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Like a virgin page 5

Insobriety test page 8

All abroad! page 12

DIY craft page 16

Gaming drinks page 21

In the Biggest Little City, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to engage in some fringe drinking a special supplement to the reno news & review • march 3, 2016


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Fringe Drinking Break out of your routine with RN&R’s Bars & Clubs Guide

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elcome to the RN&R’s 2016 Bars & Clubs Guide. We haven’t done this guide since 2011 because we’ve been putting out an advertising supplement called “Nightlife” around this time of year for the last few years. But this year, we’re pleased to bring you fresh stories bearing the bylines of some of our favorite regular contributors, who’ve all taken the time to go out and experience a unique aspect of the Biggest Little City’s drinking culture. Kris Vagner talked with nondrinkers and then compiled their advice into a nightlife survival guide for those abstaining from alcohol. Our food reviewer, Todd South, tried his luck at inebriated memory retrieval at several local pub quiz and bar trivia events. And Anna

Hart went to the casinos—no, not because she had visiting family in town—to sample cocktails from the assorted casino bars. I also got out on the track and did some liver stretches and a little warm up. You can read about my endeavor to circumnavigate the globe in 80 ounces. And I’ve got a story that may inspire you to follow in the footsteps of our region’s craft alcohol makers. So, while I’m here recovering from my hangover, I hope you’ll enjoy this guide. Get out there and try some of the experiences you’ll read about here. Oh, and—hey— designate a driver, guys.

THESE DON’T MIX THE Think you know your limits? Think again. If you drink, don’t drive. Period.

Brickie’s Tavern

Cheers! Jeri Chadwell-Singley RN&R special projects editor

A specialty non alcoholic drink at the 1864 Tavern.

Est. 1956

Happy Hour Everyday 2-6pm $100 off All Domestic Beer & all draft Beers, Well Drinks & Wine Jameson, Jagermeister, Fireball 775.322.8298 702 W. 2nd St • 2nd & Washington

Photo/Eric marks

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the non-drinkers’ nightlife survival guide By Kris VaGner

T

Want to go to the Leprechaun Crawl even though you’re staying sober? Pick up a free designated driver bracelet when you buy your crawl cup and get free sodas and other extras.

he Daily Beast said, “Dry January Is Dumb and Bad for You.” A Huffington Post article, “How ‘Dry January’ Can Change Your Whole Year,” claimed that it would lead to better health and smarter habits. I’m not one to jump on diet or fitness bandwagons, but I like things that are dumb and bad, and I like smart habits, so “Dry January” sounded like something I had to try. Also, I was lulled by promises of a clearer mind and better concentration—exactly what I wanted in order to plow through the breakneck schedule I signed up for when I started grad school last fall yet kept working and attempting to still be a halfway decent parent. I didn’t end up swearing off booze altogether. I drank two out of 31 days, which is my record low. I went to a couple of concerts entirely sober, found it pleasant to be fully competent at midnight, became the default designated driver, slept great, and got a first-hand peek into the world of the 35 percent of American adults who don’t drink. Whether they’re managing an addiction or abstaining for reasons of health, religion or just practicality, their collective wisdom is exactly what you need if you’re looking to navigate a night (or year, or lifetime) off the bottle.

Bring small bills Ed and Heidi Adkins, proprietors of Crawl Reno, whose business is built on getting our citizenry sauced, took a year off booze. (Ed wrote about it for the RN&R in “The year of living soberly,” July, 2015.) Ed said recently that early on in his sober year, “This bartender shot me a look for ordering a sparkling water.” This will happen. But look at it from the bartenders’ point of view. Their incomes depend on tips, and the good service you want depends on you not annoying them. Want to know what’s annoying? Serving someone a water or soda for no charge and having them either not tip or, possibly worse, slow your pace when they try to tip with plastic. Carry $1 bills. For rock-star service all evening, tip great on the first round.

Expand your horizons Speaking of all that money you’ll save, you might actually start to get bored with bars. (Some people do. Some people don’t.) If that happens, take some advice from middle school teacher Mallory Mishler, who gave up drinking this year. “I find myself taking bigger chances on a wider variety of events,” she said. “I’m willing to buy tickets since I’m not budgeting for booze. I went to Hood Slam, which is this weird underground Oakland professional wrestling thing. I never would have done that if I’d had to worry about a drinking venue.”

Go somewhere that’s not a bar Local favorites for dry dates include: ❖❖ An arcade binge and a $4 movie at Grand Sierra Resort ❖❖ Pink Floyd laser shows at the

Fleischmann Planetarium Fridays and Saturdays

❖❖ A concert at all-ages Holland

Project

❖❖ Food Truck Fridays ❖❖ Monster Truck Jam at the

Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center March 4-6

Go somewhere that is a bar None of the dozen or so abstainers I talked with could come up with a Reno bar that non-drinkers should avoid, so, really, anywhere is good. Many enjoy 1864 Tavern for its juice bar and Brasserie Saint James for its housemade root beer.

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Know what you want If you saunter up to the bar indecisively at a high-end watering hole such as Death and Taxes or Chapel, you’re fine. The mixologist is likely to indulge you while you linger over the process of choosing a tasty non-alcoholic libation—say, lemonade with muddled berries. At a dive bar, however, or a crowded club, know what you want. Here’s what you want: ❖❖ Ginger beer: Craft Wine & Beer stocks a few craft ginger beers, and many places have one or two varieties on the menu. It’s a strong, delicious ginger soda—usually. There are a few alcoholic ginger beers out there, so be aware. ❖❖ Shirley Temple: Dive bars don’t

always have ginger beer. They definitely have Shirley Temples.

