Jukebox Skipping

Monday, April 4, 2011

Double Down Saloon, Las Vegas -- REVIEW

Actually this is the backdoor
4640 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89169
(702) 791-5775

A few years ago, I was bemoaning the fact that there are no great bars in Las Vegas. Oh sure, there are a ton of high-end clubs where you can buy a $300 bottle of PatrĂ³n just to impress everyone on the other side of the velvet rope you just walked past. But I wanted an actual BAR, that wasn’t too far from where I staying on the Strip. It was then that a co-worker said the Double Down Saloon was just what I was looking for…and let’s just say how right she was!

First Impressions: The Double Down is not too far from the Hard Rock Hotel, but it seems like you’re in a completely different city. It’s tucked away in a dingy little strip mall and a bit hard to find at first. But, right as you walk though the front door, one thing becomes very clear…the “Saloon” is actually a killer in-your-face punk club. It is truly the “Anti” Vegas place to be.

The whole place looks like this
The Bar: The Double Down is just a decent-sized room with a stage in one corner and a bar just as you walk in on your right. A sign overhead as you walk in let’s you know that you’re in the “Happiest place on Earth”. You will quickly notice a few other signs…one is for their signature shot called “Ass Juice”, another sign let’s you know if you puke…YOU clean it up. And another sign let’s you know that if you think you’re going to vomit, you can buy “puke insurance” for $20 and they will clean it up for you. A quote from the Double Down, “Vivid chaotic and psychedelic murals covering every inch of walls and ceiling provide the backdrop, while disturbing videos come at you from all directions.” I could not have said it better.

The Crowd: As they will tell you at the Double Down, always expect the unexpected…punks, women, crusty old war veterans, bums and everyday people trying to get away from the touristy places in Vegas. Hell, I’ve walked in here before and witnessed pint-sized porn stars spanking each other. Chances are you will never quite fit in to this crowd; on the other hand, you will never stand out either. Unless you’re 7’6” in a pink gorilla costume, there is always someone at the bar that is far more of a character than you are. My point, never worry about looking out-of-place here…everyone in the Double Down looks out of place…so one really ever stands out.

Too dark to get great pics
Service: Show up ready to drink, or the bartender will shame you into it anyway. Drinking too slowly? He’ll let you know. Refuse to drink a shot that’s placed in front of you…be prepared to have your manhood questioned (ladies that goes for you too). Let’s just say if CBS was casting for a modern-day punk version of Archie Bunker…I think I found the perfect candidate. If you hadn’t guessed yet, you’re glass is NEVER empty!

Prices: Considering that this is Las Vegas, drinks are reasonable enough. Expect to pay $3-3.50 for a beer and $5-6 for a shot. To put the prices here into perspective, take a quick walk to the Hard Rock Hotel, and you will easily pay at least twice as much for everything…if not more.

Food: Only thing I saw was a sign for Ass Juice with a Twinkie for $6. Needless to say I passed.

Ass Juice
Entertainment: When there’s not a band (keep in mind live music is always free) they have one of the greatest punk jukeboxes ever. You name it they have it, Ramones, Stooges, Dead Kennedys, NOFX, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, and even Louis Prima…plus a ton more. Thankfully it’s not an Internet jukebox, so there is never anything other than the CDs the bar decides to put in the jukebox. There are a few TV’s but view with caution…they show footage of everything from the Ramones to Asian fetish footage…and that’s the tame stuff. At some point I looked away as there was a clip of someone having their skull drilled with (you guessed it) a drill. The Double Down sums it up like this, “Videos so insane they once made Timothy Leary turn blue (shortly before he actually turned blue).”

Restrooms: You have to see them to believe them. Graffiti art everywhere, including the urinal. If there are cooler-looking restrooms anywhere in the country, I would love to see them.

Wow
Bartender Chat: When he wasn’t encouraging everyone to drink more, he was throwing out jokes faster than I could laugh. Just a sample of one of the jokes I can remember (they were coming that fast) “Q: How much cocaine does it take to kill Charlie Sheen? A: Two and a half men’s worth.

How Far Did My $20 Go: This might be one of the few bars near the Strip in Vegas where twenty bucks can buy you more than two drinks. Depending on what you want to drink, you can have nearly six beers or a few shots of Ass Juice. And there’s never a cover charge.

Final Thoughts: This bar never closes and lives by the motto “Shut up and Drink”. At any given point the Double Down can be filled with touring bands and Hollywood types kicking back away from the tourists. Is this a bar for everyone? I would doubt that, but if you’re like me and get bored with the same ‘ole/same ‘ole…you owe yourself a trip to the Double Down next time you’re in Vegas. You’ll either thank me profusely or never take my advice again. Just remember…always expect the unexpected.

DIVE-O-METER
9

None needed on this night

3 comments:

  1. Ive lived in Omaha my whole life and I have bartended since I was 18. I moved to Vegas back in the spring quickly made friends with the hart and Huntington tattoo artist who were super excited to take me to the double down I am in love with this bar...bring from the Midwest it's acceptable to go out in jeans and a teeshirt this bar made me feel at home no heels required!! Once again I LOVE THIS BAR!!!
    Side note: Ass juice shots is basically their stronger version of a Washington Apple :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. See...the DD always claimed that Ass Juice was whatever they threw in pitcher from the day before...but it ALWAYS tastes the same! So it's a Washington Apple...good to know.

    But you're right...the Double Down is one of the greatest bars in the country! At least for people who like REAL bars.

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