South Lake Tahoe
It’s the middle of the dog days of summer. The temperatures are hot, and life tends to slow down a little bit. But activity at South Lake Tahoe is moving along at a rapid pace. Renovation is booming from the tip-top of the mountain all the way down to the lake. New and fun things are being built specifically to give people the time of lives.
Let’s start at the top of the hill with The Ridge Tahoe up on Kingsbury Grade (Hwy. 207), in between the Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe. The Ridge is expanding their already expansive 11-acres of property at the crest of the Carson Range. New restaurants and event rooms are part of the new work happening up there, executive style event space with large windows overlooking the Sierra wilderness is a great place to gather the office work team for a retreat and get some work done at the same time. Only five miles up from Stateline and the water, but you can get stuck in the clouds, as the property offers plenty to do on site. With deluxe one bedroom and two bedroom condominium suites and an expansive luxury spa, with massage therapy and a eucalyptus steam bath that will have you feeling quite fine. Go off on a hike right from your room to the Tahoe Rim Trail, that has the best lake views, and you can walk all the way down to the shore of the lake and then call their complementary shuttle to have them bring you back up. Even if you’re not staying at the Ridge, you can head up and enjoy a cocktail at the clubhouse bar, which has a panoramic view of the Carson Valley, or have a bite to eat at the Bear Claw restaurant, which will be opening this month.
At the top of Daggett Pass near the Ridge, another long time establishment underwent some upgrades — the Fox and Hound Smokehouse Grill and Bar, located at 237 Tramway Drive. Father and son owners, Harvey and Matt Grime, expanded the bar area to almost double the size when they opened, and it now features a horseshoe bar with 15 video poker machines. What was once a cozy hole-in-the-wall type place has become a room where you can have a nice party for a family or a class reunion, yet it still has that small-town corner-bar feel that the locals enjoy so much. They’re open for breakfast, and during the summer months it’s kind of a secret place to beat the hungry Sunday morning crowds, with the bacon bloody Mary and good Eggs Benedict. Then, come back up for dinner and have some award winning barbeque, smoked outside on their grills. The ribs are great!
Later, head down the hill toward Stateline and the casino corridor, where millions of dollars have been spent and are being spent to make Lake Tahoe a world-class destination. At Hard Rock Casino, which was remodeled from the previous Horizon Casino a year ago, you now have the party casino that has music outside every Sunday, right off Hwy 50. And it’s the unofficial after-party for the Summer Outdoor Concert Series at Harveys. So, after you have a night of hits with Lionel Richie on August 13, or with the Steve Miller Band on August 18, and then really get rocking with Sammy Hagar and the Cirlcle on August 26, you can keep the festivities rolling at Hard Rock. Hard Rock has their own summer concerts and events happening too: every weekend, running Friday through Sunday, is the Rockin’ Block Party from 11 am- 9 pm, with a beer garden, wine, live music, and an art show. Then, Bass Camp Festival IV, the annual EDM event, is August 6 and 7. And if you like to dance to some crazy hypnotic beats, then this is your show. The Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival, where the vibe is good and the music is even more satisfying, is August 20. For more info on Hard Rock events you can go to the Hard Rock Casino website.
Another type of booming and changing industry here at the South Lake is the beer business. In the last few years, breweries have been popping up on the small stretch of Highway 50 on the California side. Sidellis Lake Tahoe Brewery and Restaurant, located at 3350 Sandy Way about a mile from the Nevada state line, is one such place. Sidellis has quickly become a hit among beer connoisseurs and beer novices alike. As the story goes, owner Chris Sidell and his husband Ellwood Ellis have always wanted to take their love of home brewing and open a micro-brewery in South Lake Tahoe. The name Sidellis, a contraction of both Chris and Ellwood’s last names, also indicates the combined effort they have made to bring really top notch beer to the people of South Lake Tahoe and its visitors. The brews are of every variety, from Peteys Porter to Clockwork White Ale and, right now, the Summer Lager, and you’ll find one to your taste. At Sidellis the beer is first and foremost, but they also offer a nice menu of food, with snacks like deviled eggs, salads and hot and cold sandwiches, including a classic French Dip sandwich that goes well with a nice lager.
From renovations of retreat destinations like The Ridge Tahoe to the opening of micro-breweries, South Lake Tahoe is moving forward every year. It’s fun to see the transformation happening, and visitors get to experience the finished product. Tahoe is an ever-evolving place, so come on up and embrace the changes.
— Brendan Packer