❖❖ Red Bull and soda: Red Bull to

keep up with the clubbers. Soda to dilute it enough that you can have more than one drink and not get uncomfortably caffeinated.

❖❖ Soda and bitters: Delicious,

low-cal and classy. (Heads up: A dash of bitters does have a trace amount of alcohol, so avoid it if you want to be 100 percent dry.)

☛❖❖“DRy Spell” Continued on paGe 6 2016

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☛❖❖“Dry spell” Continued FRoM paGe 5 Bri Houchin-Samuel enjoys a specialty non alcoholic drink at the 1864 tavern. 1864 features a juice bar and serves up drinks like the “Carson” pictured here, made from oranges, kale, apple and ginger. PHOTO/ERIC MARKS

❖❖ Any old soda or juice in a highball

glass or a champagne flute: Some people don’t mind being asked why they’re not drinking. Some people hate it. You will be asked. Be ready for it. If you don’t feel like talking about it, it’s fair game to have your mocktail in a cocktail glass. A few savvy non-drinkers even sip their water from a martini glass with two olives. That does not make you a jerk.

Strategize for social anxiety Nikki Knuckles—that’s her nickname, and that’s what she goes by—has been sober for seven years. She’s a bartender at the Hideout Lounge, the type of bartender who has a Miller High Life open for a regular before he gets to the bar and greets patrons by name as they walk in the door. She thinks a bar should be “a social epicenter,” whether people imbibe there or not. While Nikki makes a huge point of making people feel welcome, she remembers how easy it is to feel like an outsider when you stop drinking. Here’s why: It’s easy to nix social anxiety with a drink; when you’re suddenly without one, you’ll need a new strategy. For her, it was like “baptism by fire. You just have to jump into it.” If you’re not a born extrovert like Nikki, this is how you roll: Don’t go into a bar alone. Go with a friend, and meet said friend before you get to the bar. Some non-drinkers report that a piece of gum, a cigarette or a hard candy provide just

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enough distraction to make socializing easier. There’s a fine line here though. For others, that cigarette or candy becomes another crutch instead of a solution.

Know that it’s OK to bail If you’re new to sobriety, bars can be overwhelming. Plus, as Heidi Adkins learned during her dry year, “People can get annoying way faster.” If you don’t feel comfortable, it’s OK to go home and watch a movie. If some drunk person faults you for it, don’t listen to them. They’re wrong.

Be the breakfast fairy Admit it. Alcohol disrupts your sleep and compromises your early-morning wit, and it’s damned hard to make French toast and coffee after a long night of clubbing. So if you do drink, admit this too: your abstainer friends own the mornings. Emily Scott, a paralegal who’s been sober for a year and a half, brings breakfast to her friends after big party nights. “The adoration of your friends is better than any high,” she said. “Especially when you can smugly smile to yourself about how you don’t feel like shit right now because you got eight hours of sleep and are not hung over or strung out.” Ω


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e l b a n o i t s e Qu vior

a h e b

Pub trivia contestants react after getting several correct answers in a row.

Drink, argue and be merry at a pub quiz night

PHOTO/ERIC MARKS

By Todd SouTh

A

rguing over trivial information while consuming intoxicating beverages has likely been a part of pub culture since the first keg was tapped by our ancestors. Indeed, the famous “Guinness Book of Records” was created six decades ago by the head of Guinness Breweries in order to settle such disagreements. Eventually, random discussions gave way to organized pub quizzes around the world, and Reno’s got a few to choose from. Most modern trivia nights share the same set of basic rules: No cheating via your smart phone, no yelling out the answers, one answer per question, no changing the answer after the fact. If a question’s official answer is in doubt, the host is always the final arbiter. The independent pub quizzes in town share a basic format. To play you need to come up with a team name, even if you’re a team of one. There are three to four rounds of questions worth a small number of points each, with a bonus question at the end of every round worth considerably more. Answers are free-form and written by participants on an organized page provided by the host. At the end of each round, each team exchanges answer pages with another team for peer grading, to keep things honest. Sign-up at the trivia nights I attended took a while, so although the games themselves generally run a couple hours, plan on at least an extra hour for sign-up, scoring breaks, prize disbursement and other delays. Besides, you’re presumably out to have a good time. Relax, order another drink, and have some fun.

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Flowing Tide, 465 S. Meadows Parkway— 6 p.m., Sat. The place fills up pretty quick with a Saturday dinner crowd, making it a bit hard to hear the host announce questions if you’re farther than 20 feet from the lone PA speaker. The jukebox sound system is quite good. It would be nice if it could be used via a wireless mic. Mike Millard has been hosting trivia here for about a year, but as host of a popular karaoke night in Sparks, Millard is no newbie to the microphone. He researches his own list of categories and questions and is doing a pretty good job. Had it not been for our utter lack of knowledge regarding a bonus question on the film Mean Girls, my wife and I would have snagged 1st place. The winning team receives a $50 gift card redeemable at the bar.

Ceol Irish Pub, 538 S. Virginia St.—8 p.m., Thu. Ceol’s nearly nine-year run has included trivia nights since early on, and, based on my recent visit, the game is both popular and a bit rowdy. Sara Sims has been hosting for the past seven years, sharing duties with a series of co-hosts, including current partner Wes Ridenour. The hosts’ banter was mostly entertaining, easy to follow, and moved things along with practiced efficiency. Teams are limited to six players each. Some questions required multi-part answers, with individual points making the ultimate score more nuanced. The following week’s categories are written on a chalkboard at the end of the night, something my five-man team wished we’d known going in. We were three points shy of tying for third place. Still, we didn’t leave empty handed.

