PHOTO/CITY OF SPARKS. The entrance to Sparks Water Bar, the new 600-seat restaurant overlooking Sparks Marina in Sparks.

The Wet Woodys have docked.

The famously potent rum, fruit juice and schnapps cocktail that glows orange, the flagship pour of Gar Woods Grill & Pier at Lake Tahoe, is now taking pride of place at Sparks Water Bar, which opened Aug. 22 on the shore of Sparks Marina. Tom Turner, the owner of Gar Woods and several other Tahoe spots, owns Sparks Water Bar.

The restaurant, one of the most anticipated food and drink debuts in years in Northern Nevada, occupies a double-decker space in the Marina Town Centre building, at the northeast end of the Marina. The roughly 600-seat restaurant has been in the works for about two years

Inside and out

PHOTO/CITY OF SPARKS. An ornamental gate leads to the main terrace from the promenade below at Sparks Water Bar, the new restaurant on the shore of Sparks Marina.

Sparks Water Bar is composed of richly colored woods and glass and light and stone and views of the Marina, the city and the brawny shoulders of the Sierra (when the smoke clears).

Downstairs, there’s a capacious bar area, with a door leading to a wrap terrace featuring covered seating and a huge stone bar with fire feature. Beyond the bar lies the main dining room with an open kitchen.

PHOTO/JOHNATHAN L. WRIGHT: The main dining room at Sparks Water Bar on Aug. 23, 2021, the new restaurant’s second day in business.

Upstairs, ideal for overflow dining or special events, there’s more seating, a third bar (so you’re never far from a Wet Woody), and another wrap terrace, including a cozy corner furnished with couches and puffy pillows.



Address: 325 Harbour Cove Drive, Sparks

Phone: 775-351-1500

Current hours: From 4 p.m. daily


On the menu

PHOTO/CITY OF SPARKS: Looking west from the main terrace at the new Sparks Water Bar on the shore of Sparks Marina.

The bar menu, arranged in a four-sided display, runs from snacks and plates like lobster deviled eggs and a Dungeness crab sandwich to beer and wine (I guzzled two glasses of the Whispering Angel rosé), from the SuckMeUp list of classic and craft cocktails (try: prickly pear margarita) to the Wet Woody rendered in several versions.

The menu, during the opening period, draws on its sister from Gar Woods: ahi poke tacos, seafood tagliarini spiked with Spanish chorizo, seared diver scallops graced with blood orange beurre blanc, pistachio-crusted halibut, and a Certified Angus Beef rib-eye.

PHOTO/CITY OF SPARKS: The stone bar on the main terrace of the new Sparks Water Bar includes a fire feature.

Yesterday, its second day in business, Sparks Water Bar was already drawing crowds, with a full main bar, a packed dining room and even a handful of folks on the downstairs terrace braving the smoke. A nice breeze blew in from the Marina; an orange sun set in the west.

It was almost the color of a Wet Woody.

Johnathan L. Wright is the food and drink writer for Reno News & Review. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsJLW or on Facebook personally or at @FoodNevada. Sign up here for the Reno News & Review free weekly newsletter highlighting our most recent stories.

Johnathan L. Wright is the former food and drink editor of Reno News & Review. During his career, Johnathan has won numerous awards for his work, including several Association of Food Journalists Awards...

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