For a relatively small city, Reno has a wide range of nightlife choices. The Biggest Little City is seeing a surge in bars that serve up local brews, craft cocktails and organic food. A night in downtown and Midtown Reno can be filled with dinner, drinks, music and special events.
Visit the burgeoning mixology scene in the Biggest Little City and go to Chapel Tavern in Midtown or the beautiful Death & Taxes. For some local brews and lively trivia night crowds the Sierra Tap House or the Great Basin Brewing Company is also one of the most popular places for food in this area.
The local casinos have a wide range of lounges and dance clubs. For some dancing and people watching (and an excuse to dress up) visit the Sapphire Lounge at Harrah's Hotel & Casino or the popular Roxy's at the Eldorado. If you like live music, try the Knitting Factory downtown where bands like Social Distortion or Machine Gun Kelly will perform to a packed house, or enjoy some rollicking Irish tunes at Ceol Irish Pub, which is just south of downtown. Another bar and music venue is Cargo at the Whitney Peak hotel—one of the first non-gaming spots in the city.
Ole Bridge Pub
This cool and laid back pub is located right on the Truckee River and offers patio seating, hardwood floors, specialty draft beers like Scrimshaw Pilsner, Deschutes Hop in the Dark IPA and Rogue John John Dead Guy Ale, organic wines and shuffleboard. Happy hour is from 5-7 Monday through Friday with 1/2 off pitchers and bottles of wine.
The decor is warm and cozy and while there is limited seating at some booths and the bar, the deck is a wonderful location all year long.
The Ole Bridge is located just across the street from the downtown Reno movie theater and several restaurants including Reef Sushi & Sake and Campo. ((775) 322-8877)
Sierra Tap House
This popular bar is located right on the Truckee River and offers sidewalk seating, great beers on tap and a lively atmosphere. This place is buzzing during Reno summer events like Artown and the River Festival. It's located right behind Java Jungle. They feature a rotating selection of 11 draft beers from the Sierra Nevada Brewery, located in Chico, CA. Outdoor seating is available on the River Walk which gives you a front row seat to enjoy all the Downtown Festivals, Concerts, and Events without ever leaving the bar.
Their selection of beers include Torpedo Extra IPA, Kellerweis Hefeweizen, Pale Ale, Life & Limb 2011 and the Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale. Every Wednesday night is trivial night and every Tuesday is the Taste of Reno night where local musical groups, poets and artists perform. ((775) 322-7678)
Ceol Irish Pub
This popular pub is located just south of downtown and is a cool place to relax and hang out with friends. They have fun Irish live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Its a traditional pub setting with comfortable seating and the drinks are moderately priced.There selection of beers and whisky is impressive.
Most of the drinks include Irish reds and darks including the popular Guiness and Killians. The happy hour has beers and glasses of wine for only $3 every day from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.. They do serve food, but they have to order it from other local restaurants and delis. So a member of the wait staff will hand you a selection of menus to choose from and your food will be delivered to your table.
Wednesday night is Whisky Wednesday with $2 off all whisky all evening. Thursday is Trivia night at 8 p.m. sharp and Friday and Saturday feature live music with Irish bands such as the Clarke Brothers, the Blarney Band and the Rusty Strings. ((775) 329-5558)
The Chapel is a small and quiet neighborhood bar in Midtown Reno where the bartender is also the owners and really knows his stuff. This place mixes their own syrups and juices that they use in their cocktails and the beer on draft is unique and fun.
Cocktails include the Brad Collins which is a Tom Collins with Applejack and the Limeade with Lime, Ginger Beer and Vodka. Beers include Rogue Mocha Porter, Orval Trappist Ale, St. Peter's Cream Stout, and Crispin Hard Cider. Wine and sake is also served.
There is a pool table and darts at the Chapel and the music is alternative and can sometimes be loud. The Chapel has special events such as Cindo de Mayo, Kentucky Derby Day and a Halloween Party. Parking is limited and is located behind the bar next to Bangkok Cuisine. ((775) 324-2244)
This stylish, little lounge at Harrah's in downtown Reno is a fun place to grab a drink and do some dancing. The full bar has a huge selection of cocktails, bottle beers and draft beers, wine and non-alcoholic choices.
