Review some bars, dammit!

Behind the bar at Club Voo Doo.

Behind the bar at Club Voo Doo.

Photo by David Robert

Scott Herbst is a graduate assistant in the behavior analysis program at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Having moved here without a clue as to what to do for fun, where to go to eat or what political issues are facing the Truckee Meadows, I’ve found your paper to be an invaluable resource. This has been particularly true of the annual Bars & Clubs issue. I would have never found some of my favorite spots in Reno if not for the reviews provided by your writers.

Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when the annual Bars & Clubs issue wasn’t in the format I have come to love and appreciate. Imagine my anger when, reading through this year’s articles, I found references to less than 10 area establishments, not all of which were bars and/or clubs. It occurred to me that coordinating such a task as providing short reviews of dozens of area bars might be more difficult that I had imagined. So my friends and I visited several establishments to provide you with an example of the sort of commentary we have come to expect from your publication. On a recent Saturday night, we visited two local establishments that none of us had ever been to and that, in the interest of drinking responsibly, were accessible by public transportation. That said, here are our reviews, free of charge. Please learn from them. Upon entering Alturas, I was immediately struck by how much I didn’t fit in. As a 20-something graduate student, I felt a little too young and a little too clean-cut compared with the leather- and denim-clad clientele this bar caters to. My unease didn’t last. The bartender was dedicated and friendly, and the patrons were friendly and good-natured about these preppy kids invading their turf. Though we didn’t stay around for it, there is live music in the basement every Friday and Saturday, dry snacks behind the bar, a pool table, a jukebox well-stocked with ‘70s and ‘80s hard rock and lots and lots of souvenir T-shirts. Though we were only going to stop in for a drink, we ended up staying for two. Overall, a little rough around the edges, but a nice place to stop in, have a drink and enjoy an assortment of local characters.

From the outside, this bar doesn’t look like much. The sign is nothing more than a string of Christmas lights arranged to spell "Voo Doo." From the inside, it’s an entirely different story. The bar is split into two sections. The front has a laid-back but stylish (slightly gothic) atmosphere with a high ceiling, pool tables, foosball and plenty of couches and soft chairs. The back seemed more decadent with dark lighting, loud (live) music and an energetic, diverse crowd, most seeming to be in their mid-20s. Despite a marked diversity in styles, everyone seemed pretty happy with everyone else. The bartenders were a little slow at times but polite, and the bouncers were happy to inform us that there will be live music featured every weekend well into the near future. Overall, this is not the type of place that I’d stop in just for a drink, but it’s definitely worth a trip back on a weekend. Expect a cover charge. We paid $5 on the night we went.