Best Nightlife in Tahoe

10 Best Bars and Clubs in Lake Tahoe

If you are looking for some after-hours fun in the Lake Tahoe area, there are a variety of bars, events and places to hang out into the early mornings. Most place at Lake Tahoe are laid back, local-style bars, but you will find some dance clubs like the Vex at Harrah's in Stateline, the Opal at Montbleu or the higher-end Cottonwood in Truckee. The nightlife in Tahoe is more for the after boarding crowd rather than the apres ski crowd. However a lot of bars like the Fat Cat in Tahoe City and the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City will have some great live music.

Places like Pete n' Peter's is great for hanging out with locals, shooting some pool or darts and the Bar of America in Truckee is where you might see some local and national celebrities. Visit the Genoa Bar in Genoa, NV which is the oldest working bar in the state and come complete with the original spider webs on the ceiling and some artifacts from the late 1800s. The Divided Sky in Meyers near South Lake Tahoe is a little more laid back and less known, but features great drinks, food and some local bands.

If you want a little more culture (with a glass of wine included) you can hold out until the summer and make a reservation at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. Thousands of people every year attend this popular event where the Bard is performed on the shores of the lake. You can bring your own picnic and a bottle of wine and make it a real night out.


The Genoa Bar is a bit of a drive down Kingsbury Grade to the small town of Genoa, but it's worth it to visit the "Oldest Continually Operating Thirst Parlor" in the state of Nevada. This bar has been continuously on the bar route in this area since 1863 and used to be called a "gentleman's saloon". These days it's a fun local's bar that has a lot of the original antiques, lighting and even some very old spiderwebs. The old Jukebox plays even older music and there is some retro slot machines, animal heads on the walls, a wood burning stove, a pool table and a friendly bartender. Raquel Welch's bra hangs from the ceiling and people like Clark Gable and Johnny Cash sat here. Basic beers and hard liquor are served here and you can enjoy them inside the bar or while sitting on the rickety, old front porch.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Visit the Genoa Bar if you want a bit of fun Western history with your beer.

Christina's expert tip: Horses are not allowed at the bar.

Read more about Genoa Bar →

Moody's has become one of the best places for lunch, dinner and drinks in downtown Truckee. Their menu has been Zagat rated and they also offer a great selection of live music in their classic lounge.They are known for their season, organic and regional dishes and wines. They offer comfort dishes like Crab Toast with Dungeness Crab on sliced Ciabatta, their famous Tomato Soup en Croute (delicious!) and thin crust Neopolitan pizza. Moody's also offers sandwiches, salads and burgers. Their main dishes from the grill and rotisserie include Pan Roasted, Free Range, All Natural Chicken Breast with Purple Potatoes, Wild Arugula and Fava Beans. Moody's also has a great wine list that includes wines from around the world like Caposaldo from Italy, Elyse from Napa Valley, Paul Jaboulet from the Cote du Rhone and Pierre Spar from Alsace. You can also get wines on tap like Caldera from the California Central Coast. Their beer list is just as extensive with selections from New Belgium, Black Butte and Pyramid.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Moody's offers jazzy, blues and rockabilly live music Thursday through Sunday.

Christina's expert tip: Moody's Happy Hour is from 4-6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and selected items have a discounted price. The Happy Hour also includes $2 off all wine by the glass, beer and well cocktails.

Read more about Moody's Bistro & Bar →

The Opal nightclub at the Montbleu resort in Stateline is a fun place to dance and party the night away. The club has a dance floor and a large bar with a variety of beers, wine and cocktails. The cover charge is $10 and on Saturday nights ladies can come in for free before midnight. There are go-go dancers and live and silhouette projections on the walls as well as body painting. The music is mostly Top 40 and the DJ is fun and will take requests. They have special events and higher rates during holidays like Halloween and New Year's, however you can get in for free or cheaper on your birthday or if you are with a bachelor or bachelorette party. The one drawback for non-smokers is that this club is in Nevada and smoking is allowed.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The Opal Ultralounge has some of the latest hours in Stateline.

