A&E

25 reasons to check out the Double Down’s 25th-anniversary celebration

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The Double Down still stands alone.
Photo: Wade Vandervort
Geoff Carter and Ian Caramanzana

1. Thee Swank Bastards. The local surf-rockin’, prank-pullin’ stalwarts get the party started Wednesday night with Basstravaganza: 25 songs, 25 different bass players.

2. The history. Seriously, can you believe the Double Down Saloon has been around for 25 years? That everyone from Tim Burton to Dr. Timothy Leary has warmed these barstools? Or that this “clubhouse for the lunatic fringe” spawned a sister bar in New York City? It’s a goddamn miracle, that’s what. Rub on it and make a wish.

3. The atmosphere. Breathe it in deep. Later, use a lot of Febreze to get it off your jacket, belt and shoes.

4. DJ Rex Dart. Throughout the years, he’s rocked rooms across town with eclectic sets that fuse blues, funk and rock ’n’ roll. If you’ve never witnessed one of his multigenre sets, now’s the time to check him out—he’s essentially spinning all weekend long.

5. The parking lot. Lots going on out there this weekend: live music, an outdoor bar and even a booth staffed by the bar’s friendly green neighbor, the Grove dispensary.

6. The murals. The Double Down has been acquiring cool murals since the mid-1990s—one-of-a-kind works by Mark T. Zeilman, Magda Szeitz, Elizabeth Blau and others. They’re aging nicely.

7. The man. If you can spot Double Down/Frankie’s Tiki Room owner P Moss in the crowd, shake his hand, buy him a drink and have him autograph something: a flier, maybe, or your face.

8. Puke insurance. Your $20 antidote to the Double Down’s first rule: “You puke, you clean.”

9. Throw Rag. Captain Sean Doe, the founder/singer of this rockabilly/roots/punk band, sails the Salton Sea, California, quartet into port Saturday night to rip through hits like “She Don’t Want To (She Don’t Care)” and “Rule Maker.”

10. The anniversary poster. This ready-for-framing masterpiece—by AIGA award-winning graphic artist Art Chantry—is a steal at $25.

11. Jenn O. Cide. The towering beauty and unrepentant sideshow freak hosts the festivities. Expect to see her eating a fair amount of glass, or stapling random things to her head.

12. The pool tables. Try not to think of what’s touched that felt over the years.

13. The jukebox. It’s still one of the best-curated in Vegas—a “basic, beautiful collection of punk, rockabilly and weird-ass sh*t,” as Moss calls it.

14. Fukuburger’s truck. Those tasty burgers pair nicely with the house’s bacon martini.

15. Dwarves. The Chicago-bred, San Francisco-based quintet has been servin’ up its eclectic, rowdy garage-punk with controversial lyrics for three decades. And with performances that often include nudity, physical aggression and snobby stage banter, Dwarves will feel right at home at the Double Down on Saturday night.

16. The bathrooms. Look for some salacious gossip about you scratched on the walls. If you can’t find any, add some.

17. Franks & Deans. Vegas’s upstanding “rock ’n’ roll Rat Pack” plays indoors Saturday night from 1 a.m. till dawn.

18. Dirk Vermin & The Hostile Talent. It’s tough to imagine the Double Down celebrating a birthday without Uncle Dirk in attendance. He and his band of untelegenic hooligans appear Saturday.

19. The televisions. Still playing a mix of indescribably weird scenes. Serves you right if you look at them.

20. Goldtop Bob. Thanks to a long-standing residency, the charismatic blues guitarist calls “The Happiest Place on Earth” his second home. He plays Sunday night.

21. Überschall. Featuring ex- and current members of the Blue Man Group, Überschall features three drummers, a bassist and two guitarists. It’s as ridiculous and fun as it sounds. See for yourself on Sunday.

22. Modern Drunkard Magazine. The Double Down’s the only place in Vegas where you can find this omnibus for fall-down drunks.

23. The addictive lunacy of the place. It’s real.

24. The Dickies. The campy SoCal pop-punk pioneers are no strangers to Vegas; they’ve rocked stages big and small, from Punk Rock Bowling to the Gold Spike pool party. Sing along to the melodic “Give It Back” or the band’s brisk take on Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” in our city’s beloved dive.

25. Ass Juice. The Double Down’s signature shot, “served ass cold.” Pound down a few shots in celebration of a quarter-freaking century of “100% pure, not from concentrate.”

Double Down Saloon’s 25th Anniversary November 22-26, times vary, free. 702-791-5775.

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