Lake Tahoe may not have the nightlife scene of Las Vegas, but it does have something other party destinations don’t: insanely huge mountains and the sports to match. That’s probably why so many groups choose the towns around Lake Tahoe as their go-to vacation spots when they want to both ski and party. Here’s a quick round up of the best nightlife in Lake Tahoe. The general rule of thumb is that the further south you go, the better the nightlife. South Lake Tahoe is known as more of a party destination, while the North Shore could accurately be described as a little more sleepy.
The bus systems stop running shortly after 8 p.m., so you won't be able to rely on public transportation to get around. Fortunately, Uber and taxis are available everywhere and you can walk to most bars in South Lake Tahoe.
Nightlife in Truckee
Truckee doesn’t have nightclubs, but it does have a few bars that are open late into the evening, many with live music. There’s no need to dress to impress: ski pants or mountain biking shorts are acceptable just about everywhere. In fact, you may get funny looks if you dress like you’re in Aspen.
- Alibi Ale Works: A popular local brewery with communal tables. Expect live music ranging from polka to bluegrass on most weekend nights.
- Moody’s Bistro Bar & Beats: Moody’s is Truckee’s more “upscale” bar. Although the cocktails are pricier than other places, the bartenders are pros and the small dance floor gets packed on Saturday nights.
- Tourist Club: Known to locals as T-Club, this is the epitome of a Truckee dive bar. Beers are cheap and you can always find a few friendly locals willing to play pool.
Nightlife in Kings Beach and Crystal Bay
Aside from a few restaurants with bars that stay open until 12 a.m. or so, there isn't much of a nightlife scene at Kings Beach. However, Crystal Bay is about a four minute-drive from K.B. and offers more options.
- Crystal Bay Casino: This is the North Shore’s nightclub-casino, with a large space for live music and a late-night dance party after most shows. It’s a casino, so expect a varied crowd. Check the line up in advance as many big-name shows often sell out.
- Tahoe Biltmore: The Tahoe Biltmore seems like a throwback to Tahoe in the 1980s, which is a strong selling point for a lot of people. Small live shows, affordable drinks, and low-limit table games keep the house packed on weekends.
Nightlife in Stateline and South Lake Tahoe
This town is technically called South Lake Tahoe on the California side and Stateline on the Nevada side, but most people refer to the whole area as South Lake. This is the go-to spot for partying, with late-night bars, casino-nightclubs, and restaurants within walking distance.
A quick note about South Lake: If you’re on the Nevada side, party on. You can go just about anywhere for a drink since alcohol is sold 24 hours a day and most of the major casinos are connected for easy barhopping. If you cross into California, be aware that alcohol is only allowed in designated areas. Last call doesn’t exist in Nevada, but it’s 2 a.m. in California.
- Vinyl at Hard Rock Casino: If acoustic sets and stand-up acts are your thing, swing by Hard Rock Lake Tahoe. Vinyl is more of a high-end lounge than a nightclub. You’ll need tickets for most events.
- Harrah’s Lake Tahoe: This huge resort is home to PEEK Nightclub, which has everything you'd expect from a nightclub, including bottle service and popular DJs. In the summer, they host huge outdoor concerts by some of the country’s biggest bands.
- Whiskey Dick’s Saloon: If casinos aren’t your thing, head here for shuffleboard, pool tables, cheap beers, and a low-key crowd. They also have live music occasionally.
Nightlife in Tahoe City
Tahoe City may be Tahoe’s laid-back beach town, but it has a pretty lively nightlife scene. Many of the bars and restaurants here have lakeside patios, so it’s a great place to hit up for sunset drinks any time of year.
- Fat Cat Bar & Grill: Packed with locals and tourists alike, Fat Cat serves up truly tasty food. The kitchen closes around 10 p.m., but the bar stays open much later.
- Pete n’ Peter’s: If you’re in the mood for a non-nightclub scene, head to Pete n' Peter's. It has a vintage vibe, with darts, a pool table, and a taqueria next door that delivers to the bar.
- Moe’s Tahoe City: Moe’s keeps it rockin’ with mouthwatering barbecue, live bands, local beers, and a waterfront location that can’t be beat. Vegetarian and fish options are also available.
Ski Resort Nightlife
Skiing is a huge part of Tahoe’s culture and many locals prefer après-ski (what mountain folks call “happy hour”) to late-night drinks. After all, you need to be first on the slopes at 9 a.m. That said, there are a few places at Tahoe’s various resorts that really pack ‘em in.
- Auld Dubliner (Squaw Valley): The “Dub” is the place to be from après-ski until last call. The Irish bar is in the heart of Squaw Valley’s village and is a great spot to meet skiers if you’re looking for someone to show you around the mountain.
- Cutthroat’s Saloon (Diamond Peak Ski Resort): Diamond Peak doesn’t have a late-night bar, but just a mile away is Cutthroat’s Saloon at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. It’s on the Nevada side of the lake, so it serves drinks late into the evening.
- Stateline Brewery (Heavenly Resort): This brewery near the base of Heavenly Resort is usually packed, but the beers are worth the wait. It starts getting crowded during après-ski, and stays that way until close.
Tips for Going Out in Tahoe
- Uber and other ride shares are almost always available on the South Shore. They’re in fewer number on the North Shore, so you might want to call a traditional taxi service. Pro tip: Order an Uber Ski if you need a ride share with a ski rack.
- Lake Tahoe is freezing at night, so warmth is more important than fashion. Sidewalks can get very icy in the winter and people often wear snow boots to bars and nightclubs. High heels are impractical and will mark you as an out-of-towner.
- Tahoe is a seasonal destination. It’s crowded during ski season and most of the summer, but the crowds die down a bit in the spring and fall. During the off-peak season, many bars and restaurants have limited hours (if they don't close entirely), so be sure to check the hours of bars and clubs before heading out.