Sunday, December 20, 2009

Las Vegas At Last

First, a bit of a shout-out to Jet Blue. I try to fly Jet Blue whenever I can, the are reasonably priced and the service is excellent. Plus they have a brand-new terminal at JKF that is really nice. Plenty of bars that always seem to be open.

I like the individual DirectTV screens too. You can kind of mindlessly channel surf your way through most trips. And they have Sirius Radio too. On my trip back to New York from Las Vegas the whole TV and Radio thing was having a problem so they had to reboot the system, or whatever they do. The announced in advance that they were doing this and the service must have been out for five minutes at the most, and during the time when the stewardess and pilot are making their announcements anyway. No big dea. So it was a real pleasant surprise to get a $15 voucher as a "gesture of apology and goodwill." Not a lot of money, but how many other airlines would go to all of this trouble and expense for a truly minor problem?

Anyway, I thought Jet Blue deserved a bit of a pat on the back for this.

Our first bar that wasn't just a bar in a casino was this nice pub somewhere on the strip. It was affiliated with a casino, or a hotel, or something. I just can't remember exactly where. We were on a bit of a ramble. It was a very nice place with a whole hell of a lot of beers on draft. I am not sure how many but you can get an idea from the array behind me.

The small round signs say The Pub and there is a picture of a whale on them. The lighting is predominently blue, so maybe it is affiliated with The Ballena Azul in Puerto Vallarta. The decor is similar.

Barman At Ballena Azul North

One of my buddies who goes on these now annual Las Vegas treks is my "fishing" buddy. Actually, he is the guy who owns the cabin where we hold the gathering.

Jerry And Barman

Three others are Jon (he who will not smile), Tom and Albie. All of these guys grew up in Northern Minnesota in what is known as The Range. How I ever hooked up with these guys is a long and long forgotten story. Suffice it to say that many of us have know each other for almost forty years. Tom is, for me, a relative newcomer. I first met him at last year's get-together.

Jon, Tom and Albie

Albie goes out to Las Vegas several times a year and knows the town pretty well. Plus he also rents a car so we can get to some out-of-the-way places, like Frankie's Tiki Room.

You have to love the lighting in downtown Las Vegas. A lot of it is from old casinos, bars, and what have you that are long gone. They did a nice job restoring them.

My Kind Of Sign

The Griffin has become a bit of a favorite of mine since I stumbled into it a year or two ago. It doesn't open until late and has a bouncer so you know it is my kind of place.

The Griffin

Just three of us were making the rounds this night. We had gone out to eat and were having a few nightcaps as we made our way back to our hotel.

John, Laura, Barman and Tom

I think the bartender's name was Laura. I actually did write it down but then, of course, misplaced my notepad. We chatted with her for awhile and then with another guy at the bar and they recommended that we try the bar around the corner for some classic cocktails. I think they were trying to be helpful. Or, maybe, they were just trying to get rid of us.


downtown. (not sure why that period is there) is around the corner from The Griffin and down the block a bit. Kind of a deserted side street at that, and the sign isn't all that big. You could easily miss this place, but you should try not to.

A bit of advice, the actual door is on the left hand side of what looks like what should be a glass door. On the right side is another window that looks like it could be a door. The door doesn't look anything like a door. I guess it is customary for those already in the bar to laugh at the people trying to get in through the windows. People like us.

I had recently purchased a bottle of Pernod Absinthe to take up to our Annual Fishing Trip (nothing says fishing like absinthe) so it was interesting to see an old-time absinthe dispenser. You load it up with ice cubes and pour in the absinthe. Then you drip the absinthe over a sugar cube into the glass of your choice.

Now if Gevalia would offer one of these if you ordered their coffee I might re-join their club. I already have enough of their coffee makers.

The Perfect Addition To Any Home Bar

We were told this place specialized in old-time cocktails so that is what I went for, an old time Old Fashion. You put a dash or two of bitters on a sugar cube and then muddle that with an orange slice. Then you fill the glass with ice-cubes and bourbon and give it a stir. Garnish with another orange slice and, if you must, a Maraschino cherry.

The Mixologist At His Work

It was a very tasty drink, and a very good pour.

The Old Fashion Barman

The Griffin and Downtown are two mighty fine bars and a nice change from the casino bars. Although it is kind of nice to pop ten dollars into a video poker game at a casino bar and get your drinks for free. A word of warning, though, if you are in a bar that offers frozen margaritas for a dollar, you might want to skip that option. You won't get a buzz but you will leave with a sickly sweet taste in your mouth and a good chance of heartburn later.