Christina's expert tip: Opal has free drinks for the ladies on Friday night.

Read more about Opal Ultralounge →


This small cafe in Tahoe City is a mix of everything: sports bar meets lunch place meets gathering area meets live music venue. It is a beautiful, little place with comfy places to sit and plenty of parking. The decor is a mix of dark wood, nice stained glass and local artwork as well as big screen TVs. The friendly, quick staff serves up tasty sandwiches, soups and salads and has a generous happy hour. The Fat Cat Cafe in Tahoe City is a cool and laid back restaurant, bar, artists space and performance area for local and regional bands. Come here during the day for great sandwiches and salads and stay into the night for appetizers, a fun bar and live entertainment. The Fat Cat has special events for the holidays and usually has a band playing on the weekends. Past performances have been by Horsemouth, Drop Theory and the On the Spot Trio. They have open mic night every Tuesday and karaoke every Thursday. Their bar features wine, beers on draught and a full selection of cocktails.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Both the food and the live music at the Fat Cat make for a fun night.

Christina's expert tip: The Fat Cat has free wifi.

Read more about Fat Cat →

This local favorite in the Western town of Virginia City has a bit of history attached to it as well as a fun bar and pub grub. This bar was the first place that Janis Joplin played with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Other bands like the Charlatans have also made this the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights. The full bar serves up bottles, cans and on-tap beer as well as cocktails and wines. They serve up Chicago style pizza, wings, salads, sandwiches and Sunday specials like ravioli or BBQ. The bar is located in a building from the late 1800's and has been in Virginia City since 1965.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: When visiting the Red Dog, say hello to Ruby – the rottweiler.

Christina's expert tip: This is a fun local hangout and a great place to people watch.

Read more about Red Dog Saloon →

The Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company is located right in the heart of Tahoe City, near the Cobbleworks Mall and across the street from Commons Beach. This new brew pub has been created to features the craft beers from the brewery in Truckee, California. The pub offers several ales and lagers, a full bar and a nice selection of small dishes, BBQ meats, flat bread pizzas, pasta, tacos and traditional as well as gourmet pub fare. They also have vegan and vegetarian options as well as a kids' menu. The restaurant has a great, outdoor deck where you can eat right on the street or in the shade of the building. The service is open and friendly and they play laid back reggae and other music. If you want to eat inside, the interior is decorated in a rustic, but open style. The pub is also decorated with classic Tahoe decor that includes skis, fishing gear, local timber and various oak barrels filled with aging beer. The menu includes small plate items like their Pulled Pork Sliders (with cheese!) for $8 and Mountain Nachos with pork or chicken, jack cheese, olives, beans, sour cream, guacamole and Pico de Gallo for $12. Their salads include the House Salad for $5 and the Grilled Polenta on Greens with grilled veggies for $10. Their flat bread pizzas are hand-made fresh daily and include the Brewers Flatbread with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and black olives with marinara sauce and three different cheeses for $13. Their entrees include burgers and sandwiches, fish tacos and even a Pretzel Encrusted Pork Schnitzel with seared pork loin with roasted shallot mustard, garlic mashed potato & market vegetables for $21. Their beers are locally made and they offer seasonal and rotating beers. Try the Belgian pale ale, Saison D'Croquette, or the Whit Rabbit with New Zealand Pacific Jade Hops. The Paddleboard Pale Ale and the Sugar Pine Porter are Tahoe classics.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Try the generous sampler of beers at the Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company.

Christina's expert tip: The TMBC's beers are unique to the Tahoe area.

