vibes. The inside is 1980’s cozy with wood paneling, vintage photos and comfy leather chairs. Scott, the bartender, loves to make custom drinks and will probably ask, “What’s your favorite flavor in the world? Pepperoni pizza is an acceptable answer.” As such, you can swing by for a literal pepperoni martini. It’s open on Friday and Saturday nights at 5 p.m. Happy Hour is from 5 to 6 p.m. A password is required for entry. Check out their Facebook page to get the secret info.

Revision Taproom

Perched on top of Pignic Pub & Patio is the new Revision Taproom. Turn right when you enter, head up the stairs and keep going until you hit the bar, which is made up of several connected rooms, courtesy of Pignic’s history as a Victorian-era home. These rooms all have a different them, from French bordello to grandma’s attic—if grandma liked to hunt and play poker. To encourage patrons to get settled, they have boards games, darts and a cozy living room with a TV. The taproom is a paradise for IPA lovers, but they also have a small selection of wine and artisanal cocktails available. Since it’s right upstairs, it’s a great oasis for the introverts when Pignic gets a bit rowdy. Its hours are Monday and Tuesday, 3–10 p.m., Wednesday through Friday 3–11 p.m, and Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m.–1 a.m.

Seven Troughs Speakeasy

This cozy gem is hidden in the basement of the old post office building. Though you don’t need a password to get in, it does have an old-timey prohibition era feel with wooden barrels of booze, copper walls and a shadowy ambiance. As a craft distillery, you can try a sampler of the different boozes they make (including vodka, rum and good old-fashioned moonshine). They also have snacks to cushion the buzz, including a charcuterie board and sandwiches. The only downside is that, like the rest of the businesses there, they close early, so you have to be willing to play 1920s gangster pretty early in the evening. It’s open Wednesday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m.,and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


In a town full of sports bars, Royce is a naturec-centric bar that often shows documentaries featuring toddling penguins and majestic lions. They also play kitschy movies like Jaws and The Breakfast Club, as well as melancholy country music—so there really is something for everyone. To spot this quiet little bar, look for the red awning and white twinkly lights off Sierra St. (connected to Old Granite Street Eatery). Locally famous for their double patty Royce burgers, they also have several other tasty options like bacon bites, grilled cheese and deviled eggs. You can belly up to the bar or lounge on one of their antique couches, which are good for bigger groups and make-out sessions. The Royce bartenders are friendly, and the mellow atmosphere draws an eclectic crowd that’s usually up for a good conversation. Who wouldn’t want to talk about penguins? Royce is open Mondaythrough Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m.