Super man-cave

Yvette Marlin serves a Reuben sandwich and taco salad with chicken at Woody's Grill & Spirits.

Yvette Marlin serves a Reuben sandwich and taco salad with chicken at Woody's Grill & Spirits.


Woody’s Grille & Spirits opens at 10 a.m. Closing times vary.

Woody’s Grille & Spirits

960 S. McCarran Blvd.
Sparks, NV 89431

(775) 351-1010

With a few notable exceptions, I dislike watching sports, but my husband keeps harping that “a real food reviewer” owes it to her readership to sample the gamut of dining styles available in the Reno area. That includes the occasional sports bar—an institution which I generally regard as the real-life harbinger of Fahrenheit 451. It’s thus remarkable that although I went reluctantly to Woody’s one recent weeknight, I went home with knowledge of another place I can genuinely recommend—at least for the food.

Although we were among only a few patrons on a slow weeknight, my husband thought he’d died and gone to Sports Glutton Heaven. Not only are there flatscreens showing any available sport covering every vantage of the horseshoe bar, but each booth in the capacious dining area also has its own private television, enabling one’s husband to include the TV in the dinner discussion as if it were a venerable family member—and mine did. Our server was prompt and polite, ably juggling her double duty as bartender and waitress.

I was dry that night, but my more bibulous spouse was eager to sample a Long Island Iced Tea ($6). It’s art with these, to be sure. There is a tendency with tall drinks, as happened with his, for the ice to quickly melt and give you an unnecessarily swampy libation, but it was still decent and refreshing.

With an NFL preseason game emanating from Uncle Tube, my husband tried to lure me into small talk about the prospects of the Packers with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. (The Whats? Aaron Who?) But I balked, diverting my attention to our excellent grilled flatbread pizza appetizer ($6), a delicious construction of pesto, tomato slices and melted mozzarella. It was really, really tasty and, I will admit, I was really, really surprised. Good food didn’t seem likely in this terrifyingly Brave New World.

The entrees were equally delightful surprises. I was amazed not only that they had a veggie sandwich ($8), but that it was a scrumptious combination of grilled portabella mushroom, tomato and mozzarella. My football-distracted half went with his sports bar staple—the fish and chips ($12)—which were perfectly done fillets of white tuna on a bed of crunchy fries.

Plausible pub grub like the half-pound Woody burger ($8, not counting add-ons such as cheese or mushrooms) the tuna sandwich ($7), and the club sandwich ($9) is offered alongside the snazzy and enticing linguini with clams ($12), chicken alfredo ($12) and chicken cordon bleu sandwich ($8). Not even counting salads and appetizers, there are an impressive 20 entree and sandwich options available for a variety of preferences.

Call me effete, but with sports-spewing televisions, shuffleboard, pool, and freely flowing booze (happy hour, with half-off drinks and $5 appetizers is 4 to 6 p.m.; you can thank my husband for ascertaining this crucial factoid), there is little question in my mind about Woody’s principal target demographic. Still, I was genuinely impressed with the menu options as well as the food I was served.

My husband confirmed with our server that Woody’s would be showing an Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view program that weekend. “Wow, baby,” he chirped. “We could watch the fights, I could get lit, and you could drive me home!”

As if. But if your cup of Long Island Iced Tea is a bizarre fusion of high quality restaurant food served in an ultra-man-cave, Woody’s is definitely a worthwhile venue.