Working in vacation rentals, I am often asked, “Where do the locals go in South Lake Tahoe?” From delicious eats, to amazing happy hour deals, ambiance, and overall experience, here are my top picks of local restaurants and bars that are true hidden gems that us locals love to visit:
Brooks’ Bar & Deck
Located inside the Edgewood Golf Course Clubhouse, just off the 18th hole, Brooks’ Bar & Deck (pictured above) has beautiful views of the lake and course from both inside, and outside on its spacious patio. Honored by Golf Digest as one of the “Best Golf Pubs” in the world, their menu consists of delectable “refined comfort food” like grilled steak nachos and salmon fish ‘n chips, along with signature cocktails and craft beer. Off-season (spring and autumn) is a great time to enjoy a relaxing visit to Brooks’ without the summer crowds, and take advantage of their great happy hour specials from 3pm to 5 pm daily.
Tucked away in a little corner of the Heavenly Village adjacent to the ice skating rink (or miniature golf course during the warmer months), Kalani’s is an upscale Hawaiian-inspired restaurant. Their delectable creative dishes include fresh seafood like sea bass, mahi mahi, and scallops, as well as “from the land” dishes like a tomahawk pork chop and rack of lamb. They also feature an incredibly extensive sushi menu with fresh fish flown in from Hawaii. Kalani’s also has an great happy hour in their Puka Lounge daily from 3pm to 6pm with specials on their appetizers, sushi, and specialty cocktails. With tasteful Hawaiian decor, Kalani’s is rarely crowded, very comfortable, and is filled with friendly staff, making it the perfect spot to unwind after a day on the slopes, or to begin a night out on the town!
Sidellis Lake Tahoe: Brewery & Restaurant
Located centrally in town, but off the “beaten path”, Sidellis is a community oriented brewery and restaurant. With a very casual bar, friendly staff, and dining area filled with long tables big enough to share with a neighbor, you’ll be sure to meet some great locals here. Sidellis offers an excellent variety of rotating beers, from sour beers to stouts and ales, brewed in-house by their very talented brew master. Their relaxed philosophy includes not having servers, so patrons order at the bar, drinks are served there, and the food brought out to them. Speaking of the food… their “not so typical” bar fare is simply delicious: I highly recommend anything that comes with their homemade beer cheese, the pickled plate (filled with a variety of house-made pickled veggies), Caprese sandwich, and beer brat. They also offer a variety of vegetarian foods, including their French Onion Soup! To add some fun to your visit, a bookcase loaded with games is available, a favorite with kids and adults alike. Should you be visiting during the summer months, be sure to check out their beer garden out back. And well-behaved service dogs are permitted as well!
Pick 6 Sports Lounge
In a newly constructed building in the center of town, Pick 6 is the new “it” spot for locals. With two stories, high ceilings, and contemporary-industrial decor, the restaurant has a large open feel to it. It is jam-packed with TV’s, constantly playing an array of sports, so you can watch your favorite team from anywhere in the restaurant. Pick 6 offers daily specials (like Taco Tuesdays) on food and drinks, and a large menu full of house-made items like Potato Spring Rolls, large burgers and signature sandwiches, and hearty entrees like Jambalaya. During the warmer months, enjoy the second story deck with outdoor furniture, games, and filtered view of the lake (that is only a block away!). Friendly staff and a casual setting will help you feel like you’re in your own local neighborhood joint!
Lake Tahoe AleWorx
A new and unique concept for South Lake Tahoe, AleWorx is not your typical beer house. When you enter the restaurant, you are assigned a bracelet, which you can use to pour beer or wine, and order food. How it works: Located on the back wall of the restaurant is a row of beer and wine taps. Grab a glass, find the tap you want, hold your bracelet up to it to activate the tap, and start pouring! AleWorx charges by the ounce, so you can pour a full glass or sample many different kinds of beers. The restaurant also has a Napoli-style pizza oven (whimsically decorated with hundreds of pennies), from which they craft some seriously delicious pizzas and other items like nachos and desserts. The decor has a very industrial, yet comfortable, feel to it. Outside you will find many tables, fire pits, cornhole, and stage for live music. And feel free to bring the kiddos, they are family-friendly!
Emerald Bay Bar & Grill
Last, but certainly not least, on the list is Emerald Bay Bar & Grill. Located on the opposite side of town from the casinos, near Camp Richardson and beaches, this bar and grill is the perfect spot for a brew and bite after a day on the sand. Inside, you’ll find a bar top covered with embedded bottlecaps, comfortable decor (including a large fireplace), numerous TV’s, and lots of locals. Outside, they have a large beer garden filled with tables, umbrellas, a large fire pit, and horseshoe pit. Serving breakfast and brunch daily until 2pm, and regular items until close, Emerald Bay Bar & Grill serves hearty portions of not only bar favorites, but specialty items like Crab Benedict and massive burgers. Most days you can take advantage of food and drink specials, so be sure to ask about those!
There you have it, my list of favorite local spots around town. I hope you’re able to enjoy some of these truly great places while vacationing up here! If you’re in need of a wonderful South Lake Tahoe vacation rental, we’re just a phone call or click away!