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Midtown’s newest nightlife: Chapo Sports Bar opened in January

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At 18 years old, Ricardo Martinez fell in love with Reno’s nightlife.

He was so enthralled with the bars and lounges that he knew one day he wanted to have his own place. At the impressively young age of 23, he is the owner behind Reno’s newest sports bar, Chapo.

Located in the upstairs Midtown location that once housed Rue Bourbon, he says the place mostly comes alive at night with Fridays and Saturdays getting the busiest. But it’s not just drinks he serves; the second-floor eatery also has a kitchen, doling out bar food with a little more flavor and flair.

A slider at Chapo Sports Bar in Reno, Nev. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno

If you prefer, of course, you can come in for a quieter meal, turn whatever game you like on the big screen TVs and enjoy a BLT Sandwich or Beef Sliders from the menu.

Overall, the fare is easy, letting the drinks take center stage, but the dishes are well done and there are a couple of standouts. 

For those who like birria (a dish from the Mexican state of Jalisco), there is a quesabirria on the menu boasting traditional flavors in a savory beef stew, plus melted cheese, onions, cilantro and a tortilla doused with a signature hot sauce.

The birria is also present on the street tacos, one of four options to try. The tacos are served hot in a traditional street taco presentation. A plate of four can be mixed and matched any way you like, including sampling one of each of the four meat options (al pastor, birria, chicken and asada). Some have a spicy kick and others are mild. 

It’s clear the meats are all marinated and prepped separately with distinct flavors to each variation.

Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno

The short but sweet menu is rounded out with other bar favorites including chicken wings, nachos, quesadillas, clubhouse and chicken sliders, plus a la carte options for tacos, fries and sliders. 

Meals can be grubbed late night or for lunch, open at noon Wednesday through Sunday and until midnight or 1 a.m. depending on the night. 

The main attractions here are the drinks. Simple options include bottled beer and shots perfect for a late night, but it’s the signature cocktails that up the ante on the space. Choose from a list of creative mixtures including a Hibiscus Smash (reposado, lime juice, simple syrup and hibiscus tea), Pineapple Express (Malibu, pineapple, Tajin and soda water), Smokey Old Fashioned (Red Label, bitters and orange served in a smoked cup) and an Amorcito (mezcal, sangria mix, lime juice and pineapple) to name a few.

The drinks certainly go above and beyond the classics—although those can be served, too. Chapo even offers its own version of a cosmopolitan, a michelada and a mojito for a little creativity without bucking the basics.

When you come in, choose a seat at the bar, in the adjacent room filled with high tops and featuring a pool table or outside on the patio where you’re overlooking the back alley behind Fat Cat Bar & Grill (soon to be something new) and Michael & Sons Jewelers.

Details

1401 S. Virginia St., Reno, NV 89502
775-420-5535
Wednesday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 2 a.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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