The Tao of foos

Once upon a time, foosball tables in Las Vegas were like the buffalo. You could find one anywhere—the Tap House, PT’s, Pink E’s. I don’t know what happened, but I can tell you that real foosball tables today are all but extinct. Yeah, I know there are “foosball tables” scattered all around the Cosmopolitan. But those aren’t real tables. Those are toys.

A “real table” means the Tornado brand. They’re big and bawdy, and the balls you play with are scuffed so you can “toe” ’em (if you know how). There’s usually a dedicated light fixture hanging above, and sometimes a rail where you can set your beer. Real foosball, man!

So where are they? I’ve looked and looked. I’ve called friends. I’ve asked every bartender I’ve run into in the past month. Still, I know of only five bars in the Valley that still offer the game. Here’s the list.

• The Bikini Bar, 3355 W. Spring Mountain Road at Polaris Avenue, gives you seven balls for 50 cents. The bartenders wear bikinis, and I get the feeling this might be a cool place soon. A Tornado foosball table is a good start.

• Crown & Anchor British Pub, 1350 E. Tropicana Ave., has had a table upstairs for years. This one also gives you seven balls for 50 cents. It’s pretty beat-up. No matter. C&A also has the great lunch comp for a $20 video poker buy-in that I’ve written about in this column before. Lunch, beers, video poker and foos. I like.

• Money Plays, 4755 W. Flamingo Road, is just west of the Palms. I absolutely love this bar, but it has the worst of the five foosball tables referenced here. You get only six balls for 50 cents, and the table is busted—one side has no handle on the goalie stick and a leg is broken off the right-hand defender on the same side. Terrible, right? Not necessarily. The biggest challenge good foosball players face is getting a game. This table gives you the built-in handicap necessary to make matches (some of you out there are smiling).

• CD’s Sports Lounge, 3025 E. Desert Inn Road, also takes 50 cents, but here you get nine balls. Nine balls means you’re guaranteed to get a full game to five for paying one time. Now you’re talkin’.

• And now, the deal. The venerable Rum Runner, 1801 E. Tropicana Ave. at Spencer Street, has a table that gives you nine balls for 25 cents. Are you kidding? Six balls for 50 cents is 8.33 cents per ball. Seven-for-.50 is 7.1 cents per. And the nine-for-.50 at CD’s works out to 5.6 cents per. At Rum Runner you’re playing for 2.8 cents per ball. Winner!

Are there more out there? Let me know.