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Raffle tickets are dispensed with every drink order, and a long list of swag is awarded to winners at the end of the game. Top prize is a player’s bar tab—which we didn’t win. But my teammate and I did each go home with a pint glass, keychain bottle opener, and stack of temporary tattoos. It was a really fun evening.

Shea’s Tavern, 715 S. Virginia St.—9 p.m., Sun. Started by “make it happen Captain” Spencer Shea, current host Markus Hugmen has been quizmaster at Shea’s Tavern for the past two years. He researches his own categories and questions, ranging from pop culture to more elevated subjects. Trivia night is pretty popular with Shea’s regulars, and there is no size-limit on teams, which average one to 10 people. Bar tabs are the prize to be won, with $35 for 1st, $25 for 2nd, and $15 for 3rd. The room is fairly small, so hearing the questions isn’t a problem. It is, however, a smoking bar—my wife and I found it difficult to stay for the entire event. If you’re not like us respiratory-challenged folks and love nothing better than hanging out in a classic, smoky dive bar, there’s a lot of fun to be had here on a Sunday night.

DJ Trivia, 7-8 p.m., various locations DJ Trivia is a national company that provides live games to bars via local contractors. As with the independents, each game runs about two hours, give or take. The contractor DJs typically host more than one event across town per week, and they are provided with categories and questions via a custom software package that also tracks scoring. The format is quite different from the

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indies, with a set of multiple-choice questions announced by the DJ and displayed on house TVs. The question is followed by an answer period accompanied by a song that may or may not be a clue to the answer. Rather than bonus questions, the first three rounds are capped by a “double down” write-in question. You don’t have to answer it, but if you do, you stand to either double that round’s score, or lose it completely. At the end of the game, there is a “do or die” question. Again, no answer is required, but it’s an opportunity to either double your entire score or lose the whole enchilada. This definitely added an enhanced sense of excitement to gameplay. My wife and I crushed it for 1st place at the Our Bar DJ Trivia night, despite our pathetic lack of sports knowledge. First place won us $25 against our bar tab, and we had a memorable evening. DJ Trivia nights in Reno include the following locations: Sunday Bighorn Grill, 1325 W. Seventh St., 7 p.m. Monday Lucky Beaver, 3655 S. Virginia St., 7 p.m. Our Bar, 211 W First St., 7 p.m. The Little Waldorf, 1661 N. Virginia St., 7 p.m. Tuesday High Sierra Brewing Company, 865 S. Rock Blvd., 7 p.m. Mellow Fellow, 300 E. Second St., 7 p.m. Corkscroo, 10 E. Ninth St., 7:30 p.m. Wednesday 1864 Tavern, 290 California Ave., 7:30 p.m. Thursday Rum Bullions, Eldorado Resort Casino, 8 p.m. Singer Social Club, 219 W. Second St., 8 p.m. Ω


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local businesses serve up exotic concoctions by Jeri Chadwell-Singley

J

ules Verne wrote Around the World in Eighty Days using third-person narration that allowed the reader to glimpse what was going on in the minds of several characters—the valet, Passepartout, the detective, Fix, and the Indian princess, Aouda. But the reader never really learned what Phileas Fogg was thinking and feeling. Well, I have a theory. I think Fogg was motivated by more than just the £20,000 bet—worth about £1.7 million today, according to whatsthecost.com—when he set off to travel around the world. I think it was boredom. I’m not a wealthy, reclusive British gentleman with a serious case of OCD, and I can’t afford to go globe trotting when I’m bored. I have, however, enjoyed some travel, and one my favorite things about being in another part of the world is trying the local alcohol. Last month, I found myself with an entire week alone while my husband was away. With the Bars and Clubs Guide on my schedule, I decided to beat boredom by embarking on my own version of Around the World—marking my progress in ounces of exotic booze consumed. The following is an account of how I traveled the globe without ever leaving the Biggest Little City. And what a trip it was. I encourage you to get out and try some of the beverages you’ll read about here. Now, I know there are stops I didn’t make, so—please—write me with your favorite local destinations for refreshments from abroad.

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First destination: 1.5 ounces Chapel Tavern, 1099 S. Virginia St., was busy on Monday afternoon, but the bartender, Stevi, was happy to help get my journey underway. Behind the bar in Chapel there’s a wall—complete with a rolling ladder—stocked to the vaulted ceiling with liquor. Dumbstruck by the sheer number of choices, I asked Stevi to choose my first drink destination for me. She recommended a traditional Brazilian cocktail called a caipirinha [kay-peer-reen-ya]. There are two types of rum, Stevi explained. One is made with molasses; the other is made from fermented and distilled sugarcane juice. It’s called agricole rum or cachaça. A caipirinha is made using a whole lime, which is muddled together with a bit of brown sugar and served over ice with a healthy splash of agricole rum. The cachaça in my caipirinha was a brand called Ypióca, established in 1846. The cocktail was a murky color, like river water. By itself, Ypióca smelled and tasted like a spicy hangover in the making, but the caipirinha was a refreshing, exceptionally tart concoction—the perfect start to my journey.

Second destination: 1.5+12=13.5 ounces Upon leaving Chapel Tavern, I found my appetite for spicy goodness whetted and decided to make my next stop in a place known for its rich palate of flavors. Flavors of India, 1885 S. Virginia St., is located inside an old Econo Lodge on the corner of Virginia Street and Plumb Lane. I was greeted by man named Umesh, who

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A caipirinha is a traditional Brazilian cocktail you can get at Chapel Tavern. It contains a whole lime, muddled with brown sugar. PHOTOS/JERI CHADWELL-SINGLEY


showed me to a table and offered me a menu. I was technically there for a drink, but a traveler must eat. I ordered korma to-go and drank a Kingfisher beer while I waited. A Hindi music video depicting a racy, choreographed encounter between two lovers played on the television. Kingfisher beer is the most popular brand in India, Umesh explained. It comes from Bangalore, where it’s been brewed since 1857. It’s a lager and, honestly, doesn’t taste much different than Budweiser or MGD—not to me, anyway. But it was smooth and went down easily while I waited for my spicy Indian dinner.

