There was the article on “gay bars” in the Reno News and Review last Thursday (July 19) and today (July 23) there were stories on two of the local television stations about a particular “gay” bar saying it was the oldest. That statement about being the oldest is mis-information or what people would refer to today as “fake news”. Likely those who own the bar currently are simply unaware, having only owned the establishment for the past several years.
As the RNR article pointed out, the Reno Bar, long closed, was one of the first gay bars in Reno. There were others of course, but not located in town. They were out on West Fourth Street (Old Hwy 40) near the original Mayberry. Pops 99 Club opened about 1967 on South Virginia. It did not identify as a “gay” bar when it opened. In 1970/71, it officially became a gay bar not too much before Paul’s Lounge (now the 5Star Saloon) opened in downtown. The oldest currently operating gay bar in Reno is the 5 Star, for the last 47 years. The Ten99 Club, as it was know when it closed in 2011, had been the oldest. Reno at one time had as many a dozen open “gay bars” all at one time. After the Five Star, would be Carls (Carls – Saloon now), which opened in May 1998, a month after the now closed, The Patio. The building Carls occupies was never a gay bar prior to that. It had been part of a motel that had been torn down when the Peppermill began to develop and grow. The Cadillac Lounge was open for about a decade on East 4th but sold and now is the 4th Street Bar, no longer a gay bar. Faces opened in June 2017 and Splash Reno just opened, rounding out the gay bars currently in existence in Reno.
Other bars that have existed in Reno since therenogaypage/Sierra Voice started publishing in 1993 have included The Ice House, Bad Dollys, Shouts/Ron’s Piano Bar, Bar West, More West, The New Bar West, The Alley Club, Visions, Blue Cactus, Reflections, The Patio, 1099 Club/Ten99 Club, The Sisters, Revel Again, Cadillac Lounge (two different locations), The Quest, Tronix, and Neutron. And of course there are the places long closed before the paper like Rumors, Scorpio’s, The IT (Image That), Felicia’s, The Silver Colt, the Living Room, Floyd’s, Rough Rider, Outback, Maverick’s, The VIP Club, Chute #1, Rumpus Room, Members Only, Living Room, Happy Hobo, Forum, Gil’s, Jimmy’s Joint, The Forum, The Depot, Trapp, Jade Room, Phase Two, PJ’s and Different Stokes. Each ran its course. And each has its own story. But as anyone can see gay bars in Reno were numerous back in the day when the population was less the 125,000 people.
Many people within the local GLBT community remember many of these places and have memories about them. As Pride approaches this weekend celebrate the community’s accomplishments, its history and share memories of what was and what will be. Happy Pride Reno!