The best Bloody Marys around North Lake Tahoe

Ask Lake Tahoe locals about the best Bloody Marys, and they’re likely to tell you that the competition is stiff. South Lake Tahoe, for example, has hosted a Bloody Mary competition the last several years, while Northstar California has their own Bloody Mary competition featuring the mountain’s best bartenders. Even the The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe ups the ante with a Bloody Mary Bar at their Sunday Champagne Brunch!

The fact is that Bloody Marys are taken very seriously. So today I’m sharing a few of the best places around North Lake Tahoe to grab a Bloody Mary.

 Cabana Bars

Northstar California’s Cabana Bars are ground zero for all things après-ski. And, it happens to be one of the best places for a Bloody Mountain around the resort. So what’s the secret? Their house-made Bloody Mary mix, of course. Topping it off is a savory Bloody Mary garnish of baby gherkin pickles, seasoned baby corns, spicy pickled green beans, celery, and a lime. However, the icing on the cake is the jumbo sautéed prawn that clings to the side of the glass. After ordering one of Tahoe’s best Bloody Marys at the Cabana Bars, find a fireside seat by the ice rink, grab a s’mores kit, and kick back at one of Tahoe’s best après-ski spots.

Cabana bars.jpeg

Summit Smokehouse

While you’ll find a Bloody Mary on menus around Northstar (the resort takes them seriously!), including Tavern 6330' and Zephyr Lodge, one of the most unique spots is Summit Smokehouse. However, you’ll need a pair of skis or snowboard to access it. That’s because the aptly-named Summit Smokehouse is located atop Northstar’s mountain, 8,6000 feet up, and only accessible via the Backside Express or Comstock Express lifts. However, the reward is a rich, hearty Bloody Mary, featuring an oatmeal stout float and strip of candied bacon to top it off. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better view to enjoy a Bloody Mary around Lake Tahoe.

Summit bloody mary.jpeg


Located in Tahoe City, the Bridgetender is one of my favorite bars around North Lake Tahoe. Here, they are all about the burgers and Bloody Marys, self-proclaimed as the best around Lake Tahoe. At the Bridgetender, like many of the places featured here, you'll find your Bloody Mary topped with a big, beautiful, savory garnish, which can include a big strip of bacon.

It ain't brunch until there's a bloody... #thebt Thanks for the pic @drheinz57

A post shared by Bridgetender Tavern (@tahoebridgetender) on

Squeeze In

While Squeeze In has multiple locations in California and Nevada, the original is in Truckee, where they started selling omelets in 1974. Squeeze In’s signature Bloody Mary, dubbed “The Hail Mary,” is brunch in and of itself. That’s because the one-liter Bloody Mary comes topped with three strips of bacon, half of a grilled cheese sandwich, three pepperoncinis, a stuffed olive, and celery. Nonetheless, if you want more of a classic Bloody Mary, you can go with the house Bloody Mary, garnished with celery, an olive, and lemon wedge.

 Fire Sign Café

Fire Sign Café is a personal favorite breakfast spot of mine, located in Tahoe City, mere feet from North Lake Tahoe’s shoreline. With Fire Sign Café’s Bloody Mary, like most great Bloody Marys, it begins with a fresh, house-made recipe.  While there may not be the big, fancy garnishes that you find in many Bloody Marys, it’s as fresh of a Bloody Mary as you’ll find. Pair it with what’s arguably one of the best breakfasts on Lake Tahoe. 

Southern born and bred, Spencer was bitten by the travel bug at a young age, flying on a plane for the first time at age five and by himself for the first time at seven. While he continues to travel around the world in search for the best whiskey, Spencer now calls Reno home, where his search is for the best cocktail (and first tracks, naturally). He has written about travel, food, and drinks for a number of publications that have included the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Outside Magazine, and Travel + Leisure, just to name a few. See a more candid version of Spencer on his website,, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.