Tucked into a quiet corner, Amari manages to feel like a secret even though it’s located on one of Midtown’s busiest stretches. Next door to the local favorite speakeasy-style Death & Taxes, Amari is an Italian cocktail bar serving up signature sips, wine and beer where everything on the menu is inspired by Italian beverages.
Inside, Amari is dim and sexy, an ideal, chandelier-lit spot for guests to engage in deep conversation and intimate moments; casual enough for a weeknight but perfectly acceptable for celebrating an anniversary or taking a first date. Or you can head to the patio, where on a warm evening the twinkling lights above are the perfect ambiance for a festive gathering with friends.
On the menu, fans of a Negroni will be pleased to see three options for the popular drink. If you’ve ever traveled outside of Reno, you may have noticed it is more of a specialty not every bartender has mastered.
The classic—Hayman’s London Dry Gin, Campari and Antica Formula—is the most traditional version of the strong drink. The Negroni Bianco, however, switches out the Hayman’s gin for another brand of the same spirit before adding two types of Bianco, which bring an herbal quality to the drink as well as spices and a touch of sweetness from the Italian dessert wine.
Perhaps the best rendition, depending on who you ask, however, is the Cherry Blossom, a concoction of Cappeletti, Litchi, Cherry Blossom, Manchino Vermouth and Luxardo Bitter Bianco that plays to the sweetness of the ingredients but is still balanced by the high alcohol content.
All of the wines and the signature beer have Italian roots, from rosé to prosecco, pinot grigio to more obscure varietals including lambrusco and barbera d’alba. The beer is an Italian lager—Berra Moretti.
If you want to keep it easy, order a French 75 or espresso martini. For something with a little more flair, or perhaps something new to you, order up a taste of the strong and heady Black Manhattan (bourbon and Angostura Bitters) or a twist on the old fashioned, the Marzipan Old Fashioned is mixed with chocolate bitters, almond and caramel for a more decadent overall flavor. The Violetta is a mix of ingredients that results in a light and refreshing sipper more complex than many while the Amari-Cano offers flavors of bright citrus with a gin base.
There is no shortage of experiences to have at Amari, whether you’re creating a flight to enjoy with a friend or sampling the list of colorful cocktails that make the menu. Across the street you can satisfy your hunger or pick up a post-drink meal at either Noble Pie or Arario Midtown, but there’s no food to be had at Amari—only drinks at this little European hotspot.
32 Cheney St., Reno, Nev. 89501
Friday – Saturday 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Sunday – Thursday 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. She graduated from California State University Sacramento with a bachelor’s in English and is pursuing her master’s in Professional Journalism as we speak. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.