Something old, something new: The Trocadero opens in Reno

Trocadero Reno
The Trocadero Bar & Ballroom is packed for Scott Pemberton.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Larry Sabo

Reno’s newest music venue is really old.

Located a block away from Wingfield Park and two blocks from Reno’s main drag, Virginia Street, The Trocadero Bar & Ballroom will feature all kinds of entertainment in an historic venue. It is adjacent to the old El Cortez Hotel, now the Siegel Suites El Cortez, built in 1933. The décor is Art Deco, which was popular worldwide in the 1920s and ’30s.

Tahoe Onstage
The bar is open at The Trocadero at 235 W. 2nd Street in Reno.

The hotel used to be the destination for the women seeking a quick divorce. After 45 days of residency, Reno granted divorces. To celebrate, women famously would toss their wedding rings in the Truckee River. The quick-divorce business was so good that the entertainment venue was added on or around 1941.

After its popularity waned, the venue was an Italian restaurant, then a Chinese restaurant. When it closed on Dec. 10, 2015, it was called the El Cortez Karaoke Lounge, said Marcus Middleton a Trocadero investor.

Initially, a redesign was in the renovation plan.

“We couldn’t see the natural décor of this room until we started stripping it town,” Middleton said. “Then we realized they did it right the first time.”

The Trocadero (located at 235 W. 2nd Street) has had three shows, highlighted by the Scott Pemberton Band on April 8. More shows are scheduled. The stage is located next to the front door, but that will change as the venue is refurbished.

The bar lounge is separated from a theater area by a hallway with three radial booths. A stage will be constructed in the theater, formerly called the Frank Sinatra Ballroom, which, when it opens, will be named the Trocadero Room. The capacity will be 500.

The ceilings are 16-feet tall in the 4,000 square-foot venue. The polished-stone floor and bar add to the ambiance.

A worker shouted to demonstrate the room’s acoustics.

“This place is meant for projection,” he said. “We could have yodeling contests. How about tap dancing. That would be a way to go. There is so much you can do here.”

The Trocadero won’t have gaming or a kitchen. However, there will be an inside window to the Italian eatery next door, the Nobel Pie Parlor.

In recent years, downtown and midtown Reno has added music venues such as Cargo Concert Hall and The Saint.

“There’s definitely a resurgence in nightlife,” Middleton said. “We’re in an upswing. I can feel it.”

-Tim Parsons

Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage
The Scott Pemberton Band from Portland rocked the venue with stone floors.

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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