The Best Nightlife in Reno
By Christina Nellemann
Tahoe Local Expert
There are various ways to enjoy a night out in Reno. The city has a plethora of bars and most of the casinos have lounges and dance clubs. For some fun dancing and people watching (and an excuse to dress up) visit the Sapphire Lounge at Harrah's 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. If you just want to enjoy a pint or a cocktail visit the Chapel in Midtown or the Great Basin Brewing Company in Victorian Square in Sparks. The Great Basin is also one of the most popular places for food in this area.
If you want to enjoy some classic Reno and to meet locals, go to the Sierra Tap House which is located right on the Truckee River and is a great place to be during the summer. For something a little more sophisticated, go to the River Room which is just across the River. Here you can enjoy music from local musicians and a full bar and restaurant.
10 Great Basin Brewing Company
One of the most popular places in Reno/Sparks for pub grub and microbrews. This Brewing Company is home to the hoppy Icthyosaur Pale Ale. "Gimme an Icky" is the calling card of this place located on Victorian Square. The Great Basin serves up food for both lunch and dinner that is inspired by the Nevada desert and mountains. Items such as Ale Battered Zucchini or Dill Pickles, Shepherd's Pie, Sonoran-Style Fish Tacos, and the classic Caesar Salad are all excellent. Other brews besides the Icky include the Wild Horse Ale, the Nevada Gold Pilser and the Jackpot Porter. Other drinks are offerer such Wyders Pear Hard Cider and wine from Kendall Jackson and Seven Deadly Zins. Live music is featured on most weekends and includes bluegrass and country bands such as Smokin' Bulldogs and Dust on the Bottle. (Great Basin Brewing)
9 The Chapel Tavern
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)
8 Sierra Taphouse
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)
7 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)
6 Sapphire Lounge
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)
5 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)
4 Brew Brothers
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)
3 Knitting Factory
The Knitting Factory is located in downtown Reno and features great music and performance shows for a low price. The venue is clean and spacious and there are various seating options including reserved and second floor. Seating is also available as well as table drink service. Bands such as Danzig, Flogging Molly, Reel Big Fish, Social Distortion, Machine Gun Kelly and a Johnny Cash Revival are some of the performances you will see at this popular venue. The full bar also serves food such as chicken fingers, nachos, fries and salads. Prices for drinks and food are a little pricey (about $10 a drink) but most concerts are affordable at about $20-$30 a ticket. ((775) 323-5648)
2 Roxy's Restaurant and Bar
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)
1 River Room
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)
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.