How to eat and drink in Las Vegas? It’s pretty damned easy, I must say. If you’re gambling in the casinos, you can usually drink free. Even if you’re not gambling, food and drinks are dirt cheap in these places (see below). The only catch is the design, which requires you to wind your way through every square inch of gaming space in order to arrive at the buffet or the bar. Marketing, y’know? Kind of like the way that milk and eggs and other staples and things you want to grab fast are always at the back of the supermarket…
As to that queer scene, Vegas is a huge closet of a town. This is most likely due to the fact that the redneck factor here is even higher than in some parts of the south. I’m referring both to the tourists and to the locals, unfortunately. A big minus is that there is no “gay zone”, so bar hopping requires some major driving. On the plus side, many of these bars are located in residential areas off the “strip”, so it’s possible to get a feel for what the natives are really like.
After visiting the vey snotty Inferno and the very creepy Badlands, I found myself happier at Eagles/Texas, which wants to be a leather bar, but the patrons won’t seem to let it. Wednesday “Underwear night” was crowded and fun. Tuesday “Keno night” wasn’t. Fun place, generic music. The “Texas” side resembles a set from “Gilligan’s Island”. We referred to it as the “Sugar Shack”.
I also liked Angles/Lace, which had nifty new wave videos the first night. It was a big bar with lots of rooms to explore. Wednesday was “Goth Night” in the back dance area, although the DJ’s definition of “gothic” included New Order and other 80’s new wave. I ran into a friend from SF here incidentally.
I liked Snick’s, which was friendly and cruisy and was locked (wityh patrons apparently inside when I tried to revisit late at night), and Buffalo. I hated Flex and couldn’t even be bothered to stick around long enough to buy a beer.
And then there was the Mini-David room. How could I resist a porn theatre with an eight dollar cover? Straight stuff in the “theatre”, gay stuff in the back room. Not much action, but lots of old discarded console TV’s scattered about.
And some buffets:
Wind your way through the casino. Pay a small amount of money ($5-8 tops). Eat all you can. Feast on prime rib, ham, and turkey. Sample Seafood Newburg, Chicken Masala, macaroni and cheese, baked potatoes, chocolate cream pie, pastries, pink Bundt cake, and more. This is how you eat in Vegas. Even the locals do it in lieu of grocery shopping. It’s cool. It’s fattening. It’s gluttony at its finest. And they have smoking sections! I noticed several patrons who were so excited they smoked and ate at the same time!
The Palace Station (West Sahara at South Rancho) was my favorite, but was also three bucks more than the Sahara (South Las Vegas Boulevard at East Sahara). Prices ranged from $2.49 for breakfast at the Sahara to $8.79 for dinner at the Palace Station. Just do it. It’s good for you.
Once again, Fremont Street is the place to be. This was the original Vegas strip, before the monster complexes sprouted along South Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s tremendously seedy now, but it’s still obvious that this used to be “the place”. I was excited. The “highly recommended by owner” motel was my favorite. I’d stay there based on that recommendation. You?
Radio ranges from generic modern rock to a cool heavy metal station to a “music of your parents’ life” station. The second and third options seemed most appropriate to cruising the city.
There seemed, alas, to be no live music scene except in the casinos. I opted against paying $65 to see Huey Lewis at Caesar’s.
The background music at the Place Station took the prize, however. When I drove in, the first sound was “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione. Very fitting arrival music. The assault of forgotten hits of the 70’s, those songs even the oldies station avoids, continued throughout the trip. I must have heard “Magnet and Steel” by Walter Egan at least four times (although once was in a very depressing Jack in the Box in the ‘burbs).
The main thing I wanted to see in Vegas was the Liberace Museum, reputed to be a veritable temple of kitsch. Alas, I never caught it open, so there’s no report and no pix. Sorry…