Nevados Restaurant

 Strong gin & tonics, even stronger shots of whiskey, and generally an all around festive atmosphere ( nevadosrestaurant.com )

Strong gin & tonics, even stronger shots of whiskey, and generally an all around festive atmosphere (nevadosrestaurant.com)

Ah, Nevados. It’s the place you go to get strong gin & tonics, even stronger shots of whiskey, and generally an all-around festive atmosphere. Show up during happy hour (5:00-6:00 p.m.) and you’ll find the bar full of Mammoth locals, most of whom are already tipsy, shooting the breeze with the long time bartenders. 

People love Nevados on Yelp… probably because, again, the drinks at Nevados are known for being strong, and that makes everyone feel like they’re getting a great deal. Not that the food doesn’t deserve the reviews—it’s a great place to find classics like a Filet Mignon that won’t break the bank ($36), Duck a la Orange ($34), and Cioppino (same price, and it comes with lobster and scallops). 

Especially in Mammoth, where restaurants like the Lakefront command $70 for a steak, Nevados' prices are still swallowable. 

Their happy hour is an even better deal, which is why you’ll find the bar full of locals sharing ahi poke wonton tacos (so good) or tempura fried rock shrimp (always a little too soggy but you can’t help but order it). The Kung Pao chicken or beef tenderloin tips (other options are salmon or shrimp) in lettuce cups come with water chestnuts and Asian-style accompaniments and are great for the gluten-free person in your life (we’ve all got one). So is the rice bowl and grilled romaine salad with bacon. All their bar menu items are $13 and they’re all big enough to share. 

Cocktail hour at Nevados is a great place to start your night on the town near The Village. You can take the bus or trolley up and walk everywhere else you need to go, and you’ll get a good buzz on for a decent price. Be careful hitting Nevados after you’ve been hitting the booze elsewhere, though—you think you’re ordering a nightcap whiskey rocks and you’ll end up on the floor—the bartenders are known for their heavy hands. 

Nevada’s is open 7 days a week. Bar opens at 5, restaurant at 5:30. It’s located at 6042 Minaret Street in Mammoth. 760 934-4466. www.nevadosrestaurant.com.

Sarah Rea is a freelance dirtbag-turned-journalist who has been living in the Sierra on and off for twenty years, with eight spent in Yosemite National Park and five in Mammoth Lakes. She likes dogs, rocks, good food and jumping into cold water.