- Lake Tahoe Hot Spots
- South: Himmel Haus, Heavenly
- North: Petra, Northstar
South Lake Tahoe
The Divided Sky
Often called the best ski-bum bar in Tahoe, the Divided Sky is located in the sleepy town of Meyers and is a must-hit on your way from Kirkwood to South Lake Tahoe.
D Sky, as locals call it, has 20-ounce pints of rotating local beers on tap, towering nachos, and a neighborly vibe where the bartender knows most folks by name.
In the spring, sit outside on the upstairs deck; midwinter, saddle up to the bar and make a new friend.
Stop in after skiing for the great deals (like fish tacos on Tuesdays) and stay late into the night.
The Kirkwood Inn
Located on Highway 88 at the turnoff to Kirkwood ski area, The Kirkwood Inn & Saloon is a time machine to the past.
Western pioneer Zachary Kirkwood built this charming old lodge in 1864 as a way station for cattle ranchers.
Black-and-white photos line the walls, while cozy booths and a wood-burning fire offer a break from the storm.
Today, it’s the go-to watering hole for Kirkwood locals: Off-duty ski patrollers, 20-something lifties, and old guys with beards all converge here.
If you’re skiing the California side of Heavenly, end the day at Himmel Haus, a German beer hall and locals’ après-ski favorite just steps from the ski area’s California lodge.
The bar serves up steins of over 30 imported German and Belgian beers plus an eclectic, Bavarian-inspired food menu (think pretzels, schnitzel, spätzle, and goulash).
With ski movies playing on an 11-foot screen, live local music, and regular sessions of bingo, pub trivia, and foosball, the place feels playful and always lively, like a college party scene—if you went to school in Munich, that is.
Off the Hook
Nothing tastes better after a powder day than a plate of sushi and a cold beer, which is why South Lake Tahoe locals love Off the Hook, a low-key sushi spot.
Monday through Friday, the place offers a hard-to-beat happy hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Spots fills up fast, so come early for $3 imported Japanese drafts, $2.50 carafes of hot sake, and a list of sushi rolls under $6.50.
Don’t be fooled by the name, however: Chill reggae music sets the pace here, and the party is lively—but not overwhelming.
Off the Hook really just means the fish is fresh.
Review: Tahoe Blue
When I travel, I have a thing about eating and drinking local. That is, I want to sample the goods you can only get in that locale. I want to eat at local restaurants instead of the chains, and I want to indulge in local craft beer instead of the big mass-produced and distributed brews.
This was the topic of conversation amongst a group of my friends as we kicked back in our Adirondack chairs one sunny day not long ago at Heavenly’s Bar 9150 at the Tamarack Lodge.
We were all sipping bloody Marys, and one of my buddies asked me what kind of vodka I had in my drink. “I don’t know,” I said. “I told the bartender to go with the cheap stuff.”
“Well, they’ve got Tahoe Blue Vodka here,” my friend replied. “If you’re so into this local thing, you should ask for Tahoe Blue in your drink.”
We ordered another round, this time with the Tahoe Blue. I’ve never cared about what kind of vodka the bartender mixed in my bloody Mary, because it was the one drink where I honestly didn’t think it mattered.
I was wrong. The Tahoe Blue version of the bloody Mary was just plain better.
Fortunately, we had a great bartender and server who were willing to play along, so in the name of research—call it the unofficial Tahoe ski bum taste test—we ordered a few more bloody Marys with different types of vodka to compare. The results: Tahoe Blue Vodka made the best.
Local wins again.
North Lake Tahoe
From your perch at the Overlook Bar above the ice-skating rink in Northstar village, you can watch kids learning to skate and families roasting s’mores around the outdoor fire pits while you sip a frosty beverage.
The Overlook is known for beer specials and tends to attract a hip, young crowd of locals.
On weekends, there’s live music. If it’s a cold day, order a Dirty Snowman: a hot chocolate mixed with Bailey’s and vanilla vodka.
For an alternative to the beer-chugging and nacho-eating après scene, opt for a glass of California pinot at Petra, a wine bar in Northstar village.
Owned by Kali Kopley, who also owns Uncorked, a popular wine bar with locations around Tahoe, Petra offers an intimate scene for both vacationing couples and wine-loving locals.
There’s an outdoor fire pit and patio when the weather’s nice, or cuddle up inside with a wine flight and shareable small plates of Mediterranean tapas.
The spanakopita, Kali’s grandmother’s recipe, is not to be missed.