Good sport

Bartenders Greyson Beffa and Calder Cohen share a smaller serving of The Stick’s over-the-top Bloody Mary.

Bartenders Greyson Beffa and Calder Cohen share a smaller serving of The Stick’s over-the-top Bloody Mary.

Photo/Allison Young

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Billing itself as Reno’s first non-smoking, non-gambling, modern sports lounge, The Stick has kicked up a fair amount of buzz in the few weeks it’s been open. The decor is a mix of classic and current, and despite the plethora of screens tuned to sports programming, the place feels a bit more sophisticated than the average fan hangout. The noise level wasn’t oppressive during our daytime visit, and the upper deck seating—featuring its own bar and restrooms—looks out on the rest of the venue. I could see some serious parties taking place here.

There are several specialty cocktails to choose from, but only one caught my eye—the fishbowl bloody Mary ($25). A bit pricey for a drink? Not when it’s a 32-ounce stemware globe filled with ice, vodka, and housemade bloody mix, garnished with lemon and lime slices, celery, pickled green bean and asparagus, giant cocktail olives, pepperoncini and bacon, topped with a skewer of shrimp, pork shank and hamburger slider. The slider was warm and gooey with white cheddar, the shank was tender and coated in a nice Moroccan spice rub, the shrimp was large, the bacon was somehow still crisp despite its bath, and the veggies played their part. The beverage itself wasn’t terribly strong, but the balance of flavors and spice was just about perfect. My wife’s not a fan of bloodies, but she declared this the best she’d tasted and did her part helping my daughter and I finish it off. You may order it to have solo, but unless you’re sharing, you probably won’t need to order a meal.

Though I’ve had avocado fries elsewhere, our order of deep-fried avocado bombs ($10, six pieces) was probably the best hot avocado dish I’ve tried. The crunchy exterior doesn’t present a ton of seasoning, but the explosion of molten avocado in your mouth combines quite well with their cool and tangy housemade dipping sauce.

Probably my favorite appetizer aside from the fishbowl, the Buffalo chicken wraps ($12, four pieces) featured grilled chicken, Buffalo sauce, red onion and celery slaw atop hearts of romaine lettuce with a drizzle of ranch dressing and crumbled blue cheese. Regrettably, an order of crab cake bites ($6, three pieces) were my least favorite item. I’m not sure if it was the crab itself or the seasoning, but something just wasn’t working for me. My daughter liked them a little better and helped out.

My daughter’s bowl of shrimp jambalaya ($14) was really good, including a light garlic cream sauce, large shrimp, andouille sausage, bacon, roasted pepper, green onion, sundried tomato, black bean, corn, small penne pasta—instead of the traditional rice—and a couple pieces of garlic flat bread to soak up all that goodness. I feel fortunate she shared a couple bites. I’m not sure I would have been so generous in her shoes.

Equally impressive was my wife’s ribeye steak, broiled to order and served with a cracked peppercorn demi-glace, caramelized onion, garlic mashed potato and roasted veggies. The steak was tender, tasty, and made me wish I’d ordered it. The veg was perfect. If anything, I’d say the potatoes could have used a little less salt. My wife declared them yummy and ignored my criticism.

After a meal composed of so many delicious calories, it’s pretty rare we would order dessert. But there are two different cobblers on the menu, and we’re definitely a family who enjoys the homey comfort of a good cobbler. We were not disappointed by our shared peach brandy cobbler a la mode($6.75)—sweet without being saccharine, perfectly crunchy crumble, and just hot enough to start melting the ice cream.

If you want to toss back a few and watch the game with friends, they’ve got you covered. For me, the food and drink easily took center court and held my complete attention.