Marina, marina

The ahi sashimi platter is a bright spot at the Jib Coffee House and Wine Bar.

The ahi sashimi platter is a bright spot at the Jib Coffee House and Wine Bar.

Photo By Nick Higman

The Jib at the Marina

325 Harbour Cove Dr.
Sparks, NV 89434

(775) 355-9266

I lived in Europe for 11 years. While Reno has its advantages, when I first moved here, I felt that certain things were missing. No ancient Roman ruins or day trips to Paris. I also assumed that the leisurely enjoyment of good food, coffee and wine while sitting outside watching the blue sky reflect off moving waters was nowhere to be found.

I was wrong. The Jib Coffee House and Wine Bar is by the Sparks Marina. My husband and I dine there often. We’ll sit at an outdoor table, drinking wine and eating the stuffed mushrooms ($8.95): mushroom caps stuffed with jalapeños, basil, garlic, butter, bacon and onions, filled with cream cheese and baked with feta. We’ll sit and enjoy the view for more than an hour. No one rushes us. We can eat and drink as slowly as we like.

No one rushes at The Jib—not even the servers. The service is some of the slowest I have ever seen. Now, I don’t mind this slow-moving table-waiting because when I go, I go ready to spend some serious time, perhaps just sipping the organically-grown coffee. But it’s important to know that one does not go to The Jib for a quick bite.

Last weekend, a family dropped into seats at the table next to me, loudly bemoaning the empty state of their stomachs. After nearly 10 minutes of no attention, the woman went inside and informed the man behind the counter that she was ready to order. He looked up from the latte he was carefully preparing and said, stone-faced, “I’m not ready to take your order.”

Either the folks at The Jib haven’t quite gotten the hang of the ingratiating smile, or they don’t care to learn it. At any rate, the affronted woman turned, eyes blazing and declared, “I never!” before marching her family away to the source of a swifter snack.

So The Jib might not be for everyone. But for those who enjoy a leisurely pace and a nice view, it’s wonderful. The inside is snug and welcoming, with plush sofas, dark wooden tables, candles, big windows and funky music. Pirate paraphernalia hangs here and there, along with interesting lanterns and quirky signs, such as “Please remain seated while the bar is in motion.” There are also bookshelves full of magazines and novels. It’s a place where a person could spend an entire afternoon.

I did just that on another recent visit with a friend. On a surprisingly chilly day, we snuggled onto one of the sofas and spent nearly three hours talking, while enjoying a veggie sandwich ($7.75) and a bagel and lox ($8.75). The portions were just right: not too much, but more than enough. The bagel was crisp, not soggy, the cream cheese generous, the lox fresh and the veggies crunchy. I actually licked my fingers.

The menu is quite extensive for such a small venue and includes everything from the skaliwag ($7.75), a ham and Swiss sandwich, to the lighthouse ($8.95), mixed greens, cranberries, crumbled blue cheese, candied pecans, cilantro lime vinaigrette and green apples. The Jib also serves tapas, breakfast and an assortment of wines. Some wines are half price every Tuesday, which is “open bottle night,” and they host an open mic night on Wednesdays.

My husband and I like to wind down after a hectic week with a strong drink and the mate’s platter ($13.95), a daily selection of fresh fruits and aged cheeses. This dish is big enough to share and “guaranteed to keep the scurvy away.” Now, who can compete with that?