Ask Tessie: What are the best bars in South Lake Tahoe? |

Ask Tessie: What are the best bars in South Lake Tahoe?

Ask Tessie
Tahoe Tessie

Dear Tessie,

I’m new in town and looking to get the low down on the best bars in South Lake Tahoe. Can you help me out?


Party Animal

Well, Party Animal, the best bar depends on the type of person you are.

If you’re looking to Instagram your craft beer while wearing a beanie and ironically playing Jenga, then head on over to the Coachman Hotel. Or perhaps you want to log a new beer in your Untappd app to show all your hipster friends how local your brew is. In that case, ride your fixed-gear bike to one of South Lake Tahoe’s breweries. Those places are popping up faster than vacation home rentals.

If you want to relive the glory days of studying abroad or backpacking across Europe, then Himmel Haus is the spot for you. You’ll act like a real beer connoisseur, but in reality, you have no idea what you just ordered because you have never heard of a single one of their German beers on tap. But let’s be real, you only came here to drink beer out of the glass boot and stuff your face with a pretzel.

If blending in as a true “Tahoe local” is your goal, then head on down to Steamers Bar and Grill and order an ice cold draft beer. But be prepared: When you first walk in everyone is going to stop what they are doing and give you the up-down to determine your status as “local” or “tourist.” Dress accordingly.

If you’re looking for the quintessential dive bar with cheap (and strong) drinks and live music, Whiskey Dick’s Saloon is your place. Suppress your gag reflex as you throw back shots of well whiskey before getting your a$$ kicked in shuffleboard. If you don’t know how to get there, just find the posters in town featuring various musicians surrounded by marijuana leaves. They will lead you there.

Finally, if you’re the type who needs to blow off some steam mid-week, then head to Cabo Wabo on Wednesday to party like you’re on vacation. This is where locals go to pretend they’re tourists. Cabo Wabo is located inside Harveys Lake Tahoe, and just like the rest of the casino, the goal is to keep you from knowing the time of day or how the hell to get out of there. Before you know it you’ve had eight strawberry margaritas and are lost among slot machines trying to find your way out like a rat in a maze.

This is probably not helping the South Shore’s goal of trying to be perceived as a recreation destination, not a party town, huh?

Dear Tessie,

The lines at the Safeways in town are always SO LONG. Thank god for Netflix so I can stream an episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” while waiting for 25 minutes in the 15 items or less line. Should I complain to management? Would that make a difference?


I Just Needed to Buy Milk!

Ah yes — the age-old complaint of Safeway lines on the South Shore. What to do, what to do.

You know you’ve acclimated to life in Tahoe when your small talk conversations are along these lines: “Can you believe this weather we’ve been having? And the traffic? And those lines at Safeway?!”

First off, let me say my sympathies are with the cashiers at Safeway who probably get pissed-off people commenting about how long the lines are 30 times a day. That has got to get old real fast. And anyone who is rude to those hardworking folks better watch themselves next time they take a dip in Lake Tahoe because those lines are most definitely not their faults. (Shout out to Marcia at the Safeway near Round Hill for always being THE nicest person even when there is a line at her register all the way to Starbucks!)

Anyway, I think complaining to the management of Safeway would be just about as helpful as complaining about it on Facebook, which I know you guys do. All. The. Time.

Instead, while you’re waiting in line why don’t you peel your eyes away from your smartphone for a second and work on being more mindful and present, or whatever. You know, that stuff they are always preaching about in the Healthy Tahoe section on Wednesday. It’s an exercise in patience — kind of like answering all of your dumb questions every week is for me.

Tahoe Tessie is a humorous take on the standard advice column. It is produced by the Tribune staff, and it is not meant to be taken literally. Have a question you want to ask Tessie? Send it to

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