Read more about Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company →

Uncorked Wine Bar
Photo courtesy of Uncorked Wine Bar

Uncorked has three locations in the Tahoe area: Tahoe City, Squaw Valley and Truckee. Each of the locations feature fine wines, cheeses and wine accessories. Join them for wines by the glass, cheese plates, wine tastings, live music, and "Meet the Winemaker" events each weekend. Here you will encounter boutique wines, hard to find labels, and limited case productions from around the world. Uncorked at Squaw is located 'First Street' in The Village at Squaw Valley at the base of the Squaw Valley ski area in North Lake Tahoe. The second location is in Tahoe City at 475 North Lake Blvd., Suite 151 in Tahoe City, CA. Uncorked Truckee is located right in old downtown Truckee.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Uncorked has special events around a specific wine or vineyard.

Christina's expert tip: Uncorked has three locations in the North Tahoe area.

Read more about Uncorked Wine Bar →

The Cottonwood Restaurant and Bar in Truckee is located on a small hillside overlooking downtown Truckee, the Truckee River and the railroad that runs through town. This might be one of the reasons why this is such a popular night spot in both summer and winter. The other reasons might be because of the warm and intimate ambience with great lighting, log cabin styling and the great food and bar. Both locals and visitors will hang out here on snowy nights while waiting for the roads to clear, so there are plenty of people to talk to. The restaurant serves various entrees featuring sustainable seafood along with the best organic produce and grass-fed meat from the foothills and the nearby Sierra Valley. They include favorites like the Niman Ranch New York Steak, Pine Nut Crusted Southeast Asian Basa, and Butternut Squash Enchiladas (vegetarian), Dave also lets his creative juices flow with up to five different nightly specials. The bar serves a small selection of beers and wines and some great cocktails including the Frenchy Margarita. Happy Hour is daily from 4:30-6:30 daily and all day on Winter/Storm Watch days. The bar can get loud and crowded farther into the evening. The Cottonwood features live acoustic music on Thursday and Friday evenings. Music starts at 7 p.m. in the fireplace room during winter months and moves to the deck with a 6 p.m. start time during warmer months (weather permitted).��"Acoustic Thursdays" feature the best in FREE live acoustic musical entertainment coupled with discounts on libations and select menu items all night long in the Bar and Fireplace Rooms.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The food and the wine list at the Cottonwood are phenomenal. The bartenders are cool too.

Christina's expert tip: Reservations for the live music nights are recommended.

Read more about Cottonwood Restaurant and Bar →

South Lake Tahoe

Whiskey Dick's the one of the original South Tahoe dive bars frequented by both tourists and locals. The saloon features live music on most weekends by alternative, rock, bluegrass and classic tunes. When the stage is not occupied, a jukebox is always loaded with classic and new music. The bar is low-key and a popular place for pool, shuffleboard, darts and some classic video games. The bar also has a patio for summer nights. The bar serves over a hundred beers and cocktails including the toxic Alice in Wonderland for $6.50 and the Red Bull and Vodka for only $5. Each of their cocktails are generously served in 12 or 16 ounce cups, so be sure to pace yourself. You can also grab some simple pub food like burgers, chicken wings, dips and nachos.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Whiskey Dick's is a dive bar, but has some wild live music and good prices on drinks.

Christina's expert tip: The jukebox is full of music from all genres.

Read more about Whiskey Dick's Saloon →

South Lake Tahoe

Himmel Haus is a German restaurant and bierhaus featuring a wide variety of German and Belgian biers and wines with a simple menu of Bavarian-inspired food with a local California twist. The menu includes locally made and sustainably harvested ingredients. The bier menu includes Pilsner, Helles, Hefe Weizen, Dunkel Marzen, Bock and Doppelbock as well as Belgian biers like Lambic, Blond, Wit, Ale and Trappist biers like Chimay and Rochefort Ale. Himmel Haus has special events all week including movies nights, live music, open mic night and trivia night. Their summer BierFest is popular as well as their Oktoberfest celebration.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The food at the Himmel Haus is hearty and goes great with their draft beers.

Christina's expert tip: The Warm Braided Br�tchen will take you back to northern Germany.

Read more about Himmel Haus →


Meet 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...  More About Christina