Sunday, May 29, 2011

Double Down Saloon


Not new, and not exactly a classy joint- the Double Down Saloon is a dive punk-ish bar off the strip in Las Vegas.  It has been there for about 18 years, and they have another Double Down- in NYC.  The owners of the Double Down also own Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas, so they have a track record of making me happy.

From their website:

“Known the world over as the Happiest Place on Earth, the Double Down Saloon has been bringing a much needed sophistication to Las Vegas since 1992.  Interplanetary abstract.  Urban decay.  The Anti-Vegas.  Double Down is indeed a clubhouse for the lunatic fringe.”

And so it is.  Bacon Martinis, Ass Juice, combo meals such as “Ass Juice and a Twinkie” and the Graveyard Trifecta (a Hamms, an Ass Juice, and a Slim Jim), these are just some of the delights that await you at the Double Down.  Don’t worry, you can also grab a beer and other less “exotic” drinks. 

Here I am with my new buddy Scott, one of the DD’s bartenders:


When I walked in for the first time, I thought “what a dump, I love it”.  If thoughts like that don’t occur to you occasionally, you may want to skip this one.  Also, like Frankie’s, there is a continuous video loop running on the TVs, including some footage that cannot be unseen- you’ve been warned.

It is a good place to go and drink.  Aside from the previously mentioned “combo meals”, the only food is in a vending machine.  Also, as with Frankie’s, there is smoking, but also pretty decent air handling.  The aftermath of a brief visit should look something like this:





Monday, May 23, 2011

The Lounge at The Dunhill Hotel, Charlotte

I don’t like to gamble, at least in the common let’s-make-the-casinos-richer sense.  I do occasionally gamble and use Hotwire for hotel bookings, though- and sometimes I hit the jackpot.  On a recent trip I spun the wheel on Hotwire and landed in the historic Dunhill Hotel in the Uptown district of Charlotte, NC.  The Dunhill is a great hotel, smallish rooms, but nicely appointed, and the rate was pretty good- but the big win was in the tiny lounge.


The bartender (let’s call him Pete, because that may have been his name- but it is a bar, so my memories of the evenings are a bit fuzzy) was great, he seemed to know everyone and learned new customers names and preferences quickly.  Although tiny (just seven stools around an L-shaped bar) it was adequately stocked and a very comfortable place to spend time at the end of the day.  You can even get great food served at the bar from the adjacent Harvest Moon Grille.

As with all great bars, your fellow patrons really make the place, and the Dunhill’s clientele appears to include a bewildering mix of interesting characters, from local business people, to former NFL players, to roadwarriors, to “southern gentlefolk”- a great mix of characters to complement the great service, genteel d├ęcor, and general southern charm.

This is a hotel bar, in a downtown business district, so don’t expect too many bargains- but you will actually get something for your money here.