May 2011 “Drunk of the Month” Aaron Olson has sure pulled himself together. He recently teamed up with local DJ Jeremy Espinosa to redesign the Dino’s website, dinoslv.com, as part of Dino’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Rinaldo “Dino” Bartolomucci bought the club 50 years ago from notorious mobster Eddie Trascher. Dino passed the club on to his son, Chuck, who passed the club on to his daughter, Kristin Bartolo. You can find Kristin behind the bar on any given night.
“I own the club, but I work behind the bar, too. It keeps me connected. I know all the customers.” That’s what Bartolo tells me at the party last Thursday. So I challenge her on it.
“Who’s that?” I ask, pointing to a table in the middle of the Las Vegas Boulevard bar.
“That’s Megan, that’s September and that’s her boyfriend—well, was her boyfriend, Josh.”
Good enough for me.
“And it looks like you’ve already met Aaron ...” Aaron-the-web-designer, like a handful of others, visits Dino’s every week.
“It’s the last real neighborhood bar in this city,” he says. “PT’s and Kopper Keg feel like neighborhood bars, but Dino’s is the real thing. There’s only one.”
And Aaron isn’t afraid to step onstage for karaoke, either. “Last time I sang ‘My Heart Will Go On,’” he says.
At 9:40 p.m., emcee Danny G arrives. Exodus to the sign-up sheet. Performances began at 10:20.
At 10:30, I “check in” on Facebook and show my cellphone screen to one of the bartenders, who gives me a raffle ticket to win a hoodie.
An hour later, local musician Mackly Prophete shows up and “checks in.” He says that if he wins a hoodie, he’ll give me it to me. For some reason, Mackly, who is black, hasn’t been keen on wearing hoodies these past few weeks …
When it’s my turn to karaoke, I sing Cee Lo’s “F*ck You,” then Tiny the bouncer (wearing a “Tell your mom to stop texting me” shirt) sings Justin Timberlake, and magician Tom “That 1 Guy” Ferranti sings Sinatra.
I end the night with a Venezuelan arepa from the nearby food stand—shredded beef, bell pepper, onion, tomato, garlic. Now, maybe it’s just the garlic talking, but I can see myself coming back to Dino’s in the very near future. I’ve got a long way to go before I win the coveted “Drunk of the Month” award, though.