Las Vegas, also known as Sin City, is a place where people with addictions can go to really hone them. And we locals encourage it. We welcome dependencies of all kinds; lust, gluttony, sloth, smoking, drinking, partying, and of course, gaming.
Casinos are open 24 hours for gamblers. They offer free booze for gamblers and free food and lodging for those who gamble alot. Smoking is allowed almost anywhere one chooses to gamble and if a break is needed from gambling there are topless shows and strip clubs. The topless shows are free, again, if the hotel deems that one does indeed gamble alot. And strip clubs are just whole other direction one can take, if the need to be parted from one’s money is still desired.
Living in Vegas with one addiction is, unofficially, a prerequisite. Two addictions is the norm. Three is admirable and four or more at the same time may not seem possible but most certainly is. A solid example would be playing video poker at a strip club with a drink in arms reach and a cigarette dangling between the lips. Extra points if it’s happy hour and buffalo wings are complimentary.
So establishments that don’t offer smoking, wall to wall slot machines or scantily clad babes need to work extra hard for the tourist and local dollar.
The brewhouse falls into that category. There are no neon machines lining the bar top promising royal flushes aplenty. No bosomy barmaids. No smoking indoors.
There is plenty of food and booze and dropping the price of such, keeps the business competitive and customers walking through the door.
Tuesdays are half price wine night, correction half price wine day. Any glass, any bottle, any hour of the workday. I for one am a fan of this special, being the wino that I am. I am not especially attracted to our wine selection but that’s a good thing. If half price Silver Oak or Opus One was offered I take Tuesday off and sip away the money I made for the week.
It was the height of lunch rush and the restaurant was on a wait. A party of six wedged themselves into a booth that comfortably seated five. Any passerby could tell the party was uncomfortable but not for the physical reasons. Sure they were hip to hip, but there was some other reason for the strained conversation at the table. I greeted them and in small talk learned the oldest two had just stepped off the plane at McCarren International. I figured this random lunch was an impromptu family reunion of some sort. Things were beginning to make sense now. I acknowledged the out-of-towners and commended them, “I need a chardonnay and a xanax just to make the flight reservation”. Seriously, that part is true.
I asked them what beverage they might start with mentioning the wine special and standard cheap lunch beer rate. The table froze in uncomfortable silence; they looked at each other waiting for someone else to be the first to speak. From the corner of my eye I saw the matriarch glance down under the table.
I had my in.
“Did you just look at your watch? Were you checking the time?” This is a practice I saw over and over during my cocktail server days, so I used the phrase I used to say back then. “This is Vegas. There is NO inappropriate time to drink. I’m drunk right now”. The table laughed and Mom played right into it, “So what kind of wine do you have?” And the table laughed even louder. “Well, let me take you to that page of the menu.”
One drink in, the table didn’t seem so uptight, after the second round it was apparent, they were a family. Laughing maybe a little too loud, but who cares. I love that sound. The visitation was off to a successful start.
They turned down dessert: they didn’t have any room in there stomachs to spare. They paid their check, thanked me for the service and left the restaurant. As they stepped through the front doors of the brewhouse and into the belly of Vegas, I wondered what other Vegas traditions lay ahead for them. How many more indiscretions would they add to their resume. Thanks to me they were two down: gluttony and drinking before noon. And it was all my pleasure.
Welcome to sin city.