Reno-Tahoe Brewery Tour is a Scenic Tour company focusing on the history and relevance of Reno’s booming breweries, distilleries, and historic dive bars.
As an elementary school teacher, I picked up extra work at a new Reno brewery, Pigeon Head Brewery. The brewery was located off the beaten path, but in the old Reno Brewery District, and within walking distance of the casinos. Over and over again I had customers ask what other breweries there were, how many more were there, and most importantly how can they get to them. It occurred to me there was no infrastructure to provide transportation services to any breweries, let alone any knowledge or history. And with over 20 of them, something needed to happen. Hence, Reno-Tahoe Brewery Tour was born!
Then something else happened. While I dug deeper into the history of the Reno Brewery District and the resurrection of Reno breweries (Reno was a huge craft brewery town before Prohibition), I began to learn about the different businesses, beer related or otherwise, which occupied these old vacant buildings. It led me to the discovery of Reno’s dive bars!
I began frequenting these bars more and more often, something I had never done in my past. On the outside, many people, myself included, see these dive bars as an eye sore, maybe a little scary, mainly due to the unknown. However, after spending time in these establishments, I started to uncover a deep history and character of each bar. I found bartenders who have been working in the bar for 40 years! I could relate to them. They understood me. They respected me. I mattered to them. And there wasn’t a new, young, hotshot bartender each week. These bars, the bartenders and patrons alike, even the owners, started to become more of friends, and some even developed into family. One day I downloaded the Reno Historical Society app, and was astonished at how many of these dive bars were on their list of historical business or landmarks. Furthermore, after college many of my friends moved to other states and cities, and one of their main complaints was the lack of character of their new bars, a lack of local neighborhood bars, no place where they felt comfortable or at home, bartenders they couldn’t relate to. What was missing were the dive bars! A place when you walked in everyone knew your name… A “Cheers!” type of place. And let me tell you, every time I walk into one of MY dive bars, the bartender always knows my name, knows my drink, knows who I am, and makes me feel like I’m family.