Fourth Street

24 Jan

Now that the website Dicey Weather is completely defunct and no longer on the internet, I am posting some of my articles here, just in the name of having it all in one place. This article was written collaboratively with my co-editor Danguole.

Growing up in Reno, memories of Fourth Street mainly consist of the first time seeing a real-life hooker and being told to not go there after dark. To be fair, there will always be areas of that long strip that are acceptable. Sundance Books is kind of adjacent, and Jack In The Box isn’t so bad as long as you stick to the drive-thru and under no circumstances leave your car.

In 2010 though, Reno has drastically changed. It is no longer the town that only has gambling and quick marriages/divorces. It is an evolving town that is America’s Adventure Place and now officially Far From Expected. So the Dicey Weather staff decided to take the Reno tourism board up on their claim and put one of Reno’s most notorious streets to the test. We all knew what we expected from Fourth Street (one of our editors brought a small vial of pepper spray), but we were also ready to be surprised by the bars and restaurants we visited. What is truly amazing is that this is only a sampler of the locales on Fourth Street to visit. We will most definitely be winding our way down that street again sometime in the near future.

4th Street Bistro
3065 West Fourth Street
Reno, NV 89523-8808

In a twist of irony, Reno’s best (arguably–we agree) burger is served at a quaint, classy-yet-laid-back joint, way on the west side of Fourth Street, where the customers seem to consist almost entirely of couples and groups of girlfriends.  The menu is eclectic, contemporary, and innovative, and everything we’ve had a chance to try is absolutely delicious.  On this particular venture, we went for said burger (the turkey-and-smoked-gouda version) and fries, as well as organic brown rice pasta with roasted cauliflower, piquillo peppers, pine nuts, capers and parmesan ($20).  The folks behind the food are also environmentally and socially conscious; much of the offerings and all of the meat products are local, organic and sustainable.  The wine list is extensive, as is the cocktail menu, but the beer selection is much more limited, although carefully selected.  Single boys, you really don’t have to wait for a date; you really are missing out on that burger.  Grab your bros and go.  It’s a great way to start your journey down Fourth.

Gold ‘n Silver Inn
790 West Fourth St.
Reno, NV 89503

If cheap stick-to-your-ribs fare is more your speed, or if you meander around Fourth Street long enough to get hungry again for some “Frrrrench toooaaast” a la Nicky in the 40-Year Old Virgin, there’s no better spot than Gold ‘n Silver, a true Reno classic and landmark for over 50 years.  Most of us have frequented it since at least high school, back when you’d still reek of smoke after every visit.  Everything on the menu is available 24 hours a day, from breakfast to sandwiches and burgers to old-fashioned diner entrees.  We ended our night here and stuck to water (lots of it) along with fries ($2.45), mozzarella sticks ($6.85), jalapeno poppers ($6.85) and nachos ($7.95).  Although the veggie club sandwich ($8.75) is quite good, generally none of Gold ‘n Silver’s food is outstanding.  But, it’s not about that here; it’s about being there for you and your drunken hooligan friends, no questions asked, 24/7, for over 50 years.

Davidson’s Distillery
275 East Fourth St.

Biker bar. That’s what we said. Biker bar. If you need a bit more description, here’s the painted picture. We walk up to the bar with murals of motorcycle brands on the brick walls and a couple of Harleys leaning on their kickstands like it’s nobody’s business in the parking lot. Once we walk inside, a wall of cigarette smoke slaps us awake. To the left, a stripper pole, to the right, a mediocre live band playing the blues. The pool tables were being held hostage by a gruff-looking group of older men, one holding a tiny chihuahua in the crook of his arm. The bartender was short with us, and her breasts were spilling out her top. There was a very poor beer selection, mostly worthless domestics such as Budweiser and Coors. There is only one decent beer on tap, which we all decide to order, but none of us finish because the beer tastes more like stale cigarettes than hops. We dance a bit to the music with a couple of the other patrons, but ultimately decide to leave. It wasn’t such a bad place, but it wasn’t our cup of beer.

