Thanks to Vegas movie moments like the closing speech from Casino, where you see happy families walking in from what appears to be heaven, or that new ad campaign where people are giggling to their coworkers “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” as if it wasn’t a byword for keeping quiet about fucking hookers, somehow this town has been given the reputation of being a fun, innocent place for the whole family. All of that is of course bullshit. Vegas will always be Vegas: Dark, desperate, and seedy. It will never be a safe or fun place for kids—trust me, I was born here. Drinking is the only way to survive a week here. Luckily the city wants you drunk all the time so that you’ll do stupid things like letting your entire life savings ride on a “hunch”, so it’s easy to find yourself shit-faced at some dive at 8 AM ordering another round of hooter-shooters from some dumpy middle-American cocktail waitress in flesh-colored pantyhose. I would have put nice restaurants in this lost week, but let’s face it, if you are coming to party, your budget is exactly the same as anywhere: Cheap. Besides you aren’t going to be eating much anyways… SUNDAY Prepare to lose your mind at the Golden Palm Lounge (3111 W Tropicana). What this place lacks in gaming, it more than makes up for with its David Lynch amputee-party atmosphere. The décor is absolutely hideous and the karaoke is genius. The only drawback is the bartenders are a bit on the retarded side so keep them on their toes. Next, head over to Crazy Horse Too (2476 S Industrial Rd). It’s a strip club, and a damned good one at that, the bottles of Bud are $5.50, but if you are slick enough, you can sneak some in your jacket—be low-pro about it, because the security guards there are very large. There are tons of hot topless women roaming around at all times like it’s Disneyland, but with boobies. Well worth the $20 entry fee for a couple hours considering you can blow that in ten minutes at any casino in town. Speaking of casinos, why not hit one up when you’re done? I’d say it’s about time to go play some games and drink some stiff free drinks at the California Club (12 Ogden Ave). I don’t know if its owners built it over some Hopi graveyard or what, but it’s like a luck nexus for craps and blackjack, so go full-goose, bozo. (By this point you should only be talking in 50s swinger slang, ring-a-ding?) MONDAY When you wake up in the mid-to-late afternoon with a mind-crushing hangover, head to Main Street Station (200 Main St). This is the best buffet downtown: The plates are cheap, the atmosphere is fucking amazing, and they serve all-you-can-drink mimosas. After you eat, go to the bar outside the restaurant (the one in the casino). If you dick around with the video poker your drinks flow free and quickly because you don’t have to wait for the cocktail waitress—the bartender is standing right in front of you! After you’ve had enough Main Street magic, a really good nearby casino is Binion’s Horseshoe (128 E Fremont St). This place was dazzling in its heyday—they had a six-foot-tall horseshoe filled with exactly $1 million and a sign saying, “We will back any bet.” Now it smells like a 25-cent jack shack, but it’s also one of the best examples of old-school Las Vegas still standing. OK, it’s time to see just how high your tolerance is at the most amazing bar in town: Dino’s Lounge (1516 Las Vegas Blvd). This place, Jesus, I can’t say enough great things about this bar. While the rest of Las Vegas is busy trying too hard to razzle-dazzle you, Dino’s doesn’t give a shit in all the right ways. It doesn’t have a casino, but what it does have is a friendly staff, awesome regulars, and the good nature to never cut you off no matter how trashed you are. TUESDAY The Strip is so played out it’s not even funny, but if you made it to Vegas, you should at least check it out for a night. Your best bet is the Barbary Coast Hotel and Casino (3595 Las Vegas Blvd), they have acts with names like “Symmetry” and “Vision” at the casino bar that are so brain-bendingly insane, you could easily sit there all night shooting Bloody Marys out your nose from the laughter. The other great thing about this place is you know where the hell you are at all times—most casinos on the Strip are so enormous and confusing that you get lost trying to leave. This brings me to another point: Never ask casino staff how to get out. They want you to stay, so they’ll be all, “What you want to do is cut right through the casino to the other end, then go left,” and you’ll end up roaming the casino until your feet fall off. Not fair, but that’s Vegas.
A still from Symmetry
WEDNESDAY Terrible’s (4100 Paradise Rd) is actually pretty great, drinks are cheap and there are girls and blah blah blah… actually, you know what? It’s like every other fucking place in town, just fucking awful. What you need to do is head back to…. Dino’s Lounge (1516 Las Vegas Blvd) I’ll say it again, this is the only place in town you can keep your sanity while you drown in the soul-crushing desperation of it all. If I were you I would just stay here, the place is open 24 hours. Fuck, I’ve been there and seen the damn shifts change and the sun come up a few times in a row—it always goes right back down too, big whup. Fuck it, right? You’ve already lost all your money, all of your dumb friends are going to the stupid Hard Rock to lose at the Sid Vicious slot machine, and do you really need to see Courtney Love’s sweat-crusted dress up close? C’mon! Stay at Dino’s, period. OK, there is only one more thing I can recommend to make your week complete, and that’s to leave right now. You know you want to, you’ve seen enough, and chances are you just kept going back and forth from one of these places, to either Dino’s or the Golden Palms, over and over again. Face it man, trip over. You’ve done all you can here, now just try and make it out alive—that’s also a fun one.