Nevada Bars Nightlife and Entertainment.

Nevada. The first lesson is that most people pronounce ‘Nevada’ incorrectly. If you don’t want to look too much of a tourist, learn how the locals refer to their state. The first ‘a’ is pronounced as in ‘glad’ rather than as in ‘marmite’. It’s actually quite a big deal to the residents; they’re proud of their state – and justifiably so. It’s got a hell of a lot going for it.

Nevada played an important role during the Civil War. The Union, to prove its strength to the Confederacy, needed another state to join and Nevada was it. Just a year after the bloody battle of Gettysburg, Nevada residents were happy to support the Union and became a state in 1864 (hence its nickname Battle Born State). Carson City was declared the capital and it remains so to this day, though most will think of the state’s shining light as Las Vegas, with Reno twinkling just behind.

It’s a big state, seventh in size at 110,540 sq m, with a population of around 2.6m – the majority living in the metropolitan areas of Las Vegas and Reno – the terrain being generally either mountainous or the Great Basin and Mojave deserts, with both natural and manmade lakes such as Tahoe and Pyramid creating areas of outstanding beauty. Lake Tahoe, forms the border with California, to the west, while Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and Oregon also border the state.
Nevada’s other nickname is the Silver State thanks to its many natural resources including gold, silver, copper and lead. There’s also oil ‘in them there fields’, the Hoover Dam, the Nellis Air Force Base (supposedly the home of top secret installation Area 51) and agriculture is important, but tourism is the major employer in Nevada.
Las Vegas we all know about, but there’s a lot more to Nevada than the glitz and glamour of ‘the Strip’. In Nevada you can ski, sunbathe, hunt and fish, visit ghost towns and frontier towns, like Carson City. Seek out Native American settlements, play golf, water ski, horse ride, hang glide or hunt for UFO’s down Route 375 – just about anything and everything really. Oh, yes, and get a wedding in a hurry (as romantic or outrageous as you like), a quickie divorce, and (here and there) visit a brothel – legally.
Libertarian, yes, but not in everything. Nevada takes a very hard line on drug offenders with mandatory minimum sentencing for possessing marijuana. Drinking laws, on the other hand, are very liberal with bars allowed to open all day and all night. You can also buy liquor in stores 24/7. You can smoke inside larger casinos and in bars, as long as they aren’t serving food, as well as in hotel rooms and brothels. All this and it’s a state that has no personal income tax. But before you decide to go buy a few acres in the desert and build a house, the Federal Government owns over 80% of Nevada – mostly the desert where, until 1992 they undertook nuclear testing.

History is rich in Nevada; Carson City’s the Kit Carson Trail rambles through historic mansions, courthouses, a brewery and more, while at nearby historic mining towns such as Virginia City, Tonopah and Dayton, you can relive the days of the Wild West – including enjoying a beer at authentic style old saloons. Carson and Virginia City are both stops on the famous Highway 50, aka The Loneliest Road in America, running 300 miles from Ely to Lake Tahoe. Take this route and you’ll be following in the footsteps of the old Pony Express riders; it’s a fabulous way to discover Nevada’s history, taking in old mining towns and trading posts such as Eureka, Austin, and Fallon. This is not a route for wild nightlife; but you’ll find some great local bars and diners.
Even Vegas has a history – though there’s not one scrap of anything older than about 10 years these days! Back in the 19th Century, though, Spanish traders routed through the Las Vegas Valley on their way to Los Angeles. It was known as the journey of death. Some just couldn’t be bothered to go the full journey and settled in the valley, passing the time playing cards and developing a bit of an attraction for passing travellers: gambling. Thus Vegas was born. Little did they know!

Casinos and gambling has made Nevada its fortune. Gambling has had quite a history in Nevada, outlawed in 1909 but then legalised again in 1931 as mining became less profitable and agriculture suffered during the Great Depression. Today it is the state’s main income source attracting visitors from across the globe. Whether poker or blackjack are your temptation, roulette or slot machines, craps or keno – Nevada has it all. And where people do it more than anywhere else is Las Vegas and Reno.
Vegas is known worldwide for its gaming, world class entertainment and utterly bizarre nightlife, attracting 37m people visitors each year who come for one reason and one reason alone: adult fun. Whether you want 4,000 seater venues to see top performers (and of course Elvis impersonators) or favourites like the Cirque de Soleil; listen to great music at House of Blues or Sand Dollar Blues Lounge; or enjoy magnificent views and chill at venues like The Voodoo Cafe and Lounge. Whether you seek all night dance clubs like the Tao at The Venetian, Jet inside the Mirage, Tryst at the Wynn, Studio 54 in the MGM Grand and Rain at the Palm Casinos Resort; or to try making (or possibly losing) a fortune at the likes of Caesars Palace, Bellagio, Harrah’s and Circus Circus; Vegas has it all – and more. The Las Vegas Strip is the heart of the City, beckoning in all directions with glitzy lights, screaming neon signs and promises of easy money.

