Good pub grub

Reno being a casino town, it is not hard to find late-night dining. However, if one desires something other than a pair of runny eggs, anemic pork products and a side of potatoes that taste too much like the box they came in, the pickings can indeed be slim. There are a number of bars that serve the charmingly named “pub grub,” which, though it may satisfy the nocturnal munchies—especially with a few pints down the hatch—one pays dearly for eating in the morning.

Having been working late these past few weeks, I arranged to meet my friends Paul and Jenny for some after-hours grazing at Shenanigan’s. Located in a well-established strip mall, the bar doesn’t call out to you from the street. But once inside, the atmosphere is immediately distinct. The pressed tin ceiling tiles and handsome back bar give the place an authentic pub feel. The long line of beer taps—the menu claims 30 beers on tap—make it a distinctively American pub.

When we sat down at 10 p.m., the place was crowded. Our server, Ashley, was with us immediately, as was our beer. (Most micros and imports are $3.25, with domestics at $2.75) We looked over the menu. Bar staples such as burgers, hot sandwiches, nachos and wings are all well-represented. But there are some distinctive items as well, like the sliders, mini sandwiches filled with hofbrau-style roast beef or turkey and served au jus ($5.95 for an order of six).

Being good bar patrons, and gluttons at that, we decided to test the wings ($3.95), ordering them medium to appease Jenny’s tender stomach. Ashley was glad to accommodate our request for bleu cheese dressing instead of ranch. When they came, they were just crispy enough on the outside and steaming hot on the inside. I’ve not yet found the holy grail of wings, but these were pretty damn good.

For our main course, Paul ordered the house specialty, the fish and chips ($6.50). It was a model of the genre, crisply fried pieces of cod served over a heaping basket of fries with a side of cole slaw. Jenny had the Shenanigan’s turkey grille ($5.75), a grilled turkey sandwich served on sourdough with avocado and Cheddar cheese. It looked good, but I didn’t even get a bite. That wasn’t Jenny’s fault, though. I was too busy trying to down my Chicago beef melt ($6.75). This is a monster of a sandwich, filled with roast beef, grilled mushrooms, onions and bell peppers, bacon strips, thousand island dressing and melted cheese, all stuffed between two slices of parmesan sourdough bread. It’s fantastically delicious. Perfect bar food—and I even felt good the next day.

Shenanigan’s isn’t just a late-night eatery, however. Ashley pointed out their daily lunch specials, ranging from a blackened salmon caesar salad to a New York steak sandwich, all for $5.95, except on Friday, when the shrimp scampi over angel hair pasta bumps up the price to $6.95.

The best thing about Shenanigan’s is that it feels like a friendly place. People at the next table chat with you; the wait staff are personable, and never let their patrons go thirsty or hungry for very long. Big portions, great service, long hours—Shenanigan’s Olde English Pub surely has the right to claim its place as a superior establishment of grub.