What Really Happens in Vegas
Today’s Brew: Protein shake with banana, blueberries, and pineapples. Time to get serious again.
Locals don’t hang out on the Strip. In fact, they do everything they can to avoid the snaking traffic, long lines, cover charges, fifteen dollar drinks, and mid westerners trying to live the dream for the weekend. The only reason to go to the Strip if you live in Vegas is to make money or bring the inevitable never ending parade of house guests down to see the sights.
I never developed the a hatred for Las Vegas Boulevard as many of my friends in the city did. I grew up in a town that bans neon. I am neon deficient. My bones needed to soak up the glow. I learned the back ways to everywhere I wanted to go and went to the places who let local ladies in for free. Local women are a rare, exotic creature to vacationers partying in Vegas. Clubs use them to perpetuate the myth of their existence. Many people who just visit for the weekend don’t realize that there is a real live city beyond the playground, one that much resembles Phoenix. We have normal lives and jobs. Not all local women are whores, strippers, or cocktail waitresses. But it doesn’t stop any any guy who finds out that you actually live there from assuming so. I got invited to be the guest of honor at more bachelor parties than I can count. I always declined. You can pay a professional for that shit, boys.
Most nights, my friends and I wound up at a comfortable dive bar miles from the Strip. All bars in Las Vegas proper are a little seedy and dangerous, at least everyone that I ever went to. And I think that is a good thing! Most of them aren’t all that crowded, and drinks are dirt cheap. I quickly learned that me and dollar draft are bitter enemies. Bars are really open 24 hours a day and you can really drink all 24 of those hours. Or we would just go to a restaurant, or hang out at someone’s apartment. Or even just stay home, watch TV, and go to bed early. Just like you do in Iowa.
My favorite bar experience in Vegas was going to The Boston to watch Patriots games. Every NFL team had their own “home” bar. The first week of the season, the newspaper would print a list of which bars affiliated themselves with your team. Patriots attire was a must. The cool kids got the obscure new player shirts sent from the Pro Shop. We’d gather starting in the 8 AM hour most Sundays. Someone would bring Dunkin’ Donuts coffee ordered from home (and I would actually drink it, times have changed), and we’d pass printouts of the latest Red Sox news back and forth on the bar. Everyone was from somewhere in New England, and for a few hours, we were home. Once the game started, (usually at 10 AM), many of us switched to booze and bar food and cheered our boys on. James, the bartender from the same street I lived on Cape Cod, would make us shots for every touchdown. The Patriots won the Super Bowl that year, so we did a lot of shots. If you’re on vacation in Vegas during football season, I highly recommend watching your team play with the locals. It’s almost as good as actually being at the game.
Otherwise, we’d go see bands play at our seedy bars. Hairbands love Vegas. It’s cheaper than LA and you can drift back and forth easily. Rock and Roll lurks everywhere in the dark recesses of the city. The best place for that was on the East Side, a bar called The Tailspin, where hasbeens and never wases congregated to party the night away.
Most of the nightlife action in Immortal Dilemma does take place on the Strip. That is by design. Tristan is a performer on the Strip and lives there, Dave works in a bar on the Strip. You will notice that when Blade takes Callie out, they hardly ever go to the Strip. In Immortal Forever, as Callie becomes more entrenched as a local, I will move some of the action to where the locals like to play. But until then, enjoy the ride.