Third destination: 13.5+1.5=15 ounces On Tuesday night, I decided to roll the dice and turned to Yelp to help me find my next destination. After searching “drinks from around the world Reno,” I ended up at Z Bar, 1074 S. Virginia St., where I met a bartender named Jeslyn. The Z Bar staff take pride in its selection of whiskeys. Had I come on a Wednesday, I could have had any whiskey over $9 for half off, including the $65 shot of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 25 Year Old Bourbon. Interesting, but Kentucky wasn’t on my travel itinerary. Jeslyn offered up a French whiskey instead, Bastille 1789—created in celebration of the French Revolution. It’s made under the supervision of master distiller Jean Mare Daucort in the commune of Angoulême in southwestern France. I decided to drink it neat. It was smooth, slightly sweet and similar—though even easier to sip on—than some Canadian whiskeys. Z Bar remained quiet as dusk transitioned to night, providing a fitting atmosphere for my liquid sojourn in the French countryside.

Fourth destination: 15+1.5+12=28.5 ounces Ceol Irish Pub, 538 S. Virginia St., is just a short distance north of Z Bar. To my understanding, “ceol” is music in Gaelic, and that’s exactly what I found as I walked through the door. The owner, Ron, greeted me and explained that Ceol hosts music sessions every Tuesday evening. The traditional Irish music coming from a circle of people gathered in the center of the room set the tone, and I decided right then and there to extend my stay in the Emerald Isle by ordering a Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale to accompany my serving of Yellow Spot 12 Year Old Irish whiskey. Yellow Spot is a single pot still whiskey distilled by Mitchell & Son. The Mitchells have run the family business since 1805. The whiskey, which smelled of a warm fire, is matured in three types of oak casks—an American bourbon barrel, a Spanish sherry butt and a Spanish Makaga casj. The label on the bottle described fresh, sweet top notes, but I found

the taste harsh. Perhaps my palate just doesn’t pass muster. The Kilkenny, however, was—true to its name—pleasantly creamy, with a slight coppery taste. The live music was enchanting.

Fifth destination: 28.5+6=34.5 ounces By Wednesday, I began feeling like I’d overcome my boozy jet leg and headed out in the evening to get a taste of Ethiopia at Zagol, 855 E. Fourth St. The wind was howling through the downtown corridor, and I was dismayed to find the door to Zagol locked. But the open sign was lit up, so I knocked and waited a moment before being greeted by the owner, Shita. The restaurant was empty, but Shita showed me to a table and put Ethiopian music videos on the television. I told her that I’d come for a glass of Ethiopian honey wine—tej. As it was my first time there, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try the food and decided to buy myself dinner, as well. Shita brought out a glass of golden-colored wine. It’s sweet, she explained, but not thick on the tongue like a typical dessert wine. It tasted like apples dipped in honey. The tej at Zagol was made by Enat winery. While the tradition is Ethiopian, the winery is actually based in Oakland, California. Tej is made from honey and gešo, an African shrub that’s used in a similar way to hops. I sipped my wine and watched the music videos Shita brought back with her from her last trip home in August, marveling at the drill-like precision of the dancers in their matching outfits. When I left, the warmth imparted from the food and wine and Shita’s hospitality seemed to insulate me against the cool evening wind.

Bastille 1789 is a smooth French whiskey that was created in celebration of the French Revolution.

Sixth destination: 34.5+12=46.5 ounces Come Thursday, I’d visited five destinations in three days while on my liquid trip. Rather than light out on another red eye, I chose an early afternoon excursion to a stopover offering both food and beverage. Hiroba Sushi, 3005 Skyline Blvd., sits high in the hills of southwest Reno. Admittedly, I’ve made this trip to indulge in sake and fresh fish before. But this time was like going during a different season. Before, I’d always enjoyed the crystal clear heat that comes with a carafe of hot sake. This time, I went for the cool, cloudy experience of nigori sake. The 12-ounce bottle of Sho Chiku Bai Nigori was more than I could finish in a single sitting, but thanks to a screw-on cap, I was able to take that little piece of Japan with me when I left. I kicked myself for failing to get the name of the thoughtful waitress who explained its lightly sweet taste and cloudy color—resulting from unfiltered rice polishings.

Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey is new to the states, according to Ceol owner, Ron. It’ll set you back $17 for a shot.

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“AROUND” Continued FRoM paGe 13

Seventh destination: 46.5+1.5=48 ounces On Friday, my travels hit a snag after I ventured south to El Tumi, 585 E. Moana Lane, to get a taste of a Peruvian liquor called pisco. The waitress there told me they’d stopped serving it some time ago. Disappointed but undeterred, I made alternative travel plans and headed north to search for El Dorado … wait, to search the Eldorado for a Greek brandy called Metaxa. My first stop was Roxy’s Bar & Lounge. The bartender, Georgeann, informed me that there was no Metaxa on the shelf but that I might ask her husband, Nick, who tended bar at Cin Cin, also in the Eldorado. He’d lived in Greece for many years, she said, and would be my best hope of procuring Metaxa. Upon arriving at Cin Cin, I explained my predicament to Nick and was pleased when he produced a bottle of Metaxa from behind the bar and offered to make me a drink called a Cypriot Sour—lemon juice, angostura bitters, simple syrup, and Metaxa over ice—that he’d often enjoyed during his years in Greece. Like most brandy, Metaxa is made from wine that’s distilled and aged in oak barrels. What makes it different is that, afterward, it’s blended with Greek Muscat wine and infused with botanicals like rose petals. The process was pioneered by Spyros Metaxa in 1888. Metaxa’s flowery aroma and flavor are distinct from anything else I’ve had.

