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A Wet Woody close to home


An eatery overlooking the water, a beach-front property with good food and good views—that’s the formula for Tom Turner’s collection of restaurants in Lake Tahoe, which includes Gar Woods, Riva Grill, Caliente and more. The restaurateur even dipped his toes into the Truckee culinary scene when he and his partners acquired Bar Of America. 

Sparks Water Bar, however, marks his first foray into the Reno metro, where he bought up a large waterfront building overlooking the quaint strip of Sparks Marina beach near The Outlets at Legends.

Like Turner’s other restaurants, Sparks Water Bar gets busy, but the way the restaurant is divided makes grabbing a coveted seat easier than you’d think. Half of the building is used for reservations and dining in, while the other half (including part of the outdoor deck) is saved for walk-ins ordering up apps and drinks.

The menu reads like those at Gar Woods and Riva Grill, with the same mainstays locals have come to love. Here you can get your fill of favorites such as lobster deviled eggs, beer battered coconut prawns and housemade salt and vinegar potato chips. 

A Wet Woody at Sparks Water Bar. Image: Nora Tarte / This Is Reno

But the real reason we’re talking about Sparks Water Bar—aside from the stunning views that peak at sunset—is the drink list.

When you come for the cocktails, it’s hard to pass up the famous Wet Woody, a staple for locals and visitors to Tahoe. And now, Sparks Water Bar makes getting the ice-cold, blended (and boozy) concoction more accessible by not requiring a trip over the mountain to order up. 

The descriptions are endearing, and sometimes hard to understand, but essentially, you’re getting a frozen and blended cocktail heavy on rum and assorted juices and some sort of alcoholic float (typically rum). The different versions mean you can mix up the flavors—and the alcohol content—with Papa Woody, Mount Your Woody, Black and Blue Woody and a Rock Hard Woody, all of which are variations of the original. 

A favorite for those who like a little extra fruit flavor is the Prickly Pear of Woodys, made with a prickly pear puree and a float of Myers’ Rum and Captain Morgan. Off menu, the raspberry offering is similar with its own fruity puree to stir in.

Don’t want a Woody? There are plenty of other signature cocktails at the ready, including a short line-up of margaritas, a pomegranate martini or the Effen Martini (finished with a bleu cheese stuffed olive), Lickme Lemon Drop, Moscow mule and more. 

What they all have in common is they are perfect for sipping in the sun on a warm day, or in the comfort of the cozy indoors when it’s too chilly to brave the elements. But don’t you worry, oversized windows abound making those views just as easy to soak in while dining inside.



325 Harbour Cove Dr., Sparks, Nev. 89434
Saturday & Sunday cocktails from 10:30 a.m.
Lunch Monday – Sunday from 11:30 a.m.
Dinner Sunday – Thursday 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Dinner Friday & Saturday 5 to 10 p.m.

Nora Tarte
Nora Tarte
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. Nora received her bachelor's in Journalism from California State University, Sacramento before graduating from University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a master’s in Professional Journalism. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.




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