Reno Club Cal-Neva Casino Review
While strolling through downtown Reno, it’s absolutely impossible to miss Club Cal-Neva. Not to be confused with the Tahoe resort of the same name, this joint was opened in 1962, making it one of the oldest establishments in Reno, and a crucial player in the city’s history. Unfortunately, all that glory is long gone. The first thing any visitors will notice is the retro look of the exterior. The entire building, especially the signs, look to be sixty years old – well, that’s because they are. And the place has not aged gracefully. The building is fairly dirty, there are often letters out on the neon surrounding the building, and the two parking garages are typically empty.
The property doesn’t have a whole lot of non-gambling attractions. A few meager restaurants dot the facility, and I can tell you first-hand that the grill, serving basic American fare, is complete rubbish. The only “show” currently being promoted is the “Bikini Baby Oil Throwdown,” which may be entertaining, but certainly lacks a certain sense of class. The Club is also promoting $1 Bud and Bud Light (which, to clarify for any British readers, is American swill – it makes Carling taste like Guinness). This is mildly entertaining, because it’s common knowledge that all you have to do is sit at the penny slots, occasionally pull the handle, and get free drinks, anyway, and without being limited to Budweiser!
But the casino is the clincher. I’ve walked by Club Cal-Neva for years without going inside, but I always pictured it as a haven for the older generation, the ones that saw Sinatra in concert with Dean Martin, full of vintage lighting, an old-timey stage, and maybe even a few peacock feathers here and there. You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered nothing more than a small, dimly lit room, with about ten octogenarians sitting quietly at their slot machines. Two of the six or so tables were open, both Texas Hold ‘Em, and there was one bored-looking casino manager staring into space.
After promptly walking back outside, however, I discovered that Club Cal-Neva has two casino floors! So, I crossed the street and entered the main casino. This was an exact duplicate of the room I had just left, with the exception of a few more tables, a few more patrons, and the addition of a “dance floor” that might be able to hold 3 couples swaying gently.
Needless to say, Club Cal-Neva is not the place I thought it would be. As far as the larger establishments go, this is the absolute worst Reno has to offer. Maybe you could get a cheap room, but why go for just-plain-awful when you can get a mediocre room down the street for $10 more? Reno may not be Las Vegas, but it definitely has much better than Club Cal-Neva.
Written by Kenny Stoneman in March, 2014.