Last call for Truckee’s icon of imbibing | SierraSun.com

Last call for Truckee’s icon of imbibing

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra SunBartender Brian Dinneen places a drink on Kim Guralnik's tray at Bar of America Wednesday afternoon. Dinneen is retiring after working at the bar for 30 years.
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Truckee bar flies and newcomers are getting misty-eyed, preparing to say goodbye today to a longtime local therapist, philosopher and friend.

Brian Dinneen, veteran Truckee bartender, is calling it quits after three decades of serving up adult beverages at Bar of America. And his regular customers are none too happy to see him retire.

“It’s just not going to be the same without him,” said Truckee resident Jeff Beaubien, who’s been swapping tales over tall ones with Dinneen since 1982. “He pays attention to business. You never have to ask for a drink ’cause he’s always right there to fill your glass. He’s a good listener and he’s good with the tourists ” to a point.”

That same sentiment was echoed over and over from the men and women who have come to know and befriend the 61-year-old since he began pouring at the B of A in 1977.

“He’s great. He’s my best girlfriend,” said Moody’s bartender Sherry Jewell. “And he’s loyal. I can tell him anything and he always gives me the right advice.”

But Dinneen said he’s not going far, so his sweet goodbye won’t be too bitter.

Truckee is his home, he said, and he has no plans to leave. He’ll just do nothing for a while, he said, and maybe play some golf in the spring.

Bartending can make for a good time, but it doesn’t often lend itself to rest and relaxation, especially with the likes of Tahoe locals spinning yarns and dragging in their crazy antics.

“I remember when the [Railroad Regulators 601] first went in (Bar of America), it was the first place we’d ever gone in dressed as gun fighters, said Dennis Cook, Truckee resident and Railroad Regulator who has been a customer of Dinneen’s for 28 years. “We sat down, pulled out a deck of cards, and sat our six-guns on the table. Brian sat there like Cool Hand Luke and didn’t even bat an eye. That guy’s made out of stone.”

Dinneen said he’s seen and heard some crazy things in his years behind the bar.

“People don’t just come in to drink,” Dinneen said. “They come to talk, and I know more about a lot of people’s sex lives than I care to know.”

He’s even met the likes of some pretty interesting people.

“There’ve been some characters come through here …” Dinneen said. “[T]he manager of Mustang Ranch and the mayor of Reno; Clint Eastwood still shows up occasionally, and Billy Martin, the baseball manager.”

It’s been a good run, Dinneen said, and he can’t count the number of memorable night’s he’s spent behind the bar.

“On a slow day, Brian would call me up at the T-club and I would call the bartenders over at the Pastime and we would shake dice over the phone,” said Ron Rettig, former manager of the Tourist Club.

And it’s for just that reason that Bar of America owner Ed Coleman said that the bartender to replace Dinneen will have to be awfully good at dice.