Civil War hospitality

Ryan Gold

Photo By Nick Higman

The owners of the bar voted last year by RN&R readers as the “Best in Northern Nevada” have opened a new lounge dedicated to our sixteenth president. Ryan Gold, 30, is co-owner of The Imperial Bar and Lounge, 150 N. Arlington Ave., and a new bar that flashes back to the 1860s: The Lincoln Lounge, 302 E. Fourth St.

Tell me about The Lincoln Lounge.

If you don’t really know about it, it’s hard to figure out that it’s open. It’s really dark, and the only way to know if it’s open is if there’s a blue light above the door. If the blue light is on, the place is open. Once you get inside, you’ll notice it’s really dark and really, really, really retro with velvet-and-gold flocked wallpaper and some really cool local art hanging up of Abe Lincoln.

Why Abe Lincoln?

We called it The Lincoln Lounge because it’s the old Lincoln Highway. Way back when, the Lincoln Highway ran right through there on Fourth Street. And I did some fact-checking and found out that back in the ‘20s and ‘30s, [our building] was called the Lincoln Market, so we just stuck with that Lincoln theme.

Tell me about the portraits.

Right now, the ones we have up are by local artists Jaxon Northon and Ahren Hertel, and they’re both of Abe Lincoln. Stylistically, they’re really different, but they’re both really amazing.

Any Lincoln-themed events? A Lincoln look-alike contest?

You never know, the sky’s the limit … people are really getting into the whole Abe bit. We do have the Abe’s Mug Club right now, where you have to drink all of our beers—

At once?

No … you have one year to drink [one each] of all the beers we have, and once you do that, you gain lifetime membership to the Abe’s Mug Club. You get a 22 ounce Abe Lincoln stein and a shirt and exclusive specials.

How many beers do you have?

69 beers.

A good number. What’s the range of beers?

All kinds. Domestic, microbrews, imports, you name it. All different kinds of beers … $2 Pabsts to $13 Chimays, Olympia in a can, all kinds of Rogue Beers, all kinds of cool California microbrews …

And what’s going on over at Imperial?

Imperial? We just changed our menu. … The food is better than ever. … Actually next Saturday, we’re having our first Imperial bierstube parking lot party, with some live music. The Saddle Tramps are playing. It’s going to be a great weekend for downtown Reno, the Riverfest is down there … this weekend should be really cool.

Can you describe the difference between the two places?

Lincoln Lounge is Imperial’s grumpy grandfather. It’s a completely different vibe than Imperial. Imperial definitely has a couple different vibes: in the early-hours, it’s a get- food-and-hang-out-with-your-friends place … and then it gets the late-night, busy, younger crowd. Lincoln Lounge pretty much stays the same. Just a bunch of people hanging out in a small, little bar, just having a beer.