This last weekend Rochelle and I went to visit friends who moved to Las Vegas four months ago. Our friends, now officially locals, took us on a whirlwind tour of their favorites, mostly bars.

This last weekend Rochelle and I went to visit friends who moved to Las Vegas four months ago. While they’re still looking for permanent work so they can apply for home loans, and settle in permanently, they’ve definitely scoped out the lesser-known parts of the city.

One of our evenings included visiting the Double Down, an infamous bar where no one ever gets thrown out. (We have two friends who have managed to do it anyway, including one of our hosts.) They serve a drink with a bad reputation, “ass juice”, which is basically the dregs of all their bottles. $1 a shot, and it’s different (tasting, color, etc.) every night. It’s vile and evil, and I wouldn’t drink anything else when I’m there.

When we awoke the next day, we wanted to burn the clothes we’d worn the night before — the smell of cigarette smoke had penetrated them so deeply we thought we were back in the bar. Rochelle and I have a bet whether it ever comes out.

The best find was Makino, an all-you-can-eat sushi place. Normally these unlimited sushi buffets are horrible, with minimal amounts of the good sushi, which is snapped up in seconds when it’s put out. Not so Makino. We were awed by the quantity, quality, and variety of the sushi. My first plate alone had more than $15 worth of sushi on it. I ate two more after that (those were smaller, though). The photos are up, you can see for yourself.

Most disappointing was the champagne bar in Paris (the casino). You would think they’d be able to get it right — the place cost millions of dollars to build — but no. In reality, most of their customers probably aren’t that discriminating, and the connoisseurs go to a good restaurant. Our tasting flights were not cold enough, and several of the champagnes were somewhat flat. Completely unacceptable, if you care about these things. By way of comparison, in France we almost always were served from freshly opened bottles, and even watched some hosts pour bottles down the sink rather than serve them past their peak.

We decided that if we ever went there again (they did have a nice selection of champagnes by the glass), we would sit at the bar, to supervise the pouring of our glasses and push back the unacceptable ones.