The Lincoln Lounge
303 East Fourth St.
Reno, NV 89512

The Lincoln Lounge is arguably the most posh bar on Fourth Street. It follows all the rules of a fun, trendy bar. Dimly lit, somewhat rustic, wide and delicious beer selection, low music, historical motif themed through an artsy décor. They feature a mug club, which dares its patrons to try all of the beers they offer, a room with shuffleboard, and an outdoor patio which we hear is lovely in the summer. Unfortunately we were there when it was in the negatives outdoors. But we were more than happy to snuggle up with one another on the ultra-comfortable couches nestled in a dark corner. The crowd was unexpected. It seemed to be made up of mostly college students of the Greek variety fresh out on the town with their freshly horizontal IDs. It was still a good place to sit back with a good beer and have a conversation.

Abby’s Highway 40
424 West Fourth St.
Reno, NV

From the outside, Abby’s seems to be the perfect dive bar. Tucked away in a brick building with neon lights advertising the PBR on tap within, this bar is irresistible. The first couple of times we visited was on weeknights when there were a few people perched up at the bar, a lonely girl gazing into the bountiful jukebox, and a couple of young friends playing a game of pool. We sat at the bar, talking to the amiable bartender, sipping on some strong whiskey gins, watching the Fall Classic games on the big screens. There was an adjacent room curtained off, but we didn’t ask questions. It was an ideal belly-up-to-the-bar situation; so much so that we decided to come back on a Friday night. Much to our surprise, the curtain had been pulled back to reveal a stage and a modest dance floor. A local band blasted cover songs, and a rather large crowd for such a small venue danced their hearts out. The only complaint lodged by our group of editors was that when our designated driver kindly asked the bartender for a cup of water, he gave her a bottle and charged her $3. He had been so courteous on the weeknights, but the weekend rush had apparently turned him sour.

Alturas Bar & Nightclub
1044 West Fourth St.
Reno, NV 89512
(775) 324-5050

This only looks like a classic drink-away-your-sorrows biker bar.  Its walls and ceiling are covered with cheeky posters and t-shirts, there’s a pool table, darts, and at least a couple decent beers on tap.  And no one seems unhappy, from the quiet lady focusing on her video poker game to the super sweet bartender who sings and dances along to the jukebox and doesn’t at all seem to mind changing your Abe Lincoln to quarters or assembling a set of non-screwy darts for you. It’s definitely a smokers’ bar; if you have an issue with that, take it up with the taxidermied deer head watching over the bar, the one with the cigarette hanging out of its mouth and a cross around its neck.

Dilligas Saloon
1303 West Fourth St.
Reno, NV‎ 89512

Okay. We will admit it. We were major league fooled here. Two girls cruising Fourth Street, trying to find the spots with delicious beer and a bit of character, we were naïve enough to look up at a sign saying “Saloon” and think, “Awesome, classic country Reno-style!” We walked right up to the door to see a sign advertising “Couples night” with a picture of a couple dancing. It’s a dancing place! Fantastic! Wrong. We walked straight into a swingers bar. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it definitely was not what we were expecting when we happily knocked upon that door. We were quickly pulled inside by a very kind and understanding woman in bondage lingerie. She was signing up two young men and said she would help us in a second. We looked around to see porn on the television and people in costumes tucked into a dark corner. Our host returned to us, saw our faces and realized what was happening. She kindly explained to us exactly what kind of place we had wandered into. She told us single women were free, but she would need to sign us up for a membership. The young men she had just signed up offered to buy us drinks, which was tempting. We said thank you, but no and headed out, never to think of the word “saloon” with such naivety again.

Fat Daddyz
2061 E Fourth St
Reno, NV 89512

So, yeah, there are rows and rows of X-rated photos of female rear-ends and boobs to greet patrons.  In fact, boobs comprise some element of most of Fat Daddyz’s “pieces of flair,” so to speak.  We expected a biker bar, but with the decor, the loud party music (Limp Bizkit, and then that one song about shots), and the other patrons being a friendly bunch celebrating someone’s 21st, it felt more like a college hangout–the kind with lots of testosterone.  That’s why we also expected to be uncomfortable, but although we left rather quickly, we found the bartender (perhaps the owner?) and the patrons very cordial–maybe even…  sweet. The beer selection isn’t the best if you’re into something more substantial than Coronas, but the special that night was $1 Jell-O shots.  We got some–to go.


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