Metaxa is a Greek brandy with a flowery flavor that’s good when mixed in a cocktail or served neat.

Eighth destination: 48+33=81 ounces OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK | 4PM - MIDNIGHT

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I woke on Saturday to a pleasant surprise. My husband, wanting to participate in the caucus, had returned early from his trip. He agreed to join me for the final leg of mine that evening. We went to Bavarian World, 595 Valley Road, to celebrate the conclusion of our respective journeys by indulging in a Maß—a full 33 ounces—of German beer. We were greeted by a woman named Dagmar, who informed us of the $5 cover charge for the evening’s live entertainment. In the dining hall, we listened as the accordion sounds of a traditional German polka—played by a man in a red-sequined hat and lederhosen—transitioned into “Margaritaville” and then “My Girl.” Dagmar helped us decide on one Maß of HackerPschorr Münchner Gold, a Munich Helles lager-style beer, and another of Spaten Münchner Hell, also a lager. In short order, we’d each finished half of our 33 ounces and were somewhat tempted to join in when the accordion player ordered everyone to the floor for the “Chicken Dance.” Back at home that evening, I did the math— adding up the number of ounces I’d consumed. I was disappointed. Like my literary counterpart, Phileas Fogg, I feared that I’d not met the challenge. Fogg believed he’d arrived one day late to win his 80-day bet. I’d consumed 81 ounces, not 80. My journey was complete, but that extra ounce was a thorn in my side—until my husband reminded me that’d he’d tasted my beer. Surely it was an ounce worth. Ω

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and that, my friends, is a whole lot of German lager-style beer. prost!


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Karen Bates fills a growler of beer for customer at Reno Homebrewer. PHOTO/JERI CHADWELL-SINGLEY

Making beer and wine at home can give you that sense of achievement and inebriation, of course.

The

cRaft Join the local coven summoning up small-batch strange brews By JeRi CHadwell-SinGley

A

t this juncture, it’s probably safe to say that we’re all aware of the Truckee Meadows’ flourishing craft alcohol scene. It’d be difficult not to know—possible, maybe, if a person never read the news, abstained from social media, avoided downtown and the midtown district entirely, and somehow managed to miss all of the wine bars, taprooms and distilleries dotting the valley. Just a few months ago, the RN&R published a guide to local breweries, featuring everything from longtime regional standards like Brew Brothers, Silver Peak and Great Basin to relative newcomers like Pigeon Head, Under the Rose and Brasserie Saint James. Yes, the thriving craft scene is well worth raising a toast to, and there are literally dozens of locally owned places where a person can do just that. But there is another option. Why not pay homage to the region’s local pioneers of craftsmanship by following in their footsteps. How?—by heading down the path that led many of these brewers to their current vocations. You’ll find the trailhead at your local brew store.

Find out what’s in store There are two homebrew stores in the Truckee Meadows—Reno Homebrewer, 2335 Dickerson Road, and BrewChatter, 1275 Kleppe Lane, Sparks. If you live closer to Carson City, you can visit Just Brew It, 1214 N. Carson St., Carson City. At any of the three, you’ll find the equipment and ingredients necessary to make beer and wine. Rob and Karen Bates are the

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father-daughter team behind Reno Homebrewer. The store will celebrate its 30th year in business this August. Reno Homebrewer is an excellent first stop if you’re interested in brewing beer or making wine for the first time. A complete winemaking kit can be purchased for $178 and comes with all the hardware, plus enough ingredients to make your first 30 bottles of wines. You can choose from different types ranging from chardonnay to merlot. If you want to go high-tech right out of the gate with things like a fruit crusher and grape de-stemmer, either of the brew stores can order them for you. Beer starter-kits ($125) from Reno Homebrewer also come complete with all the necessary hardware, plus a book on brewing quality beers and your first batch of ingredients. According to the Bates, making wine takes longer but is actually easier in many ways because wine’s higher alcohol content makes pre-boiling ingredients unnecessary and the sanitizing process less painstaking. But newbies need not be intimidated by the prospect of brewing beer. Karen Bates explained that, while it requires more fastidious attention to detail, the steps are pretty simple. “There are three things you need to be able to do—boil water, sanitize and wait,” she explained. “If you can do that, you can brew beer.” As your skills develop, you’ll find that both of the brew stores in the valley have the supplies and know-how to help you refine your product and customize your equipment, which is what R.J. Hiller, co-owner of BrewChatter, loves most about his business.


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R.J. Hiller, left, and Josh Dills, owners of BrewChatter, started homebrewing together a decade ago.

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“Everybody’s head works differently, and there’s a piece of this hobby for everybody,” Hiller said. “Engineers do these big, extravagant brew system builds. The chemists and the biochemists geek out on the yeast or the water chemistry.” You may want to visit Reno Homebrewer and BrewChatter—and maybe make a trip to Just Brew It in Carson—to get a feel for the diversity of ingredients available to local brewers and winemakers. Between the stores, there’s a large enough variety of hops, malts, yeast and grains to allow for different combinations with each batch. Or perhaps you’ll want to specialize in something, which Hiller said is what many homebrewers do. “It’s crazy addicting,” Hiller said. “It’s not just the alcohol part of it. It’s the fact that you can make whatever you want. We’ve got a guy that makes a carrot beer. It’s very good. It’s very crisp and clean and spicy. And you wouldn’t think that that’s where he got all of his sugar from, or most of his sugar, you know, there’s malted barley too.” Sharing the final product is another big part of the homebrewing and winemaking experience, according to Hiller and the Bates. When you’ve made your first batch, you can bring a sample in to the shops to share and get feedback on. The best part is that the advice is always free. And while you may also probably want to take to Facebook and Twitter with photos and appraisals of your liquid brainchild, Karen Bates warns against relying on online sources for guidance and directions. There’s plenty of bad advice and misinformation on websites like YouTube. “You have to be very selective about what you get online,” she said. “So, homebrew shops are nice because you have people you can talk to—like customers can call and say, ‘This happened. Help!’”

