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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

There's Snow Place Like Vegas

For all my love of all things Vegas, and all things football, I had somehow never been The Big Game in our favorite place before. How? How could this happen? The time had come.

Prop bets at the Westgate Sportsbook 
Honey, I'm home.

First, I had to earn it.
Oh I’m passing through, alright.
The weather cleared as I got to Denver. The westbound I-70 traffic was backed up and barely crawling (heh, much like yours truly at 4 am on Fremont Street) for about 12 miles.
One little Hercules... one little nap on an on-time Spirit Me Away flight, and blammo, I was back in 70 degree sunny Vegas.
Sunshine on the Boulevard
It had been a full 2 months (almost) since I had been in Vegas. And I was Jonesin’ baby.

First stop, the Hard Rock, to meet up with my buddy Bender who had landed several hours and several drinks before me. Oh, Hard Rock. With all the rumors of its sale to Virgin and probable transformation from Rock Goddess to Regular Goddess, nostalgia pulled at my Vegas heart strings. I had to go.

Well, plus that’s where Bender was.

Bender on a bender. At noon.
Bender bent over a VP machine at the Smashbar. Our usual meet-up had always been Center bar. Bender and I relived a thousand happy Hard Rock moments. The best involved two Germans in actual Lederhosen joining us on an impromptu party bus that our buddy Amber’s boyfriend magically had appear. It took 20 of us to Spearmint Rhino, where the same boyfriend bought us all two lap dances. Afterward, my roommate at the Hard Rock Harmon tower and disappeared with the Germans for two days. They kept in touch through broken English emails until the Spell of the Lederhosen eventually faded.

“Yeah, but when is the last time you actually stayed here?” Bender asked me, breaking the reveries of our shared memory (lapses).

“Um,” I said. “Probably 8 years.”

“See?” he said.


I dropped Bender off at Mandalay Bay, then went to Ellis Island of Misfit Toys, where an #Oceans14XL Superbowl meet up craps throw down was underway. Usually I only go to EIoMT when I’m in the mood to collect piles of coupons flung at me through an ATM-gone-bonkers-like kiosk that sound so enticing, but I know I’ll never use. Free Uber ride to the airport! Free T shirt! Meh. I already have a ride and shirt, Uncle Ellis, but thanks, anyway.

The craps table was hopping, and I added $150 to my $20 win at Ye Olde Hard Rock Smashbar while having a beer with Bender. Yippee!

Internet-famous Eric Rosenthal and Julian Romero of the Vegas Confessions podcast. 

For all my love of having no plans, the meet ups with the hodgepodge gang of #Oceans14XL is worth it. They are bunch of Vegasphiles who are just happy, inclusive, smart, funny, and have a lovely “more the merrier” vibe. Check them out on in the Twittersphere, and consider joining in on one or more of their next events. It’s come and go, as you want. Just like Vegas itself

Next up, drinks at Park downtown with friends who had finally arrived in town for the Big Game from Vail.

On Par at Park
Park is right at Fremont and LV Blvd, across from the Heart Attack Grill and Worlds Scariest Bus stop. It’s lovely, irreverent, funny and highly recommended.

Totally did it. OK, I didn't. Too scared.
Park features delish items to put in your mouth, like the waiter-recommended and guest blogger approved Twigs and Berries drink. I loved the feeling of Twigs and Berries rolling around in my mouth. Refreshing.


Next stop, Downtown Cocktail Room across Fremont Street with the Vail gang.

This little part of Fremont is rich in bathroom wonders. At the Downtown Cocktail Room, the walls and doors of the stalls are all mirrored glass, and it took an Alice in Wonderland worthy adventure to find my way back out again. The Downtown Cocktail Room has a notoriously difficult entrance to find. You have to push on a wall of copper plated-looking wall, which gives way and let you in. Or just follow your group of friends.

Conjuring up drink magic at Downtown Cocktail Room

Next up, a band everyone should go check out on his/her next trip: Dollface, at the Rush Lounge at the Golden Nougat. First, I lined up behind the velvet ropes before being allowed to enter a manned elevator that took us one floor up to the new Troy’s Liquor Bar.

The view from Troy’s over Fremont was fabulous, indeed.

I can see the Cal from here!
Troy’s itself was an empty, well-lit wasteland, much like its predesscor Gold Digger was. Back down the first floor, we found ourselves at the rockin’ Dollface show.

Crystal rockin' the Dollface bass
#newfavoritething at the Golden Nougat
Dollface features four women from four countries (Sweden, Japan, Mexico and Florida) is the only all-girl band in Vegas. More importantly, their music abilities eclipse many other live bands I’ve heard. They play a thousand different covers, while looking and sounding like I think I do after somebody turns on Guitar Hero after too many beers. They play live and long, for four hours that Sat. night.

My buddy Bender joined us at Dollface for a little while, but like the Hard Rock’s old school pull, he left us to go rock out to Spandex Nation (at the Golden Gate!) We all ended up dancing into the wee hours. We ended some strange strip mall after hours dance party west of the strip, where I became aware of the time. Three AM. My parents’ plane would land in 4.5 hours. Ohhhh, buddy.

Uber’d back to Ye Olde Hawaiian Senior Citizen Center, and tucked myself in. For as much as I love to spend time alone, wandering the vagaries of Vegas solo, this 70-degree sunny Saturday had been a truly epic, only-in-Vegas day. And night. Maybe it’s not a five-day vacay. It’s just one long, happy day.


    1. Welcome back.

      I've logged 220 some IPAs of all styles into my Untapped account and I can't believe I've never had Hercules. Oh well.

      1. Have you tried Melvin, from Wyoming? It's amazing.

      2. Not yet. We don't get anything from Wyoming down here in Ft. Worth....yet.


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