77.1 F

San Francisco charm comes to Reno in the form of a cable car bar


Anthony (Tony) Gentile, a long-time local in the food and drink scene, launched a new project this spring, bringing a bit of the big city to the biggest little city.

Along with his wife Kris, the former owner of Midtown Wine Bar, Gentile is now the conductor of a very special mobile bar – one made to look like a San Francisco trolley car. While it’s not open for rides, Gentile and his staff do serve beer, wine and cocktails out of the walk-up window. The business is called simply, Trolley Bar.

Tony Gentile's Trolley Bar, a mobile wine and cocktail bar that opened this spring and serves up drinks at catered and special events. Image: Chris Ewing / Mind Widget Creative
Tony Gentile’s Trolley Bar, a mobile wine and cocktail bar that opened this spring and serves up drinks at catered and special events. Image: Chris Ewing / Mind Widget Creative

Trolley Bar is the result of a five-year dream, one that was sparked randomly when Gentile spotted an old run-down trolley on a northern California hotel property while on vacation. The trolley appeared to be there only for decoration but, perhaps as a result of years in the wine industry, Gentile was immediately inspired by what the trolley could be. In this case, he visualized a mobile bar.

After selling Midtown Wine Bar in 2021, the Gentiles purchased a small replica trolley (that actually used to be a mobile hot dog stand) from Washington and began renovations. 

“We can offer a variety of great red or white wines, sparkling wines and brews that can be tailored to one’s specific event, plus a few batch cocktails if desired,” Gentile said. “Every event will have a specific need, so we can do our best to accommodate most with a wide range of choices.”

The limitations mostly include a lack of taps. For private events Trolley Bar makes up for that with kegs.

The business’ niche is in private and corporate events, where people can rent the trolley and choose what alcohol they want it stocked with, including local spirits. Although it just launched, Trolley Bar’s calendar is already filling up. 

For those of us who want to check it out without renting the whole shebang, Trolley Bar will have a big presence at local events. 

Gentile has plans to have Trolley Bar at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park for the annual Summer Salute Classic Chevys of Reno (a fundraiser for the Veterans Guest House) on May 28, the Wells Avenue Treasure Walk on June 25 and the Big Wheel Race fundraiser event for children with Autism at the McKinley Arts Center on Father’s Day. 

The summer menu offers a lineup of cool and refreshing seasonal cocktails. 

“We had a friend with us who has much experience with craft cocktails. She offered her expertise and knowledge to us, and we came up with a few select signature cocktails,” Gentile said.

“Overall, I think this opportunity in owning a mobile business can provide for larger opportunities to branch out locally and regionally without the expense and regulations of a traditional brick and mortar business. I can envision many of these style bar trailers someday. But that idea is for a future conversation,” Gentile said. “Our desire is simply to provide a fun and unique way of offering our services to the community.”

To learn more, visit TrolleyBarReno.com, or check out social media @trolleybarreno and Facebook.com/TrolleyBar. You can also call to book, 775-391-4042.

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.