Join the club In much the same way as drinking, brewing is more fun with friends. Hiller and his business partner, Josh Dills, started homebrewing beer together a decade ago when they were next door neighbors. In May, it will be two years since they opened BrewChatter. According to Hiller, their new enterprise was welcomed with open arms by the tightknit homebrewing community, where

the rapport between the various storeowners is one of camaraderie, not competition. There are also plenty of clubs for do-it-yourselfers, from Nevada Vines and Wines to the Washoe Zephyr Zymurgists, a.k.a. WZZ. And joining WZZ could afford you the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the region’s brewmaster legends. “The club started in ’85,” Karen Bates explained. “So, some of the original members are still making beer. They were our first customers because we opened in ’86, and the owners of Great Basin are original WZZ members.” Getting involved in a club is easy. Just ask around at one of the brew stores, and you’re sure to meet a few members. Other local clubs include the High Desert Brewgade and the 395 Homebrewers Club. If you’re looking for additional facetime with local master brewers, you can drop into IMBĪB Custom Brews, 785 E. Second St. Owners Matt Johnson, Jason Green and Bart Blank all started out as homebrewers. They opened the IMBĪB brewery and bar eight months ago. They specialize in barrel aged beers, and a visit to the bar isn’t just an occasion to drink one. You can also see the process in action, get advice and get involved in a different type of club experience through their Collaborator Club. “It’s kind of like a beer of the month club, where we let the people in it have a say on what’s brewed,” Green said. “We let them vote—so like, ‘what kind of beer styles do you want?’ And then we take a census and try to fit everyone’s demands in.” With the wealth of resources available right here in town, you could easily find yourself on the track to becoming an expert. At the very least, you’ll be ready to engage in some friendly competition when the time comes for the annual Great Basin Brew-Off. The awards announcements and celebrations for this year’s competition will take place at 4 p.m. on May 7 at Great Basin Brewing Company, 846 Victorian Ave., Sparks. The deadline for submissions is on April 23. (From start to finish, beer takes at least a month to make.) More information on the brew-off is available through the competition’s sponsors: The Washoe Zephyr Zymurgists, Reno Homebrew, BrewChatter, IMBĪB and Great Basin Brewing Co. Ω

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5 STAR SALOON 132 West Street Reno, NV 89501 www. 5Starsaloon.net 775-329-2878 ADELE’S RESTAURANT & LOUNGE 1112 North Carson Street Carson City, NV 89701 www.adelesrestarantandlounge.com AURA ULTRA LOUNGE Inside the Silver Legacy 407 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.silverlegacyreno.com 775-325-7401 BAR CENTRO Inside the Eldorado 345 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.eldoradoreno.com 775-786-5700

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BLENDAR BAR Inside the Silver Legacy 407 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.silverlegacyreno.com 775-325-7401 BRICKIE’S TAVERN On the corner of Washington & W. Second Street Reno, NV 89503 www.facebook.com/pages/Brickies-Tavern 775-322-8298 BROADWAY BAR Inside the Nugget Resort Casino 1100 Nugget Avenue Sparks, NV 89431 www.nuggetcasinoresort.com 775-356-3300 BUTTERFLY BAR AND CASCADE LOUNGE Inside Grand Sierra Resort 2500 E. Second Street Reno, NV 89595 www.grandsierraresort.com 775-789-2000 CARGO CONCERT HALL Inside Whitney Peak Hotel 255 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.whitneypeakhotel.com 775-398-5454 CIN CIN Inside the Eldorado 345 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.eldoradoreno.com 775-786-5700

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RN&R Bars & Clubs Guide

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COACH’S GRILL & SPORTS BAR 1573 S. Virginia Street Midtown Reno, NV 89502 775-320-2202 and 4050 S. McCarran Boulevard Reno, NV 89502 775-499-5155 COPPERTOP BAR Inside Grand Sierra Resort 2500 E. Second Street Reno, NV 89595 www.grandsierraresort.com 775-789-2000 COTTONWOOD RESTAURANT & BAR 10142 Rue Hilltop Truckee, CA 96161 www.cottonwoodrestaurant.com 530-587-5711 CRYSTAL BAR Inside Grand Sierra Resort 2500 E. Second Street Reno, NV 89595 www.grandsierraresort.com 775-789-2000 DAVIDSONS DISTILLERY 275 E. Fourth Street Reno, NV 89501 www.facebook.com/davidsonsdistillery 775-324-1917 DOS GECKO’S CANTINA Inside Circus Circus Reno 500 N. Sierra Street Reno, NV 89503 www.circusreno.com 775-329-0711 DRINX Inside the Silver Legacy 407 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.silverlegacyreno.com 775-325-7401 EDGE NIGHTSPOT Inside Peppermill Reno 2702 S. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89502 www.peppermillreno.com 775-689-7744 FILTHY MCNASTY’S 1718 Holcomb Avenue Reno, NV 89502 775-622-3208 FIRESIDE LOUNGE Inside Peppermill Reno 2707 S. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89502 www.peppermillreno.com 775-826-2121

