I’m not a huge traveler. I came from shit-town, Kentucky and climbed my way to the heights of awesomeness in Brooklyn. New York City has just about anything you could want in any place, so rare is the time that I leave it. When I do, it’s with a mission in mind, be it food (lobster rolls in Maine), friends (wedding in Arkansas), or duty (family in-sigh-Kentucky). But way back in my college days my two best friends were attending college in Las Vegas. So, every spring, I’d go visit them.
And, seriously, fuck Las Vegas. Jesus Christ is there a worst place on the planet? (Other than the internet.) “Oh, but it’s party central, Masked Drinker!” you might be shouting at your screen (your coworkers hate you). No. It is stupid central. “But they have no open container laws!” (Stop shouting.) And, yes, that’s pretty awesome, at least, until you realize that most people in the world have no business drinking so much as to need to take it out from building to building.
Drinking in Las Vegas is a lot like going out to eat on Valentines Day or having pizza in Los Angeles: fucking amateur hour. Screaming morons with retarded novelty cups half-filled with shitty drinks or shittier beers lurching from specially-designed human maze-trap to otherly-themed human maze-traps wasting money that could be used for something useful like curing AIDS, getting me a better phone, or curing phone AIDS.
My friends did the best thing they could possibly have done for me when I first arrived. They picked me up at the airport and drove me straight to some casino. They gave me twenty bucks and let me choose where to spend it. I sat down at a blackjack table and lost it all within ten minutes. Don’t go to casinos in Las Vegas. They are designed to take your money and sense of time away. You might get a free drink or two, but they will taste like they were poured through the sole of your shoe.
It’s not that I mind gambling. Hell, I love poker. (Real poker, not that “Hold ‘Em” bullshit. Poker isn’t an exercise in card counting. Well, not that explicitly. It’s an opportunity to drink and lie with your friends. And sometimes lay with them.) But big casinos are just awful wastes. Also, you inevitably will find yourself faced with a line of elderly people mechanically dropping their savings into slot machines, and I don’t know about you, but pondering the meaninglessness of my own mortality isn’t high up on my AWESOME FUN list.
And casino bars suck. Hell, all theme bars suck. If I may paraphrase Tolstoy in a blog entry about how much Las Vegas sucks, all good bars are similar; but each shitty theme bar is shitty in its own themey way. Again, I lucked out as I had locals, or local-enoughs to be able to be hooked up with a normal bar filled with normal people who actually knew how to drink. It’s the only place, other than peoples’ apartments, I’ve happily been drinking in Las Vegas and I don’t mind telling you what it is. It’s called the Stake Out. Now, this was back in college so maybe it’s too college-y for me now, but I never had less than a good time there.
I’d like to take this time to anti-recommend a bar in Las Vegas, now that I think of it. There’s a Cheers branch there, and one friend and I went to see what it was like. HOLY SHIT IT WAS AWFUL. You’d think the most famous bar license in the world would have a bit of quality control. It was a horrible little hellhole with only two people other than us in it: the bartender and a customer, both with long, curly hair. We found the juke and played some early Van Halen and dude turned it off. He had the audacity to purport Santana was a better guitarist. Suffice to say the night ended with us throwing bottles in a rage and scooting on out.
That’s what Las Vegas is like. It brings out the retarded in you. Sometimes that’s funny, or at least is in retrospect. There was the time we semi-accidentally Cool Hand Luked a college parking lot; an epic story filled with danger, superhuman feats of strength, and a miraculous shopping cart. Unfortunately, even masked, I don’t think it’s the best idea to share it online, but let’s just say mistakes were made and we’re all very lucky to be where we are today.
So I guess I’ve had good times in Las Vegas. But it should be noted said good times were had with the people I had good times with in the middle of nowhere, Appalachia, so that may have just been the company. Go if you have to. Maybe it’s an experience people need. And you won't do so badly if you get some locals and get away from the strip. But understand that it’s going to be a weird, depressing experience filled with the lowest thoughts and deeds mankind has to offer at the moment. And that at one point you’re going to be totally wasted, carrying someone’s booze through a shortcut that takes you through a loud casino, and all the sudden you’re going to realize what Hunter was really talking about.
Images stolen yadda yadda. I'm just happy I remembered how to do roll-over text.