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The secret is out on Reno’s historic speakeasy

By Nora Tarte

Pssst… did you know there’s a speakeasy hidden underneath the West Elm building on South Virginia Street? It’s part of The Basement, a collection of underground businesses, and it’s called Seven Troughs Speakeasy.

The speakeasy scene has yet to explode in Reno, with only two well-known locations (and a Speakeasy style bar that isn’t hidden at all), so finding one is all the more exciting. This one has a focus on local, which is always better.

Seven Troughs Speakeasy comes from Seven Troughs Distilling Company as a way to share their spirits in 1920s-era craft cocktails. 

It’s modeled off of the traditional speakeasy made popular during prohibition (1920-1933). While the sale of alcohol is of course no longer illegal, new-era speakeasies play on the idea of hiding the bars from plain site, so you’ll have to go hunting to find one.

They also often play to a 1920s theme when it comes to style, drinks and even clothing worn by bartenders.

Most speakeasies tend to keep late night hours, but Seven Troughs is a bit different. Located beneath Reno’s historic 1932 U.S. Post Office, the bar closes at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays). On the weekends, it offers brunch starting at 9 a.m., and during the week hours begin at 11 a.m.

Cocktails from Seven Troughs Speakeasy.
Cocktails from Seven Troughs Speakeasy. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno

The small, dimly lit space has all the makings of a classic speakeasy. It’s hidden downstairs, where a traditional speakeasy would have been during prohibition, and its open hours are indicated by a green light that illuminates outside when the bar is ready for business.

Another reason the speakeasy style is perfect for this business is their dedication to preserving the past. Opened in 2012, Seven Troughs uses local grains to create spirits that are historically accurate.

If you came for the drinks, we have a few suggestions of what you should try. As a fan of whiskey, it’s the Traditional Old Fashioned (straight bourbon whiskey, cane sugar, bitters and orange) and the Black Cherry Manhattan (straight bourbon whiskey with amaro, orange bitters and sweet black cherry) that catch my eye. Finished with spherical ice cubes for that craft cocktail touch, everything is perfectly blended but strong, allowing the quality of the house-made whiskey to come through.

For more of a summer sipper, the Pineapple Express adds a hint of tropical flavor, plus ginger beer, bitters and lime to the bourbon whiskey. You may notice a theme here with plenty of whiskey cocktails to enjoy.

For gin lovers, a Foghorn (gin, ginger beer and lime), Last Word (gin, green chartreuse and maraschino liqueur) or Bees Knees (gin, honey, lavender syrup and lemon juice) are all classic choices.

Thanks to the skill of the bartenders, you can always go off menu, too. Fancy yourself a negroni?

For those shy to hard alcohol, there are options for sparkling wines, house wines and bottled beer. Plus, mimosas, which pair perfectly with brunch, offered until 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

On the weekends you can gorge on Corned Beef Hash & Eggs or Monte Cristo Sliders. Or, if you come in outside of brunch hours, order from the daily bites menu, which boasts an epic charcuterie board, loaded stuffed potato, smoked salmon mac and cheese and more.

Details

Address: It’s complicated and includes “Find the large metal door with a geometric eagle,” along with some GPS coordinates and local landmarks.
775-451-7517
Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with brunch until 2 p.m.

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