For the next time you 1) wanna know what summer actually feels like, and 2) wanna day drink your ass off, Zipcar your way over to Lake Tahoe and park it at one of these: Tahoe's 16 lakefront bars.
(FYI: a bunch of these spots are seasonal, so do your due diligence and make sure they’re open, otherwise you’ll pull your boat up to the pier and there won’t be anyone there to valet it for you -- and that’s no way to live life.)
South Lake Tahoe Camp Richardson is a lakeside resort in South Lake with a beachside bar and grill. Take a water taxi or pull your boat up in its marina, then order its famous Rum Runner while you enjoy live music on the deck from 1-5pm on almost every day throughout summer.
Homewood One of the best places to drink in North Lake, period, Chambers is also the oldest bar in Tahoe, even though it always has the youngest (and rowdiest) crowd. There’s a pier and moorings for easy boat docking. Just go easy on the Chambers Punch if you’re captain for the day ‘cause that stuff is no joke.
Tahoe City You can bring your dog if you’re planning to sit on the lawn at this low-key grill that’s located near the Tahoe City Marina. The covered porch has stunning views of the lake that look even better when you’re enjoying tri-tip and ribs fresh off the grill, plus a cold beer (or something from the full bar).
Carnelian Bay Park your dingy at the public pier (or nearby moorings) and then get a seat on Gar Woods’ very popular waterfront deck. The food isn’t cheap (fish tacos will run ya $18), but drinking a Wet Woody at one of North Lake's best damn places to drink should be on your boozy bucket list, so suck it up (literally) and just enjoy the day, checking account be damned.
Tahoe City To get to Hacienda, you have to walk into the Boatworks Mall and up the stairs. But once you’re sitting outside on the deck taking in the view of the lake and sipping reasonablypriced margaritas, you’ll totally forget you’re in a weird mountain town shopping center. Park your boat at the Tahoe City Marina if you didn’t car/bike/walk/Razor scooter over.
Tahoe City You’ll probably have to order food if you want to enjoy the marina views from Jake’s deck, but there’s a full bar inside and they’ll happily let you take your drinks outside to enjoy on the waterfront lawn. Dock your boat at the Tahoe City Marina. It’s just a short walk.
South Lake Tahoe This BBQ joint is located right on Lakeside Beach (within walking distance of Heavenly Village) and overlooks the lake. It doesn’t serve liquor, but its beer menu ain’t too shabby and with a view like that, you really don’t need the hard stuff to be happy. Pro tip: get the Pickle Fries.
Tahoe City Located at the end of the Grove Street Pier, Moe’s has outdoor seating and lakefront views from every single table. Plus, it has really good meat. Like, really, really, really good meat, all of which goes really well with the 12 craft beers it has on draft (or a drink from its full bar). Don’t feel like staying off the boat too long? It has ready-to-go boat picnic coolers packed full of ‘cue and more.
Incline Village Pier 111 Bar is at the end of a 275ft floating dock, so you’re literally suspended over Lake Tahoe while you enjoy cocktails, sunshine, and one of the best views in the world. You can pull right up to the dock and just hand your keys to the valet and you’ll be sipping on a cold one in no time at all.
Tahoe City In the summer, it’s all about the SandBar at Christy Hill. There’s something a little magical about this spot -- tables are tucked into multi-tiered nooks and surrounded by foliage. But don’t let the romantic vibe fool you, ‘cause the best thing to order is the Sausage Feast ($27) and a reasonably priced (for Tahoe, anyway) beer ($5-$6). Plus, there’s boat access via the Tahoe City Marina, which is just a short walk away.
West Shore There’s a reason Sunnyside made our list of Best Bars in California, and that’s because its deck is one our favorite places to kick back in the summer with a Sunnyside Margarita or a Hendrick’s Cucumber Breeze. Plus, it has a guest dock, which is like valet for your (friend's dad's) boat. You’re soooo fancy.
Zephyr Cove Just steps from the beach, the Sunset Bar & Grille is the perfect place to cool off with a frozen drink. You can also rent a beach chair and umbrella and have a server come directly to you.
Homewood The West Shore Café is another one of our summer favorites thanks to the friendly staff, killer martinis, boat valet that ferries you between your boat and the dock, and the fact that you can drink and dine, not just on the deck, but on its private pier. Life is good. Life is really, really good.
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Daisy Barringer a freelance writer who lives in San Francisco, but often wishes she lived in Tahoe. Follow her on Twitter @daisy and tell her where you’d live if you could.