Tahoe’s Best Boat-Up Bars

| May 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

Tie up and tie one on

Written by Susan D. Rock

West Shore Cafe. Photo Courtesy West Shore Cafe & Inn

In the warmth of summer, a boat on The Lake equals a drink in the hand. Here we take you on a brief tour of the best dockable destinations to point your bow for a cold adult beverage (which likely contains rum and possibly an umbrella) and a perfect day on the Big Blue.

Seasonal by nature, with a salty snack at the ready and perhaps live music on tap, many of these long-running lakeside locations even offer boat valet service to assist with your nautical mission. Anchors aweigh, around The Lake we cruise:

Chambers Landing Bar & Grill

Dating back to 1859, The Lake’s original boat bar has been a beacon for generations of West Shore families and summer-smitten 20-somethings. Lore has it the famous frozen punch was first mixed in a boating trophy.


West Shore Café

Deep wicker chairs, a large and lovely outdoor deck, Old Tahoe architecture and dockside valets await at this upscale Homewood landmark. The Meek’s Mule comes in a copper mug, and though you may have come for a drink, you ought to stay for the food.



This much-loved West Shore spot is famous for its 250-person dock, signature margarita, crispy zucchini sticks, fish tacos, hula pie and hustling boat valets. Well chilled? Pop into the Mountain Grill, or if you brought your Topsiders, the Lakeside Dining Room.


Christy Hill Lakeside Bistro

Head into Tahoe City Marina (first-come first-served complimentary two-hour docking) then up to this spot 100 feet above the water that boasts both a quiet deck and casual “sand bar” to enjoy a glass of wine—and perhaps some hamachi crudo.


Dockside 700 Lakefront Grill

A Berkeley-based Bison Organic honey basil beer or glass of sangria pairs well with this relative newcomer’s award-winning lamb lollipops, tri-tip ribs and barbecued chicken, all of which can be enjoyed on the porch and lawn or the deck of your boat.


Jake’s  on the Lake

Mountain Aloha is the theme; the motto, “Speak softly and wear a loud shirt.” Both go well with a Kimo’s mai tai and perhaps a stop at the seafood bar at this Hawaiian-themed waterfront grill at the Boatworks Mall above the Tahoe City Marina.


Gar Woods Grill & Pier

The Wet Woody, a frozen rum concoction replete with umbrella, comes in nearly 20 varieties; beer-battered prawns make a good chaser. Boat valets can help navigate the buoys or pier below this Carnelian Bay restaurant.


Waterman’s Landing

Paddlers of all sorts prefer this Carnelian Bay pull-out for a healthy breakfast or lunch nosh, Alpen Sierra organic coffee lattes and Tahoe Teas to power up for the onward trip.


Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe

Pull up to the Incline Village resort’s 275-foot floating pier, hand your keys to the valet and order a vodka-inspired Lakeside Lemonade at Pier 111. Hungry? Head for the Lone Eagle Grille and finish the evening with a smoked salmon pizza at the outdoor fire pit.


Thunderbird Lodge

Perhaps Tahoe’s most exclusive boat-up destination, members of a certain level may dock at the storied property’s pier for special events such as the popular winemaker’s dinners and cooking classes, with all proceeds going toward preservation of the lodge and yacht.


Zephyr Cove Resort

Complimentary moorings for Sunset Bar & Grill patrons make it simple to slide on in to this sand-in-your-toes sort of spot for a Zephyr Zombie, the long-running resort’s version of a rum punch slushy. Bar food is on the menu when hunger hits.


Riva Grill

Dock at Ski Run Marina and step onto the deck of this South Shore sister to Gar Woods Grill, where the Wet Woody also reigns and a similar menu of seafood-inspired apps, salads and entrees awaits.


Fresh Ketch

Tucked into Tahoe Keys Marina, tie up in any of the spots marked for the restaurant and head to the patio or lounge for a glass of Prosecco and perhaps some oysters or peel-and-eat shrimp during Captain’s happy hour at this three-decades-old seafood spot.


The Beacon

Blended rum runners are the go-to drink at this rustic, family friendly deck on the beach at historic Camp Richardson (the cocktail is so popular the mix is sold by the bottle); team it up with the fried calamari appetizer. The on-site marina will help find a spot for your ride.


Category: Wine & Dine

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