Dive bars are awesome because they are what they are and their customers are happy with that. Dive bars aren’t fancy, they’re just bars where people go to grab a cheap drink and hang out. Unlike every other city in the United States you may find video poker in your Las Vegas dive bar. Over time dive bars obtain a vibe and an aura about them that you can feel it when you walk in the door. Sometimes you can smell it and taste it. It’s okay, that’s part of the experience. These feeling are very noticeable in a city like Las Vegas where there’s so much mainstream culture. Dive bars don’t care about image and don’t try to be the same – or different – than everyone else. They just are.
I don’t seek out dive bars but every now and again we all want a change of pace when going out for a drink. Double Down Saloon is, by far, the most “famous” dive bar in Las Vegas. The Double Down is located in a strip mall at 4640 Paradise, a couple blocks away from the Hard Rock. You can walk from the casino but it’s not the safest area at night. Just keep your wits about you and you’ll be fine. Some older New Yorkers will walk into the Double down and remember CBGB’s. Similar to CBGB’s the Double Down is adorned with stickers, filth, fun and music. Their signature drink is known as “Ass Juice” and are known for being the birthplace of the Bacon Martini. The legend of “Ass Juice” is that it used to be made from all the leftover booze that missed their drinks. Today it’s just a fun boozy concoction. I’m not an Ass Juice drinker. The Double Down says that they are the happiest place on earth and I don’t know anyone who would disagree. I’ve had nothing but good times with lots of smiles every time I’ve been to Double Down. Visit DoubleDownSaloon.com for more information Few dive bars are as infamous as the Double Down Saloon so finding dive bars often happens by chance.
Last year after enjoying a delicious dinner at Lotus of Siam (see Off-Strip Asian Dining)a friend and I decided to get a drink afterwards. She recommended Frankies Tiki Room since it was right down the street (kinda) and not in a casino. I had heard about Frankies and this was my first time visiting this dark, smoky tiki bar. Yes, Frankies is traditional tiki bar that seemed as if it was lifted from a Polynesian island and dropped in Las Vegas. Frankies Tiki Room is lit by blowfish with light bulbs and has hand carved wooden statues and chairs. The vibe of Frankies is unlike any bar in Las Vegas. Enjoying a rum filled drink here is most certainly one of the most unique things you can do in Las Vegas. Prices for beer and regular drinks are what you’d expect from a dive bar but a tiki drink will cost you $9 or $23 if you prefer it in a awesome souvenir mug. Visit their website FrankiesTikiRoom.com for more information. No matter what you see in mainstream media dive bars are not trying to be cool. They just are cool. Both Double Down Saloon and Frankies Tiki Room are fun places to grab a drink and get away from the chaos of the Vegas strip or downtown Vegas. Each bar is awesome because it has its own unique brand of chaos.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.
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