Meet Your Merchant: From builder to bar owner
Bob Schmitt opened his bar on Highway 50 as a way to keep busy. In the year-and-a-half since, it has become a full-time job.
He said he came to Carson City in the mid 1990s with $1,500 in his pocket. He worked weekends to start a construction business and said he built millions of dollars worth of buildings. The bar, at 4750 Highway 50, was supposed to be his hobby after that stint, but the economy forced it to be something more.
“That’s what happens to builders when they hit my age,” the 52-year-old said. “They do something new.”
He said he bought the bar, now named the Schmitt House, because its prior iteration had been one of his favorite haunts for more than a decade, even though it was “the worst possible time to do so.”
Schmitt said he set out to clean it up by stripping it of its charm, fixing the bathrooms and the interior. Managing it? He wasn’t worried.
“I’ve been in enough bars to know how to manage one,” he said, flashing a grin. He added later, “you think everything is simple until you get started.”
He and his wife run the place day to day, he said. They’ve hired help and thrown events – including one that cost it its catering license after the sheriff’s department ruled it was used to throw a concert catering to gang members.
Schmitt argues that description and the ruling. He said he tries to take care of his customers, going as far as to call cabs or personally give rides home to those who over-indulged.
“It’s not worth it,” Schmitt said. “If they drive out of here and get hurt or kill somebody, is it really worth a cab fare?”
He said he doesn’t allow discrimination of any kind in his bar either – “if I hear of discrimination, I kick ’em out,” he said – and fighting is an instant boot also.
He said he’s looking to add to his bar’s appeal of near-nightly karaoke, DJs and football also by adding a karaoke competition and, eventually, barbecue. But as it is now, his bar still gives him something to do.
“These places, they take a lot of your time,” he said. But, “you meet a lot of good people.”
Schmitt House Bar
The bar offers a pool table, nightly karaoke and the occasional DJ.
HOURS: Open 5 p.m. to close most days; opens earlier for Sunday football and events.
ADDRESS: 4750 Highway 50, Carson City