We’re not big gamblers. We’re not gamblers at all really, but we’ve found ourselves in Las Vegas quite a few times over the past few years. I’ve spent a few fun birthdays in Vegas, and most recently it was our exhibit at WVC that found us back at Main Street Station—our favorite cheap Las Vegas RV park. One place you will not find us, is on The Strip.
The Best Vegas Experience Is Off the Strip!
For some reason I’m still trying to figure out. We prefer the Vegas nightlife experience on the Fremont Street Experience. In some ways, it’s a sad scene filled with desperate souls scraping the bottom of this crab pot we call life. Perhaps it’s exactly that reality check that keeps us coming back. Many folks are there because they have to be—their lifestyle choices and decisions have left them begging for something more.
We are there because we want to be. It’s always entertaining, and definitely much cheaper than anywhere near the Strip. Specifically though, there is one place we always want to be on a Friday night in Vegas. That is the Parlor Lounge at El Cortez Hotel.
This is the real Vegas baby! Nothing beats sitting back in a comfy chair listing to the soothing sounds of Joey Ugarte and the Jazz Vibrations—featuring of course, the incomparable Miss Rita Lim. So what if the service is bad and the drinks are weak. Rita and Joey make the Parlor Bar our favorite destination for true Vegas entertainment!
Joey is a living legend and Rene will be the first to admit I have a crush on his beautiful Jazz singer, who knows everything about every Jazz legend there ever was. I only wish I could remember the name of the guest singer who performed during a recent visit. He was a true crooner. Seriously, I felt like I was part of something that used to be—like I said, Real Vegas baby!
It turns out this guy was part of the real Vegas scene from back in the day. I stood up and applauded when he was done, and he came to thank me. He’s now in management at one of the major resorts on the strip, and said he hadn’t sung in years. I told him it sounded like he sang every night, and he said it’s like riding a bike. What struck me is how he mentioned all the shows in Vegas are all big productions. I agreed, there are no entertainers anymore—except for the likes of Joey and Rita.
But I digress again… you may wondering, what’s with the phony Photoshop filter effect Jim? That photo of Rita just couldn’t do her justice. The lighting had the scene looking more like this…
Yeah, that’s a cauliflower. Fremont Street baby!
Best Boat Drinks, and More Jazz
For a few years now, we’ve been hoping to hit The Tiki Bar. This year we made it! I say THE Tiki Bar, because yes—The Golden Tiki is the real deal. Another great Vegas attraction, way off the strip.
Entering the Golden Tiki is like another step back in time, to another place, a tropical destination with the best boat drinks and entertaining atmosphere. I won’t spoil the actual entrance for you, but once in, we were greeted with a warm welcome and smiles all around. I felt like I was meeting Don Ho! There was even a magician in pirate wench garb. And did I mention the drinks?
Yes, that’s a flaming Lime in the Coconut. No really, that’s the name of the drink—Lime in the Coconut. Yeah, like the song. These drinks were works of art, even if the bartender himself was neither very artistic nor entertaining. But these drinks also would have cost about twice as much and been half as strong anywhere near The Strip. Good thing, cuz we had a few…
The back lounge are was very comfortable, and we even enjoyed some more live Jazz…
The best thing about the Golden Tiki, however, is the Golden Tiki’s best kept secret! Adorning the walls of this hidden tropical paradise are various artifacts and oddities from the personal collection of none other than Mr. Hunter S. Thompson himself.
Being a huge fan myself, this made my night. Not having a hangover the next day, made my day.
The collection contains various crazy wild insect collections, movie memorabilia, taxidermy of mythical creatures, and yet, a few bona fide shrunken heads—more of the real deal.
It’s only appropriate that my picture of Hunter’s pith helmet from the Desert Inn came out looking straight out of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas!
Back on Fremont Street
We found ourselves once again cruising through the crowd people watching near Slotzilla. I grabbed Rene and stepped onto the scale together with her at the Heart Attack Grill…
The date was March third, 03/03. (That’s a special day for us, we call it Triday) Woah…only in Vegas baby!