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He’ll Sleep When He’s Dead: A Live, Pictorial Journey Into The Madness

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by DockEllis, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. DockEllis

    DockEllis Tourist

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    Location:
    Inglewood, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    My Trip Report

    Join me as I wind myself up and let momentum carve my path through the desert as I try and escape the grip of the black hole that is Las Vegas.

    First order of business is to explore the surreal 24/7 dive bars of Vegas on a hot August Wednesday morning. What will we learn from the characters inhabiting the dark corners of these colloquial American establishments?

    “You expect far too much of a first sentence. Think of it as analogous to a good country breakfast: what we want is something simple, but nourishing to the imagination.”
    - Larry McMurtry

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  2. NittyOne

    NittyOne Low-Roller

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    Nice write up I’m in.
     
  3. DockEllis

    DockEllis Tourist

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    Where else to start my dive bar crawl than the world famous Double Down Saloon. Along the way I snapped some photos of The Strip and Allegiant Stadium under construction.

    The only other patron at the bar was almost literally crawling from one dive bar to another as he did not believe in public transportation. He flew to Vegas from Reno last night and claimed to have already walked 12 miles today and was off to Office Bar next. With a flight out of town in 4 hours he better start his trek towards McCarran after his next round. I offered to take him on my journey with me but he said he wouldn’t be able to make it to the airport on time without breaking his rule of riding in a car.

    The music at Double Down did not disappoint. “Dia De Los Muertos” by Rezurex really got my adrenaline flowing. The only way I would be let down here is if I needed to take a shit. The bartender and I discussed a mainstay music venue in my home town that he loves and he gave me a couple of recommendation for bars in town I wasn’t planning on diving into. Before I left he told me I should come back at 10 PM for “Franks & Deans Weenie Roast”.

    I think I will walk next door to The Grove dispensary to stock up on some marijuana products. After that it’s time to continue my dive bar escapade.


    There's a dancehall there
    Where the sick folks go
    Like the olden days on the Barbary Coast
    There's a barefoot child playing in the rain
    You can sell your wares even if they're hot
    In the great bizarre or the parking lot
    Cause it takes a while to know who to blame
    I might have a taste cause the first one's free
    And the checkout girl's got a thing for me
    And they're both as sweet as the day is long

    I don't wanna feel stuck, baby
    I just wanna get drunk before noon

    I don't mind my head when there's room to dream
    Feel like Paul Gauguin painting breadfruit trees
    In some far off place where I don't belong
    Tried to lose myself in the primitive
    In Yosemite like John Muir did
    But his eyes were blue and mine are red and raw
    'Cause the modern world is a sight to see
    It's a stimulant, it's pornography
    It takes all my will not to turn it off

    I don't want you to feel sad, baby
    I take everything back, I swear I do

    ‘Cause once all the friends I had
    Have used me up and left
    I bet you hang around
    I bet you'll hang around awhile

    - Conor Oberst, “Barbary Coast (Later)”

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  4. bdautch

    bdautch VIP Whale

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    Between your style and your user name, I'm fully on board as well.
     
  5. DockEllis

    DockEllis Tourist

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    After two drinks at Double Down Saloon I walked next door to The Grove dispensary. A doorman checks your ID and then a receptionist holds on to your ID and puts you in a queue. The waiting room has a menu on TV screens for you to look over while you wait.

    Once your turn is up you are called back by a “budtender” who hands you back your ID. They ask you what you are interested in and then guide you thru the process. I bought some edibles, pre rolled joints, and vaporizer pens. I spent a few minutes talking to two girls who were visiting Vegas for their first time and were staying at Hard Rock. They sure seemed excited to be able to legally buy marijuana. They also commented on how it didn’t feel hot out because of the low humidity. After only 10 minutes I am out the door and ready to head to the next dive bar.

    “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.”
    - Hunter S. Thompson

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  6. fabriano

    fabriano Low-Roller

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    I'm on board, too. Oh my! Dock Ellis!!! Being from PICKSburgh, I remember Dock so well. Talk about a colorful character. Keep it going....
     
  7. NittyOne

    NittyOne Low-Roller

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    TD?
     
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  8. DockEllis

    DockEllis Tourist

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    Next up we head a couple of miles east down Tropicana Avenue to The Dispensary Lounge. Open since 1976, originally as “Ye Old Dispensary,” the gambling lounge has no affiliation with marijuana.

    Instead, the owners have been slinging alcohol with their current slogan “Your Prescription for Fun for Over 50 Years!” People used to show up on horseback, leaving quite the mess outside for the owners to clean up.

    Now it’s a gamblers hall with multi game bar tops (poker, keno, and slots), a kitchen that supposedly makes killer burgers, and a Jazz Club a few days of the week.

    There’s even a water wheel on the stage that was custom made for the bar years ago. The icing on the cake is the carpeted floor that begged me to take my shoes and socks off. After sharing jokes and stories with a few locals and watching people come and go eating lunch I now remember why I wanted to explore the dive bars of Las Vegas. Next up is what @NittyOne guessed!


    “You're only as young as the last time you changed your mind.”
    - Timothy Leary

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  9. zerofan

    zerofan VIP Whale

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    I already love this TR.
     
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  10. NittyOne

    NittyOne Low-Roller

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    Wow Dispensary is kind of creepy, like drinking at Grandmas house.
     
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  11. DockEllis

    DockEllis Tourist

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    After a quick stop at Walgreen’s for some hydration and sundries, we are headed a mile northwest to South Maryland Parkway and East Flamingo to The Dive Bar. As the name suggests, this watering hole is a true dive. No one really gambles on the bar tops here, but they can drink with the worst of us. There’s a couple of video games, a cigarette machine, an old 45s jukebox, a pool table, a stage for live music on random days of the week, and a bathroom that’s reminiscent of the one at Double Down Saloon.

