Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Last Play at O'Sheas

Downscale, Irish themed Casino O'Shea's is the latest old-school-ish (the place has only been around since 1989 but seems to come from a much older era) Las Vegas den of iniquity to bite the dust in the name of progress, as the drunken girl has closed to make room for The Linq, a bazillion dollar, outdoor multi-media entertainment district that will feature one of the largest Ferris Wheels in the world, among other things. The Linq is a smart play for Caesars Entertainment, the company that owned and operated O'Shea's, but it wasn't until after the place closed that I realized how much I'd miss it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all, and I guess the closing of the cheesily themed Casino has inspired in me a bout of Irish-style melancholy.

So let this post serve as a drunken wake to the Casino, a wretched hive of scum and villainy (and bros with popped collars) if there ever was one in Sin City. If I was more clever/ less lazy I'd try to write this post in some sort James Joycey-ish voice, but come on, let's be real here: the theming in the casino was not that deeply thought out, and I haven't ever actually read Ulysses. But here are the reasons that O'Shea's will be sorely missed now that's it's gone:

-CHEAP BUCKETS O' BEER: My southern friend was in Vegas, just a few weeks before O'Sheas shuttered its doors for good, and he drunk text-blasted a bunch of us with news that he was enjoying a "bucket of beer." I've been to Vegas with the man many times and knew precisely what he was referring to: O'Shea's was notorious for selling huge plastic cups of bad beer for $5, a great deal (even for horrible, watered down brews), and he often insisted on making the place our first stop on nights out on The Strip. I didn't have the heart to break the news that O'Shea's was a mere week or so from closing while he merrily enjoyed his giant cup of crappy beer (which inevitably gets pretty warm about halfway through drinking it), so I waited to tell him until he returned home to the "real world of Los Angeles." We lamented the loss of the place (and cheap buckets o' beer) together over over-priced pints of (much better) craft brews at the local dive in Los Feliz.

-BEER PONG: Okay, this one will not excite some of you, dear readers. This will make some of you groan "ugh, gross, frat bro douche Entourage, Adrian Grenier, Ashton Kutcher, energy drinks!" Basically, this is not the type of content many of you hope to read on this blog. And I can't defend the idea of playing public Beer Pong on tables covered in spilled suds in the middle of a crappy bar/ food court area in the back of a low stakes Casino without hotel rooms which also notable featured a Vince Neil Tattoo Shop and a Burger King. I can't defend it other than to say that while the Beer Pong Tables (approved of by the shadowy The World Series of Beer Pong, who I think are associated with the same organization that tried to push Sam Jackson around in The Avengers) are the opposite of the type of place where you can find an "escape from douchebaggery," they also provide you with the opportunity to smoke groups of arrogant frat boys and shut up their moths and trash talking instantly as you display your excellent spin shots, leading to a wild night of making out with beautiful blond sorority sisters from Arizona State. And now there is one less place where that kind of night can happen in Las Vegas, and that's a little sad. Pop your collars in respect, gentlemen.

-LOW STAKES GAMING: The tables at O'Shea's had some of the lowest minimum bets in Las Vegas, so you could kill some time on their casino floor playing Roulette, Craps,  and Blackjack without losing your shirt too quickly. And the longer you play, the more likely you are to hit some lucky number. A quick look at the casino's Wikipedia page reveals that with the low minimum bets came a price... after Caesars bought them out, the place had some of the worst odds in Las Vegas, particularly in Blackjack. But the odds of you beating the house were pretty slim anyway, so why not just enjoy the low prices that let you gamble for longer? Plus, I've always found the low stakes gamblers are the more interesting people to hang out with. I'd much rather hear stories about following The Dead in the 60's from a burnout who looks like Santa Claus than have to listen to some Eurotrash high roller talk about anything any day of the week.

-THAT OLD FEELIN': It wasn't actually as old as The Sahara or the pointlessly imploded Stardust, but O'Shea's had a rougher around the edges, scummier vibe than some of the slick new corporate resorts lining The Strip. I mean, the chips always seemed a bit dirty at the place, which is probably pretty gross, but somehow also felt more authentic. I'm not saying this scuzzy vibe is necessary in all of Las Vegas: but I am saying it is necesarry to exist somewhere in Las Vegas; sadly, it's becoming increasingly rare in Sin City.

O'Shea's was a trashy, alcohol-soaked crap-hole with a half-assed Irish theme filled with frat dudes with flipped collars, grizzled old timers, cigarette smoke, dirty chips, smelly carpets, and cheap buckets of beer. And now that it's gone, it turns out that I'll miss it terribly.

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