Some guy in front of the Circle K convenience store was power spraying bum vomit off the parking lot as I cruised in on Blue Thunder (the nickname I bestowed upon my trusty bicycle). This is a typical scene greeting the patrons (who range from homeless to hipster) of the Huntridge Tavern. My friend sat in his idling car, apparently getting whipped by a vagina via mobile phone, and I locked up Blue Thunder to the piss-scented metal fencing that kept the grocery carts of the neighboring Mexican grocer from being used as an emergency moving van for the derelicts who sleep in the tent cities around the corner.
I tapped on the window of the waiting car. My friend jumped. Possibly he shit his pants. It was difficult to tell. He gave me the “hang on, I’m trying to mollify this bitch” hand sign that every well-meaning man in the world has given at some point in their life and I, being a good friend, didn’t wait and left him to fend off the zombies on his own. I was only really concerned with getting inside and adding another notch to my Jameson Century Club card.
Oh…about that….If you look on the walls of the Huntridge Tavern, you’ll notice several plaques with what could be considered the “who’s who” of the Las Vegas art scene. Are they being recognized for their talent? No. These commemorative wall awards are recognizing those brave souls who were able to make it through 100 (count ‘em) shots of Jameson. 100. Names like Jesse Carson Smigel and Gina Quaranto….blah, blah, blah et al. When I saw the plaques (plural) I had no choice but to saddle up to the bar, and demand entry to a club that spelled “cirrhosis” in bold, 24 point, Helvetica letters.
Amy was working. Or Tracy. Or Stacy. One of those names that end in an “ee” sound but could be spelled with an “i” to be cute. I bet she dots the “i” with a heart shape. Or maybe she was working on her PhD in biochem. This brings me to the second attribute of the Huntridge Tavern that makes it worth the trip: good looking bartenders. I don’t know what the management there is thinking. Perhaps the idea is that vagrants have had so many troubles in their lives that the least the bar could do is provide a bit of eye candy. It seems like a set-up for one of those horrible horror movies. You know, the one where there is the lone dive bar in the middle of the desert, frequented only by desperados, and some hot, feisty lady with an attitude and a shotgun runs the place? I didn’t see the shotgun, but I’m sure she was packing. She gave me free Wheat Thins. Score.
The drinks are cheap. Sort of. I’ve had cheaper, but the Atomic Liquor and the Western closed ages ago and with their shuttering went the days of crying in 50-cent beer. The tap selections at the Huntridge Tavern are…well, there really isn’t a selection. PBR, Bud, Bud, and Bud with a different name: Shocktop (what marketing genius came up with that?). I stuck mostly to the bottles. A Fat Tire (yes, Virginia, there are quality beers here) and a shot of Jameson (did I mention that club I’m trying to get into?) was $6. This is what one would typically pay for a PBR at the trendier addresses in 89101.
And if you judge your bars by their bathrooms, I can tell you that you will fall in love, as I did, with the Huntridge Tavern. First of all there is the Shining-esque hallway you have to travel to get to the bathroom. All it’s missing is a pair of creepy twins holding hands. Even the florescent lights flicker above giving you the sense that you are either going to die in a pool of your own blood or enter the Matrix. Second is the bathroom itself. It’s large enough to have anonymous sex in, and clean enough that you might actually not feel freaked out about putting your Craigslist hooker’s ass on the sink. Quick note: you should not fuck on the sink because it doesn’t look that sturdy. There is soap and both the hot and cold water taps work. This seems like a weird thing to crow about, but have you been to dive bars in Las Vegas? Soap and hot water in a Vegas dive bar is an eyebrow-raising discovery.
A walking prison tattoo experiment gone wrong started loading songs into the jukebox. The jukebox is the easiest way to determine bar’s true address, and based on the screaming, bass heavy, angry, nonsensical garbage coming from the speakers that address was Hell. I have no idea what fucking band it was, but the lyrics were so overwrought and the song structure was so stupid that I had no choice but to start wasting money on controlling my audio environment. After flipping through a few selections my first thought was “what the fuck is up with this place?!” MGMT, Lionel Ritchie, Coldplay, Radiohead, Willie Nelson…If this jukebox represented the neighborhood, then it clearly meant the neighborhood was doing some pretty good drugs and lots of them. My friend and I settled on the entire collection of Daryl Hall and John Oates and several drinks later I was stumbling to unlock Blue Thunder.
ArtsVegas: Covering Las Vegas Art and culture since 2009.