Were it not for the Double Down Saloon, I probably would not live in Las Vegas. It’s true. When I used to just visit this crazy town back in the late ’90s, the Double Down was my home away from home, the first place I hit when I got in and the last place I went before I left. I recall walking in at 7 a.m. for a pre-flight cocktail, to be greeted by a drunk punk pointing at me, shouting, “The last thing I’m gonna do tonight is buy her a drink!” “You mean the first thing today,” deadpanned Ian the bartender, the only other person present.
If losing track of time is a sport in this town, the Double Down is where we train our Olympic team. You walk in for one and realize it’s three hours later, or six hours later. Or you go to the Double, leave, come back, leave, come back, like a moth around a porchlight. When I moved to Las Vegas, I knew no one, and the Double Down was where I made friends, got laid, got up to mischief. It was the first place in this city where people knew me.
But the days and years do pass. The Double Down will turn 25 in November — it’s become a Travel Channel-sanctioned tourist stop, many of the bartenders have become parents, I’ve become, well, old. The days of “Topless only on the pony!” (don’t ask), double-dildo pranks (don’t ask), and pig’s heads in the bathroom toilets (no, really, don’t ask) are in the past, but things can still get crazy. And this is still where I listen to loud music, drink greyhounds, stay longer than I intended, and feel like I’m home.