Alix Martinez is the marketing director for Brauhaus 701 in midtown and newly opened the Whisky Lounge next door at 711 Virginia St.—both owned by Fady Mehanna. Its grand opening was April 26. Patrons can get a $26 deal that entitles them to a drink at the Whisky Lounge as well as an appetizer, beer and entree at Brahaus 701.
It’s the same owner as Brauhaus? What was the idea behind opening the lounge next door?
The owner—definitely he’s passionate about opening up new places that have a unique feel, a unique menu, whether that menu is a beverage menu or if it’s a food menu. He wants to offer something that’s not normally found in our destination. I think he really nailed it with these two businesses.
Why “whisky” without the “e” in it?
You can definitely refer to [it either way]. But, really, whiskey without the “e” is more geared toward whiskeys globally. We carry 200 different varieties of whiskey—ryes, bourbons and scotches. And what I’ve learned through sitting at the Whisky Lounge and overhearing some bartenders—and I’m hoping that I have all of this information correct—is that “whisky,” that name, follows certain whisky that’s made in Kentucky. And any whiskeys that are not made in Kentucky cannot have the same [spelling.] The only whisky that I know of that’s made outside of Kentucky and granted the opportunity to carry the name is Clyde May’s Whisky, and they’re out of Alabama.
What’s the experience like at the Whisky Lounge—flights, tastings?
That’s an interesting question—because I think people come for the different theme nights we have, as far as entertainment is concerned. But I think when it comes to actually drinking whiskey, I think they’re also coming for the different varieties. I’ve found that a lot of people who walk through the door—they come in for a drink, but they stay for two or more because they want to sample all that we have to offer. We have whiskeys … from all around the globe. So once you start getting into them and learning more about how they’re made, it really intrigues you to try another. … The list that was put together for the Whisky Lounge … was very carefully selected by some of the industry’s finest whiskey and spirits professionals … and put together to where there are some varieties that [in Reno] are only offered at the Whisky Lounge.
What are some of the themed nights happening?
Thursday nights we do a jazz night. We’ve had live jazz bands. We’ve also had very interesting instruments—like the Chapman Stick. I didn’t know what that was until I looked it up. He’s phenomenal. And I feel like we’re trying to just, really, create a different vibe in an intimate environment. … On Friday nights we also have a DJ that’s playing ’80s and ’90s music. That’s something we don’t see too often here in the Reno area. And that’s DJ Rooney. Saturdays we also have a DJ. We’re going to be filling other nights as well. … Happy hour is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and each week we’re featuring five different bottles to try at a discount. And each bottle is going to come with a story. The bartenders are going to be able to tell you everything about that particular bottle of liquor.