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October 22, 2014

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Carson City’s best whiskey-drinking, law-writing establishments

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

This is a view of the Comma Coffee cafe across the street from the Legislative Building Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 in Carson City.

Sure, proposed legislation is debated both in public hearings and behind closed doors in the Legislative Building itself.

But new laws are also crafted — or amended — over fine wine at Bella Fiore, martinis at Adele’s or shots of whiskey at Mo & Sluggos.

Carson City’s watering holes and lunch spots bustle during the legislative session, when lawmakers and lobbyists blow off steam and meet to discuss issues pending before the Legislature.

The social scene has been used to forge friendships and alliances for getting legislation passed. It’s also an arena in which lobbyists can press the case for their paid clients with lawmakers after hours.

Here’s a look at the most popular lunch, dinner and drinking spots in Nevada’s capital city.

    • 1. Adele’s

      Carson City’s Victorian-themed fine dining establishment has been the mainstay of after-hours lobbying for decades.

      Most weekday nights, lawmakers can be found in the dining room or at the bar, or both. And a cadre of the most seasoned lobbyists is often with them.

    • 2. Ormsby Club

      One of the most visible construction projects in Carson City is the perpetual remodel of the closed Ormsby House hotel and casino. The building has been under construction for more than a decade.

      But, way in the back, behind the parking garage, surrounded by scaffolding and fencing is a tiny basement bar that offers a secluded place for quiet discussions over a beer and peanuts.

    • 3. Comma Coffee

      No trip to the Nevada Legislature is complete without a visit to Comma Coffee.

      The funky coffeehouse is across the street from the Legislative Building, and the traffic of lobbyists, press, visitors and lawmakers is constant throughout the day.

      Proprietor June Joplin knows most of them by name.

    • 4. Jimmy G’s Cigar Bar

      It’s the new kid on the block when it comes to after-hours legislative partying. But this bar’s mix of cigars and karaoke keeps it hopping most nights of the week.

      Last session, Jimmy G’s became known for the infamous karaoke rendition of “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” sung by former Democratic Majority Leader Steven Horsford and his nemesis, Republican Sen. Michael Roberson.

    • 5. Bella Fiore

      This wine bar is generally the first stop on the agenda for an evening’s festivities. Starting about the 4 o’clock hour, lobbyists begin gathering with lawmakers for pre-dinner glasses of wine.

      Wine is typically followed by dinner at Adele’s and late-night partying at either Jimmy G’s or Mo & Sluggos.

    • 6. The Basil

      A lunchtime favorite for lobbyists and the press alike. The Basil is usually busy for lunch during the interim, as well.

    • 7. Glen Eagles

      If Adele’s has competition for the fine-dining crowd in Carson City, it’s Glen Eagles. Situated on the highway on the north end of town, it’s usually a final stop for Reno lawmakers heading home.

      Glen Eagles was a favorite lunch and dinner spot for former Reno senators Bill Raggio and Randolph Townsend.

    • 8. Mo & Sluggos

      A locals’ favorite dive bar that has classed itself up some under new ownership in the past couple of years, Mo & Sluggo’s is open late. When Adele’s closes, the party sometimes will move here.

    • 9. Jack’s Bar

      Yes, Jack’s Bar is closed now. But any roundup of Carson City watering holes would not be complete without an homage to the dive bar that started it all.

      Across the street from the Legislative Building, Jack’s is renowned for the bill-writing, bar-fighting and glad-handing that occurred within its walls over the decades.

      Formerly known as the Bank Saloon, the bar was built in 1899. It was operated as Jack’s Bar by Doug and Marian Addison from 1977 to 2002, when it closed.

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    1. Because we are really, really concerned that welfare recipients get the help that they need to overcome drug addiction I believe that we should also help our poor legislators. Random daily alcohol tests to make sure that legislation is crafted only by those not impaired.