Vegas 1.0 - April 2003
So after a five year boycott of Las Vegas, I returned to the city that I have visited twice before. The first time I was 11 years old and spent most of my time at the arcade at the Circus Circus. The second time was in July of 1998, which was the summer of the locusts in Vegas.
My 1998 trip to Vegas is still in my mind as if it was yesterday. Doubled up on my daily fix of Del Taco on the drive from L.A. to Vegas, but its Del Taco how can you not stop? Got into town and found a place to stay across the street from the MGM and New York, NY. Drs. Bhatt and Sweatmoore spent less than 24 hours in the place and left screaming for all you can eat Japanese food at Rockin’ Sushi on Hermosa Beach. But before we left we did experience the locust invasion in full effect, which one hooker told us was killing her business and making it hard to support her child. Needless to say we put nothing towards her child’s future fund, but the conversation was plenty funny. It was hot as hell too, but it was Vegas in July. I personally must have killed over 500K locusts in 24 hours. I take fully responsibility for being a stupid ass and for forcing us to go to Vegas. As hot and locust infested as it was, we managed to find a good bar in the New York, NY hotel that we didn’t hate, but it was no Double Down Saloon.
About two months ago I took another trip to Vegas. The locals I spoke to still remember the locust invasion of 1998. This time to I went to see if The Double Down Saloon lived up to its reputation, and see if Heidi was really going to get married. I told her my friend from Vegas, Bison was getting married in Honolulu, and she should get married in Hawaii. She told me, her next wedding will be in Hawaii!
I arrived in Vegas on Friday night. I planned on trying to get into town earlier, but I was the Foreman for the Grand Jury in NYC and was getting paid $40 per day. Given how long I haven’t been working that is really good money. I made some friends at NYC’s LaGuardia airport. These guys were going out to Vegas for a bachelor party weekend. I wanted to buy the Victim In Pain a drink on the plane, but he was medicated and couldn’t drink. What a terrible way to spend your last days.
So I planned on going to The Double Down Saloon Friday night, but I hadn’t made plans with any one and Heidi called and told me on my way to the strip from the airport to meet her at the bar at The Paris Hotel. When I get to The Paris bar, the only people left are Heidi’s friends from high school. We make some conversation and agree that they should go gambling at the casino and I should pay a visit to The Double Down Saloon.
I approach The Double Down Saloon from Paradise St. I get a very bad feeling. No good bar is ever located in the corner of a strip mall. I try the door and it is locked. I feel a little better. I walk around to the other side. I see two things that make me happy – a parking lot full of cars and a sign above the place that says, “The Happiest Place On Earth.”
When a place claims to be the Happiest Place On Earth I have to go in. After spending an evening at The Double Down Saloon, I would change only one thing. For reasons of accuracy, the sign should say, “The Happiest Place In Vegas.”
As it turns out, this may be one of the best bars in Vegas. I met a lot of kool people. One of the guys I met there had just come from The Beastie Boy’s Jam Master Jay Benefit show. He said when he walked in and Run-DMC were on stage and tearing the place a part. I drank many quality beers for $3 a bottle, which included Newcastle Brown Ale, LaBatt’s Blue, and St. Pauli Girl’s Dark. I also partook of the house drink, Ass Juice – Outa’ Our Ass Inta Your Glass. Not that great, unless you enjoy Hawaiian Punch and Vodka.
Given the fact that this place is open 24 hours a day you should know a few things before you visit. Don’t get there before midnight, the place is empty. Make sure you spend at least $5 dollars on the juke box – it has the best juke box I have seen in a while. For $3 I got 16 songs, for $5 you can probably get 30 songs. I played songs that were so buried in the juke box that the regulars at the bar were asking where I found particular songs. That is how good the juke box is – I was happily playing songs and get props from the locals for spotting the songs they didn’t know were in there and they have been drinking there for years. Never a lost classic, I started off my rotation with The Dead Boy's Sonic Reducer! I tried to play Frustration, Tragedy and Lies by The Lazy Cowgirls, but got some other song instead. Gotta like any juke box that has the Operation Ivy CD.
I recently met the guy who runs The Double Down in NYC. I was at Three Of Cups in NYC and wearing my Deuce Bar t-shirt, the best bar in South Beach Miami. This guy stops me and says, “That is a great bar!” I respond, “The Deuce Bar is to Miami Beach as The Double Down is to Las Vegas.” He responds, “I run The Double Down.” I got his business card and sure enough he runs The Double Down.
Recently I saw on Comedy Central, Dave Attell and his show “Insomniac” went to Vegas and went to The Double Down Saloon and had a great time and got many women to show their breasts for his show. For the record, I never saw any bare breasts while I was there. I also saw Dave Attell and his show “Insomniac” when they were in South Miami Beach at my favorite bar on South Beach Miami “The Deuce Bar.” Unfortunately, they didn’t show my favorite characters, neither Jim’s hot girlfriend, nor the guy with one leg and a crutch. Nothing is funnier than a guy who has to hop while taking his shot on the pool table. Even funnier is running into the bartender from The Deuce Bar in an alley in South Miami Beach at 6AM, just because that is how Miami Beach works.
Saturday I hooked up with Ron to get some lunch and then walked around the Strip a bit. Eventually, I went over to The Paris and met up with the rest of the people there for the wedding. The ceremony was nice and short, followed by drinks at the bar, a reception at one of the restaurants in The Paris and finally drinks and gambling at The Paris. Sunday was spent much like Saturday, checking out the Strip, eating dinner at Del Monico’s Steakhouse with who ever was still around from the wedding followed by drinking at Bally’s.
Monday night I was flying the red-eye back to NYC and figured the best way to spend my last hours in Vegas was drinking beers outside all day. Nothing like walking down the street on a sunny day drinking a beer, it was reminiscent of the days when Mayor Dinkins did nothing in NYC. By the time I got to the airport I was pretty loaded, which made sleeping on the flight a lot easier.
|Sudden Death Publications (c) 2003|