For my last trip to Vegas, I decided to look beyond the flashing and blinking lights of Sin City and really rate this town. Sorry, the blinking lights of Vegas are about as close to Christmas as you’re going to get here at the Discord. The biggest hurdle to my destination came in the form of a brewpub, the Boiler Room, in Laughlin, Nevada. This pub, constructed like the bowels of a giant ship, had a sign out front that read: Thirsty Thursdays: All Drafts 1 Dollar. It happened to be Thursday and I was, in fact, thirsty. Hmmmm. I opened my wallet and implemented an old college equation. A dollar a beer, so if I have eighty-dollars in my wallet…then that means I have…er, carry the one…a shit load of beer!
Wow. This place is so much more inviting than the other sign that says: Crab Cakes and Karaoke. The stout at the Boiler Room was very good, and did I mention it was only a dollar? Shortly into my trip, my plan to stop at three (and only three) places and partake in three (and only three) pints had already been completely blown out of the water (but only off by 77). In fact, the beer was so good and so cheap, I considered staying there until Happy Thursday slipped painfully back into F-ing $3.75 a Pint Friday. The dark time period known to the locals as Crappy Hour.
The back of this ship-shaped pub offered a nice view of the wrinkled mountains to the east. The rocks around Laughlin are more interesting than the landscape around Vegas (as far as rocks go). It was hard to leave. What helped my decision was the bartender’s suggestion, “Get the hell out, asshole.”
Actually, that was the first bar. So, with a heavy heart and bloated liver, I drove the forty-five minutes northward to Boulder City. The old town area had a nice wine bar and specialty beer shop with indoor and outdoor seating, a coffee shop/bar combo, a brewpub, and several other interesting joints. At the brewpub, the Black Canyon Shitty Stout was somehow masterfully brewed back into something resembling dark H20. The outdoor seating and the service brought the place up a notch (thankfully). But I did not try any of the other beers out of a healthy fear.
The town itself did seem to have a chip on its shoulder, as the main reason for the town’s existence, Boulder Dam, was no longer called Boulder—thanks to one of our worst presidents ever. The Bite Me Hoover Diner kind of spelled it out for me.
My last stop brought me to Barley’s Casino and Brewpub in Henderson—so close to Vegas you can smell it. In the same way ‘In Bed’ can be added to any fortune cookie fortune, Nevada has discovered anything can be paired with ‘And Casino.’ Apparently, even at rest stops, massage parlors, and laundromats. Smog Busters and Casino should be coming soon. Vegas is like a 50’s horror movie: It Came with Blinking Lights. At Barley’s I ordered a double bock and, I have to say, it was the best double bock I’ve had in some time. Somehow I managed to procure an outlet and a table, blissfully free of any blinking gaming thingies. This is a scarcity in Vegas and, for my trouble, the security people immediately started profiling me.
Ah, he’s sitting at the table without any games…yeah, pretty seedy-looking. Doesn’t seem to be eyeing the scantily clad women or any of the flashing lights. Should I apprehend?
Who works on their laptop in Vegas? It’s a red flag the size of the Stratosphere.
Sorry folks, but I have a laptop and I’m not afraid to use it. Of course, I couldn’t get online. The state of Nevada, or as I have come to call it ‘connection problem’, has serious Wi-Fi issues. Apparently, Nevada is an old Pauite Indian term meaning “connectivity issues.” You see, way back when, Vegas had cheap everything just to lure you in to gamble—like a sequin-covered spider web. Now, it’s top dollar for even Wi-Fi. Bastards!
Hey, a cigar shop! Why not?
I pulled into the store that said SMOKES/CIGARS. Walking across the parking lot, I realized this was not the best neighborhood. Hey, this joint is more about joints than cigars. They had glass blown bongs of all shapes and sizes. Their store facade should have said Reefer and Smokes. For a necessary visual aid, the Ghetto Shaman should have been passed out in the doorway. Then I would have gotten the message sooner. Next to no cigars adorned their skull-bong filled cases. In this store, under the big red sign that read CIGARS, I had about four choices. If I wanted a Swisher Sweet, dude, I’d have gone to the Circle K!
This misunderstanding tonight is the single most poignant argument for the legalization of marijuana. With proper legislation, next time I won’t stop at the Garcia Palace when I am really looking for Humidor Heaven.
I looked around and immediately saw another cigar shop about a block away. Cool. This town is gaining some points. I decided to walk it. As I approached the sign in question a sinking feeling crept upon me. Bald Tony rarely has running water. Then came a second, perhaps even more disturbing, thought, the sign over yonder was for the same cigar shop that I had just left.
SMOKES/CIGARS…you know, Reefer and Smokes.
As I walked back—the walk of shame—several groups of thuggy types were heading toward me when the startling realization crept upon me that: 1) I had more money in my wallet than usual (>5); 2) I should have drank more at the Boiler Room; and 3) if I were to die here on the way back to my car while walking toward the sign of the place that I had just left…well, it was then I realized:
I do not have nearly the insight one would expect for a person my age.
I survived. The thugs were probably intimidated by my Batman T. I was early, so I decided to hit one more place right by Bald Tony’s. After making it back to my Impala, I pulled out my trusty Tom Tom and proceeded to make a nearly fatal mistake. Never-ever search ‘Nightlife’ in Las Vegas on any GPS device. Really. Don’t. The bitch actually started smoking.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to hit one more place before the Great Bald One gets off his shift. So far Vegas rates an 8. The scale, however, has yet to be determined…