It’s loud, it’s brash and it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea (actually for some it’s pure hell), but Vegas is a nightlife mecca. It’s probably one of the only cities in the world where the hotels are as big an attraction as everything else. In a way, it’s a bit like an adults Disneyland. Total fantasy, where you can find yourself in ‘Paris’ one minute, Egypt the next, New York the next. Watch volcanoes explode; be married by Spock. But don’t get too carried away. Vegas leaves Reality behind. Just make sure you don’t leave all your cash behind!
For a while Vegas was let down by its restaurants, but this has improved significantly over the last decade and Vegas dining experiences give anywhere a run for their money ,with a growing number of celebrity chef restaurants. The Venetian Resort stands out with superb French cuisine from Chef David Feau and Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse. Or for fabulous views, try the restaurant on the 11th floor of the Eiffel, not the one in Paris, the replica at the Paris-Las Vegas resort… or the Top of the World Restaurant at Stratosphere Tower. Wolfgang Puck’s Spago and Chinois at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Cafe de Lupo at Mandalay Bay and his Cafe and Grill at the MGM Grand are all testament to a remarkable restaurant scene.
Reno, at the foothills of Sierra Nevada, offers an equally nonstop, exciting nightlife with casinos, clubs, restaurants and endless entertainment choices. The third largest city in the State, known as The Biggest Little City in the World, Reno lies side by side with Vegas in terms of 24/7 entertainment (in fact it has more gaming locations), but is perhaps more appealing with its art districts, museums, older architecture and closeness to Lake Tahoe. Head downtown for the best action; the River Walk , along the Truckee, is a current hot spot with a superb choice of breweries, restaurants, live music, wine bars, etc. Recommending anywhere – well, where do you start! Current ‘in’ clubs include the BuBinga Lounge in the Eldorado Hotel on N Virginia St, Bahia on E 4th St, Tonic on W 2nd St. For blues, the Alturas Bar on E 4th St is reliably good, while bars worth visiting include The Cube on S Virginia St and The Vintage Court Bar in Harrah’s Hotel & Casino on N Center St. The Reno Events Center seats 7,000 and always features top notch acts. For information about what’s on and who’s playing where, visit
Foodwise, in Nevada you’ll find a significant Italian and Basque influence – a result of early immigration in the 19th Century. Louie’s Basque Corner in Reno is rather like walking into northern Spain; the food is superb. Every summer in Reno there is a Basque Festival, which includes dancing, exhibitions and – naturally – lots of food.

Not far from Vegas is Henderson, a mainly residential area in the middle of the Mojave Desert. If you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter to stay, yet still on minutes from The Strip, then Henderson might be it. With top class resorts, championship golf courses, fabulous shopping and loads of ‘to do’ options. There are also some great restaurants and bars here, offering an escape from the sheer pace of Vegas but still fast and fun. Try The Whisky at Green Valley Ranch, a poolside nightclub popular with locals and tourists, or Club Madrid on W Sunset Rd, with live music at weekends. Paseo Verde Parkway has several lively pubs and bars including Fado’s Irish Pub, the Drop Bar and Il Fornaio Restaurant and Nightclub.
Finally, a word about Lake Tahoe, which should not be missed if you find yourself in Nevada. Located in the basin between the Sierra Nevada and Carson mountain ranges, and sharing a border with California, this almost impossibly beautiful spot offers world class skiing with 15 alpine resorts and another nine cross country runs, as well as warmer weather water sports and recreation. There are towns of different sizes all around the lake with some better than decent bars and restaurants for whiling away a few hours. Incline Village, on the North Shore, is where the wealthy live; ogle the houses and while you’re there try Le Bistro, which offers a brilliant five course meal at a bargain price.
So we think Elvis got it slightly wrong. Viva Las Vegas! Yes, but even more – Viva Nevada!

Nevada is a state rich in events that range from the fun to the freaky ; a few examples are listed below. For more details go to
May. The X Rides. Cyclists look for UFO’s and ET’s along route 375 with prizes for the bike most resembling a space ship and best alien fancy dress.
May. Reno River Festival a challenging kayaking race down the Truckee River which runs through the centre of the city.
May. Snow Mountain Pow wow. Snow Mountain Colony, Las Vegas.
June. Reno Rodeo attracts the country’s leading cowboys competing for major prizes
July. Lake Tahoe summer music festival featuring classical, jazz, rock, broadway and more
July. Rodeo and Pow wow, Duck Valley Reservation, Owyhee
August. Las Vegas Star Trek convention.
August. Rock Creek Gathering, Battle Mountain.
September. Reno Air Races and air show with wingtip to wingtip racing
September. Las Vegas Bikefest attracting over 40,000 motorcycles
September. Black Rock City, burning Man festival, attracts 25,000 plus to the desert for a week of arts, crafts and the burning of a huge man sculpture.
September. Reno Balloon Festival featuring an evening Balloon Glow.
December. Las Vegas National Finals Rodeo