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Pinkies up: The Emerson serves fine dining cocktails in Midtown


This time of year, I’m always in search of a patio. There’s nothing like sipping craft cocktails at sunset with the mountains and Midtown as your background.

The Emerson delivers on both counts: a quaint outdoor space prime for people watching and cocktails worthy of our fanciest date nights, even though the vibe is more laid back than that.

You can of course sip inside, too, where forest green walls and lush plants create a chic, upbeat space. It’s made complete with dim lighting and comfortable, eclectic furniture that allows you to kick back at the bar or on a couch.

That patio we talked about even boasts fire pits and heaters when needed.

The Emerson in Midtown on a quiet night. At other times it’s bustling and full of energy. Image: Courtesy The Emerson

The Emerson always has classics on deck, serving margaritas—try the watermelon—by the glass or pitcher, as well as Manhattans, martinis, old fashioneds and mules. The slushys are particularly popular; the Painkiller is a mix of Cruzan dark rum, fresh lime juice, pineapple and coconut, you know, just in case you’re jonesing for a tropical vacation you haven’t booked yet.

Beer, wine and bubbles are always there, too.

If you’re a regular, though, the seasonal cocktails are what will pull you in. 

The spring menu (which was still in effect on my visit) is filled with refreshing sippers to beat the heat. The prettiest, in our opinion, is The Stardew with Japanese Roku Gin, Yuzuri Yuzu Liqueur, Junami Ginjo Sake and Maraschino. 

The OG, a boozy grasshopper milkshake at The Emerson. Image: Courtesy The Emerson

You’ll quickly notice a theme of fruit forward cocktails this season, including a Watermelon Martini, vodka-based The Mistress featuring a float of sparkling wine and the Kissy Suzuki for tequila drinkers that boasts grapefruit, fresh lime and coconut.

Because the drinks tend to be strong here, there’s no way you can taste through everything you want in one sitting, which is why we suggest you add The Emerson to your daily rotation and come back often.

And when you’re hungry, grab a charcuterie plate or mixed olives.

While we come for the drinks and the ambiance, The Emerson is also known for its line-up of events. Keeping a busy social calendar, stand-up comedy and drag brunches are often on the menu, and both are a raucous good time.

For one-off bashes, keep an eye on the bar’s social pages. They like to get into the community spirit with events that cater to what’s happening throughout downtown, Midtown and beyond whether that’s a Pride celebration or an art-themed outing.



955 S. Virginia St., Reno, Nev. 89509
Monday – Thursday 5 to 11 p.m.
Friday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Saturday 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Happy Hour Weekdays 5 to 7 p.m., Open Select Sundays for Brunch

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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