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GILLEY’S SALOON Inside the Nugget Resort Casino 1100 Nugget Avenue Sparks, NV 89431 www.nuggetcasinoresort.com 775-356-3300 HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO LAKE TAHOE 50 Highway 50 Stateline, NV 89449 www.hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com 844-588-7625 HERITAGE RESTAURANT & BAR Inside Whitney Peak Hotel 255 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.whitneypeakhotel.com 775-398-5454 HORSESHOE BAR Inside the Nugget Resort Casino 1100 Nugget Avenue Sparks, NV 89431 www.nuggetcasinoresort.com 775-356-3300 JUB JUB’S THIRST PARLOR 71 S. Wells Avenue Reno, NV 89502 www.facebook.com/jub-jubs-thirst-parlor 775-384-1652 LAUGH FACTORY COMEDY CLUB Inside the Silver Legacy 407 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.silverlegacy.com 1-800-687-8733 LEX NIGHTCLUB & LEX LOUNGE Inside Grand Sierra Resort 2500 E. Second Street Reno, NV 89595 www.grandsierraresort.com 775-789-2000 LITTLE WALDORF SALOON 1661 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89503 www.lilwal.com 775-337-9255 LOBBY LOUNGE Inside the Nugget Resort Casino 1100 Nugget Avenue Sparks, NV 89431 www.nuggetcasinoresort.com 775-356-3300 MAC’S BAIL BONDS 910 E. Parr Boulevard Reno, NV 89512 www.macsbailbondsreno.com 775-329-7888


MEN’S CLUB 270 Lake Street Reno, NV 89501 www.renomensclub.com 775-786-7800 MILLIE’S 24 BAR Inside the Eldorado 345 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.eldoradoreno.com 775-786-5700 MURPHY’S LAW 180 W. Peckham Lane Reno, NV 89509 775-823-9977 NōVI Inside the Eldorado 345 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.eldoradoreno.com 775-786-5700 OUR BAR 211 W. First Street Reno, NV 89501 www.ourbarreno.com 775-329-2684 OYSTER RESTAURANT AND BAR Inside the Nugget Resort 1100 Nugget Avenue Sparks, NV 89431 www.nuggetcasinoresort.com 775-356-3300 PLAYERS SPORTS BAR 2590 E. Second Street Reno, NV 89502 775-322-8699 PSYCHEDELIC BALLROOM & JUKE JOINT 555 E. Fourth Street Reno, NV 89509 www.psychedelicballroom.com 775-322-4348 POLO LOUNGE 1559 S. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89502 775-322-8864 RACE & SPORTS BAR Inside Grand Sierra Resort 2500 E. Second Street Reno, NV 89595 www.grandsierraresort.com 775-789-2000 RACE & SPORTSBOOK BAR & LOUNGE Inside Circus Circus Reno 500 N. Sierra Street Reno, NV 89503 www.circusreno.com 775-329-0711

RENDEZVOUS BAR Inside Grand Sierra Resort 2500 E. Second Street Reno, NV 89595 www.grandsierraresort.com 776-789-2000 ROXY’S BAR & LOUNGE Inside the Eldorado 345 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.eldoradoreno.com 775-786-5700 ROYCE 115 Ridge Street next to Old Granite Street Reno, NV 89501 www.roycereno.com 775-440-1095 RUM BULLIONS Inside the Silver Legacy 407 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.silverlegacyreno.com 775-325-7401 SHEA’S TAVERN 715 S. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.facebook.com/sheastavernreno/events 775-786-4774 SIERRA GOLD 680 S. Meadows Parkway Reno, NV 89521 www.sierragoldreno.com 775-850-1112 SILVER BARON LOUNGE Inside the Silver Legacy 407 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.silverlegacyreno.com 775-325-7401 SPARKS LOUNGE 1237 Baring Boulevard Sparks, NV 89431 www.sparksloungebar.com 775-409-3340 SPORTS ZONE LOUNGE Inside the Nugget Resort Casino 1100 Nugget Avenue Sparks, NV 89431 www.nuggetresortcasino.com 775-356-3300 STADIUM BAR Inside the Eldorado 345 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.eldoradoreno.com 775-786-5700

STEAKHOUSE AT CIRCUS BAR Inside Circus Circus Reno 500 N. Sierra Street Reno, NV 89503 www.circusreno.com 775-329-0711 SUZIE’S ADULT SUPERSTORE 195 Kietzke Lane Reno, NV 89502 www.suzies.com 775-786-8557 TAMARACK JUNCTION 13101 S. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89511 www.tamarackjunction.com 775-852-3600 TERRACE LOUNGE Inside Peppermill Reno 2707 S. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89502 www.peppermillreno.com 775-826-2121

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THE BREW BROTHERS Inside the Eldorado 345 N. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 www.eldoradoreno.com 775-786-5700 THE JUNGLE 248 W. First Street Reno, NV 89501 www.thejunglereno.com 775-745-3924 THE STICK 95 N. Sierra Street Suite #101 Reno, NV 89501 www.thestickreno.com 775-360-5597 THE Z BAR 1074 S. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89502 www.thezbar.com 775-348-1723 WESTSIDE POUR HOUSE 110 W. Telegraph Street Carson City, NV 89703 775-885-1888 www.facebook.com/westsidepourhouse.com

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Bar for Xanadu Bar at the Atlantis features unicorns rampant on a field of wine. PHOTO/ANNA HART

The Course Tucked away from the noise and lights of the casino floor, there’s booze. By AnnA HArt