Free entertainment is available every night. There is karaoke every Friday from 7-9, club dance parties every Friday and Saturday night from 9-2 a.m. with a live DJ and dance hits and the lounge will have special events for holidays with free samples and prizes.
The Sapphire Lounge is never really crowded and the atmosphere is relaxes and a bit dressy. ((800) 423-1121)
Imperial Bar and Grill
This classic and stylish bar in the Reno Arts District is popular for both drinks and pub grub. The space is large and has a central bar and seating along the edge in booths or along the large window which is usually open in the summertime.
The drink and food menu is extensive and you can order your choice of cocktail and several dozen wines and beer selections. Try the Framboise and the Margaritas on the rocks. Coors Light is $2.
The menu includes various items such as thin crust pizza, vegetarian, chicken and beef sliders with crispy frites, Baked Mac & Cheese, Pear, Bacon and Gorgonzola Salad and Paninis. ((775) 324-6399)
Roxy's Bar and Lounge
Roxy's at the Eldorado is a popular stop for before or after dinner drinks amongst locals and visitors to the Biggest Little City. Roxy's also serves dinner, so you don't even have to leave your comfortable seat in the bar that is modeled after a French bistro.
Start with a martini from their massive selection that includes 102 different types of martini drinks. You can choose from including a Limoncello Martini, a Chocolate Martini and a Blueberry Cobbler Martini. You can also choose from over 350 wines by the glass or the bottle. Roxy also has beers in the bottle and on tap.
Dancing is available here as well on their small dancefloor and Sinatra and piano music is on the menu. ((775) 785-9066)
The Brew Brothers has been named the Best Brewpub in America by Nightclub & Bar magazine and has been voted "Best Microbrew, "Best Beer Selection" and "Best Live Music" in several Best of Reno polls and was named the highest selling brewpub in North America.
The Brew Brothers is located in the Eldorado hotel and casino in downtown Reno. It's a fun place where you can get great draft microbrews, food an live music. The Brew Brothers brew their own beer and their specialties include the Big Dog IPA and the Wild Card Wheat Ale. Food includes pizza, burgers, sandwiches and salads. Try the Margarita Pizza and the Chicken and Apple Salad. ((775) 786-5700)
Built by the owners of the Wild River Grille, the River Room adds fresh and contemporary cuisine and a lively ambiance to the Riverside Artist Lofts. It is located right on the Truckee River and the Riverwalk and is open year-round, 7 days a week for lunch, dinner, drinks. It specializes in large groups and parties.
The interior is dark and cozy with walls covered in classic black and white photos of classic Reno. The dress code is a little more dressy than most of Reno's bars. Various beers on tap, wines and their special cocktails are served as well as the classics. The River Room bartenders have made a name for themselves by updating classic cocktails like the Caipirnha and the Mint Julep.
The River Room has a large patio and a cozy interior where you can enjoy complimentary music by some of Northern Nevada's favorite musicians. ((775) 284-7224)
Death & Taxes Provisions and Spirits
Death & Taxes is the harbinger of what's new in Reno. This cool and stylish bar features black walls, black leather sofas, chandeliers and a wall of beautiful spirits. The signature cocktails are updated regularly and feature sensuous ingredients, many made by the creative mixologists.
Sit at the bar and watch the show as the passionate bartenders craft a beautiful cocktail. Savor these drinks because they are not cheap. Most cocktails range between $11 and $15, but they are worth it. D&T also serves local and regional wine and beer.
Death & Taxes is usually calm and quiet until later in the evening when this cozy bar can fill up. ((775) 324-2630)
About Christina Nellemann
Christina has lived in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area since she was a baby. A first-generation Nevadan, her Danish parents instilled in her an intense love of travel and the wild, rugged outdoors of the Western U.S. She spends her time hiking, camping, biking and kayaking in the mountains around her home, and snorkeling and boating in Lake Tahoe. Christina loves to visit the neighboring states of California, Oregon, Utah and Arizona but has traveled around the world including to Japan, Fiji, Turkey and Ecuador.
When she's not traveling or living outdoors, Christina is a graphic and web designer, writer and blogger.
Read more about Christina Nellemann here.
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