    The conversations here are much darker and more edgy than the history lesson I got at The Dispensary Lounge. The average age is also cut in half from my previous stop. This is the second location this bar has been at and I’d be glad to return for a mid day drink or late night cap with some live local music. Apparently “The Hole in The Wall Gang” used to do business at a pizza joint at this location.

    There’s no kitchen here but there is a liquor store, dispensary, comic store, furniture mart, nail saloon, and a few eating establishments in the same strip mall.

    If you are staying on the strip you may want to stick to a walk over to Stage Door instead of making the haul to The Dive Bar. I have a couple of hours until I want to check into my hotel for the night, so I’m going to keep on keepin’ on my dive bar hopping.


    Some insurance man-biker is yellin' out for one more beer
    But a part-time pirate just can't get much respect around here
    We got our problems too, man we'll get to you
    In just a minute, sit your drunk ass down

    - James McMurtry, “Hurricane Party”

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  12. NittyOne

    NittyOne Low-Roller

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    You drop any tabs for this epic journey?

    Are you ubering or on foot? Not to sound lame but keep hydrated. It’s early afternoon in August.
     
  13. NittyOne

    NittyOne Low-Roller

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    Dive Bar looks great inside, nicely done.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  14. DockEllis

    DockEllis Tourist

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    Next we head north a mile or so up Maryland Parkway to Champagne’s Cafe. Don’t be fooled by the name, as this cafe doesn’t serve food. There is a food truck outside that opens around 4 PM, however. The truck serves Mexican street tacos that the bartender swears are to die for, but she recommends you get the salsa on the side as it’s “on fire.”

    After you navigate the postage stamp sized parking lot, you can enter via the front or rear entrance. Inside you will find red velvet wallpaper, comfy booths, dim lighting, bartop video poker, friendly regulars and staff, and a stage for live music.

    They also have a barista machine should you prefer caffeine over alcohol for your daytime video poker. The chairs and booths are comfy, the bathroom is sufficient, the cigarette smoke is filtered out well, and the vibe invites you to stay for a while. There’s a digital jukebox if you want to set the mood and there’s plenty of space to get away from the world outside for a bit. They have jazz Wednesday and Thursday night, comedy Tuesday, and Karaoke 4 nights a week.

    I lived in Vegas I would stop by here for a drink and some video poker regularly. It was hard to leave after only one drink, but the clock is ticking and I have a couple more stops before I head to my hotel.

    “My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.”
    - Winston Churchill

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  15. Maxbet

    Maxbet Low-Roller

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    Yeah, I seriously need to do a solo trip. Have only been to DD Saloon of late, your other stops are right up my alley. Will be following along.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  16. FormallyTD

    FormallyTD Big Time

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    I admire this very much...but you neglected to take a picture of George Nada in the Dive Bar piss room.

    You're forgiven this one time.

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    Carry on & good luck.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
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  17. spicole

    spicole No shirt, no shoes... NO DICE!

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    Loving the dive bar reports!
     
  18. kevin853

    kevin853 High-Roller

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    Great to see some dive bar trip reports.

    Love seeing these off the beaten track kinda places.
     
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  19. NittyOne

    NittyOne Low-Roller

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    Champagne Cafe also seems to be a solid choice, maybe my favorite so far.
     
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  20. DockEllis

    DockEllis Tourist

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    Next up is a two mile jaunt to the northeast near Sahara Ave and S Eastern Ave to Starboard Tack. For the dive bar purists out there, this place is quite different from everywhere else I’ve ventured today.

    Inside you are greeted by island tunes, beach themed decor, Caribbean and Southeast Asian fare, friendly staff and regulars, and Polynesian beverages. I welcome all of this as I’m ready for a snack and a variation in my beverage.

    The bar originally opened in the 1970s and changed names multiple times over the years. Now it’s a local hangout, many of which prefer a burger to the “Pu Pu” food I opted for.

    To drink I ordered a “Rum Barrel,” ($10, Bacardi Black, Rum Fire, lime, orange, and passion fruit). It’s prepared to perfection, boozy, spicy, and fits the mood of the bar quite well.

    To eat I ordered a “Pu Pu Platter,” ($19, Coconut shrimp skewer, baby back mai tai ribs, pineapple chili wings, lumpia - a Chinese spring roll, and papaya salad). Everything was amazing, and it actually also came with a tempura sweet potato side. The coconut shrimp were juicy and sweet, the wings were to die for, the ribs had a tangy sauce, the spring rolls were dense, and the salad was crisp and refreshing.

    I will definitely be back in the future. I got a box for the leftovers because I plan on eating another meal later this evening. I think I will hit up one more bar before checking into my room for the night.

    They are getting setup for trivia night here. Apparently there’s a good turnout weekly.


    Now some they do and some they don't
    And some you just can't tell
    And some they will and some they won't
    With some it's just as well

    You can laugh at my behaviour
    And that'll never bother me
    Say the devil is my saviour
    But I don't pay no heed

    And I will go on shining
    Shining like brand new
    I'll never look behind me
    My troubles will be few

    Goodbye, stranger, it's been nice
    Hope you find your paradise
    Tried to see your point of view
    Hope your dreams will all come true

    Goodbye, Mary, goodbye, Jane
    Will we ever meet again?
    Feel no sorrow, feel no shame
    Come tomorrow, feel no pain

    - Supertramp, “Goodbye Stranger”

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