Passing the toast with some of Reno’s service industry workers
Reno is one of the great drinking cities of America. No, really. Think about it: With around-the-clock bar service and multiple happy hours each and every day of the week, the good times never have to end. There are literally hundreds of quality drinking establishments in town, but since drinkers are by definition creatures of habit, it’s easy to get stuck in that “Where-should-we-go-next” rut? Sure, sometimes all you want is your favorite drink handed to you before you even have to ask for it in a place where everybody knows your name, and nobody bothers you. But going out for a tipple with such a defeatist attitude is equivalent to drinking a sixer of O’Doul’s alone on your couch watching a Frazier marathon on mute. On days when you’re a little more animated, and the mood for variety strikes, all you need to find your next favorite watering hole is a few seconds of a barkeep’s attention. It’s like asking a park ranger for a good place to go hiking.
Welcome to the jungle
Miriam Stanton is an art gallery curator and a bartender who seems to know everybody in town. When she’s not pouring drinks at Red Rock (site of the original Blue Lamp) at 241 S. Sierra St., she’s working at the Nevada Museum of Art. If you haven’t met her at either one of those places, there’s a good chance she handed you a croissant or a coffee from behind the counter at Deux Groz Nez some time before the legendary café/bar/hangout/cultural melting-pot closed in December.
After a double-shot of work, then maybe a visit to the theater, Miriam likes to get juiced at Jungle Vino, the cozy wine bar at 246 W. First St.
To Stanton, Jungle Vino’s wares are a sophisticated but relaxing trip from the cellar to the showroom. It’s a low-lit, relaxing wine bar that can easily transport you to a better plac— place to wallow in your comfortable inner silence.
“I associate it with after-cultural events or activities, a concert or a movie or something,” she says. “It comes to mind as a one-on-one, let’s-meet-for-a-drink kind of place. I schedule a meeting, but then I usually run into someone.”
She likes the changing selection of wines, and the staff’s knowledge of their reds, whites and booze.
“In general, the bartenders I run into know about wine and can have a conversation about it,” she says of the sunny sommeliers. “I always end with a good glass of interesting red.”
Jungle Vino bartender Myriam Bravo pauses to ponder her haunt-of-choice for a moment as she’s getting ready for a shift, then says definitively, “The Roxy.”
It’s not just the half-price happy-hour cocktails that Myriam and her friends appreciate at this classy-but-friendly martini bar/bistro inside the Eldorado Casino at 345 N. Virginia St.
“It’s the atmosphere, the great drinks; I love their cosmopolitans and martinis,” she says. “I love the live music that they have sometimes.”
She’s talking about the lounge-like background jazz coming from the piano player in the corner.
Roxy is like a pleasant cove inside the pelagic madness of the world. It’s a giant metaphor. A life test. Especially if you happen to be nursing a hangover. If you can get by all the running neon, the flashing lights, the jingling sounds and high-level casino trickery and find your way inside, Roxy will be waiting for you with open arms.
“Saturday and Friday, that’s when my friends and I usually decide to go,” says Myriam. It’s a good girls-night-out place. We dress up. We do the whole thin—e have lots of fun, talking about our problems and our happiness.”
No moral dilemmas here
After a long shift helping customers like Myriam and her friends sort out their problems and celebrate the good times, Roxy cocktail waitress Abigail Terrobias likes to take off the high heels and take it downscale to her favorite sports bar.
“I go to Scruples because they’re open 24 hours, and they have food,” she says.
Being a booze jockey, sometimes Abigail doesn’t get out of work until 2 a.m., and sometimes it just feels like it’s time to start the next day already. So she hops over to 91 W. Plumb Lane to refresh with an exotic drink and a nosh.
“Scruple’s has breakfast all night, which is awesome,” she says. “When I want to blow off steam, that’s where I go, usually with people from work.”
And, says Abigail, the late-night watering hole/breakfast joint makes tasty Absolut pear madras.
Very happy hours
Angela Sarti, a bartender at Scruples, agrees that her bar is a good place to unwind after work. “I would pick here, usually,” she says, when asked about her favorite after-hours hangout.
But once in a while, she ventures over to 1455 Wells Ave. to enjoy the laid-back vibe and maybe a game of darts at Lucke’s Saloon.
“I like the bartenders there. The people are just really nice. It’s just very comfortable there,” Angela says.
She likes to go late, and she says it’s a good place to bring a friend along. “I usually just drink beer, maybe a Corona,” she says. Or maybe two.
“It’s really mellow,” she adds. “It’s not crowded. It’s good if you’re looking for a place to just relax.”
Out of lucke
When you mellow-out at Lucke’s, rest assured that you’ll probably be getting really good service. The bartenders declined repeated requests to talk about where they like to go after hours, so I’m guessing they were too busy being nice to their customers to have time to chat. If you want to know what they think is the best place to kick back with a cocktail, you’re just going to have to go ask them yourself.