F

or decades, the casino industry was the lifeblood of Reno, not just shaping its economy, but its character as well. In recent years, local casinos still leave a massive impact on the city, but now in a markedly different way. Nowadays, people are flocking to casinos for food and drink as well as poker and slots. This is because Reno is rebranding, developing as a burgeoning hot spot for gourmet food and craft cocktails and microbreweries. And as Reno begins to leave its gambling identity behind, casinos have become hubs for fine dining and craft bars and lounges. There are a few things to know about casino bar-hopping. First, the cheapest way to get drinks is by gambling, assuming you play conservatively. Unless you have been living underneath a rock located far away from any casinos, it is common knowledge that complimentary drinks are an integral part of the gambling experience. You anxiously wait for the waitress to come take your order, hoping that she will not notice that you are betting the minimum on a penny slot and wait for her to come back with your third tequila sunrise. There are are other ways around this. Bars like The Terrace in the Peppermill have video

poker machines at the bar, where you can skip the waitress and go straight to the source. It feels like you’re cheating the system. Just make sure you are actually gambling or you will find yourself paying $12 for a lemon drop. (I don’t even like lemon drops. Learn from my mistakes.) Or, if you are looking for a bar experience without gambling but with a highenergy atmosphere, places like The Brew Brothers in the Eldorado and the Sapphire Lounge in the Harrah’s have live music and dancing, but in a cozier venue than a big dance club. If you are looking to get shamelessly hammered, a good place to start is Rum Bullions at the Silver Legacy. If I could sum up my experience here in one phrase, it would probably be something like,

“Come for the giant syringes of Jell-O shots, stay for the Country-Rock Bingo.” The bar has specialty drinks with names like “Rum Bullion’s navy grog” and “tropical itch,” all of which can be served in a souvenir parrot glass. There are also a multitude of events in Rum Bullions, like trivia on Thursdays, Bingo on Wednesdays, and karaoke on Tuesdays. In sum, Rum Bullions is the kind of place where poor decisions and great stories are born concurrently. But if you want quality at a fraction of the price, you should live and die by happy hour. Most lounges in the casinos have them and they generally last from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., give or take a half hour. Also, many casino bars are attached to upscale restaurants, so the happy

Casino bars: all the fun of a night on the town in one convenient location.

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hour food menus are often a step up from your average onion rings and sliders. Roxy’s Bar & Lounge in the Eldorado offers a unique middle ground in that you can order one of their 102 martinis to sip over a bite of escargot, while listening to a DJ in cargo shorts play funk classics. I skipped the escargot, but I ordered a chocolate martini during happy hour for $5. It was basically chocolate milk for adults, which is akin to what I thought drinking would be like when I was a kid. The bar, along with the adjoining bistro has been a local staple for something like a decade, so unsurprisingly it can get extremely busy during the weekends and the daily happy hour from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.. But the award-winning drinks and frequent live jazz sets make it worth the wait if you are willing. Just a hop and a skip away from Roxy’s, Cin Cin is also located in the Eldorado. Its dim lighting and quieter ambience offers a more relaxed atmosphere nestled away from the casino floor and the more frequented bars. Cin Cin is known for its artisan cocktails, using fresh juice and hand-muddled fruits and herbs. During my last excursion I ordered a blood ☛ “Bar for the course” Continued on pAGe 23

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rare.

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☛ “bar for the course” Continued from paGe 21

orange margarita, which was only $7 even at regular price. It was a generous glass that tasted great until I promptly spilled it, three sips in. One of my personal favorites is that you can order appetizers for half-off from 5 to 6:30 p.m. daily, from either La Strada or Prime Rib Grill, depending on the day. I have a special place in my stomach reserved for the prosciutto-wrapped prawns. The downtown row of casinos is incredibly convenient. There is so much variety in a three-block radius of the Reno arch that you could visit literally 10 different bars without ever needing to drive. But it’s worth it to travel a little farther south on Virginia Street. The Peppermill is known for its nightlife culture, but this image is often dominated by Edge Nightspot. Peppermill has more than 10 bars to offer, each with a different ambience than the next. While the dim lighting coupled with an abundance of plush furniture in the Fireside Lounge feels a little pornographic, Chi Bar seems like an upscale bar you would stop by in Las Vegas. There are also several themed bars like the Oceano Bar, which has a saltwater aquarium and sharks hanging from the ceiling. Less than a mile away is the Atlantis. I remember, from my childhood, the Atlantis being dreadfully ugly. But now, it seems like a completely different place. There are even unicorn statues. Now admittedly, the Atlantis is known more for its restaurants than its bars. This is understandable. Many of the bars are in the middle of the casino floor, and you will become an ashtray-scented scratch-and-sniff after spending more than 20 minutes there. But this is a problem you’ll face with any casino, and ,if it does not bother you, then stop by Center Stage Cabaret Bar, which has live music playing above the bar, or the Waterfall Bar, named after an actual 30-foot waterfall in its backdrop. Another option is to venture to the bar outside Bistro Napa, during its 4 to 6 p.m. social hour. As early 20-somethings, my fiancé and I were on the younger end of the demographic here. The drink menu was like reading Sanskrit, but finally I ordered a $6 strawberry basil caipiroska. That sounds like a Russian insult, but it is apparently a popular South American drink and was incredibly refreshing. At first, I was worried that we were too young and felt out of place. But the bartenders and clientele were all friendly and upbeat. It was clear that this was a come-as-you-are kind of classy joint. Each of the casinos in town offers different bars with different atmospheres—an option that can save you the trouble of trekking throughout the city. Plus, you can combine fine-dining and a little gambling with your night out. Ω

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Each of the casinos in town offers different bars with different atmospheres— an option that can save you the trouble of trekking throughout the city.

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