The Fireside Lounge is unapologetically, gloriously tacky — which is why we love it. Tucked away inside the Peppermill Casino, the little corner bar can be a bit hard to find, so it's usually less busy. The banquette seats around the water-filled firepit (imagine a hot tub with an Olympic torch stuck in the middle) get snapped up first, but the cozy booth seats have individual TV screens playing music videos. This is the kind of place where you can, and should, order a drink served in a fishbowl-sized glass with gummi worms hanging over the side.
Happy hour is M-F from 4-7 pm and features free shrimp cocktails with your drink purchase, and there are late-night specials after midnight.
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The Peppermill Shakes Things Up
As a former Reno resident, I can assure you that the locals do indeed hang out at the casinos, and the Peppermill has always been one of my preferred spots. With an ersatz-Italian theme, the decor can be riotously colorful and confused, but the rooms are tasteful, modern, clean, and blessedly neon-free. The hotel's expansive Island Buffet is a good value, and especially popular on holidays, so plan ahead and be prepared for a line at peak times. Oceano is a reasonably priced seafood restaurant, but the true reason to go is to admire the eye-popping undersea decor. The Fireside Lounge is a blacklit feast for the senses with a truly remarkable watery firepit. When the neon assault gets to be too much, escape to the faux-Tuscan bliss of the Spa Toscana.