As local resorts continue to move their bars and restaurants as close to Las Vegas Boulevard as possible, we’re probably destined for more and more Strip-front (or Strip-adjacent) “party bars.” After all, how better to attract the masses sucking down colored, sugary booze from giant plastic footballs than with an offer of spring-break-style debauchery right on the city’s main stroll? We already have Señor Frogs, PBR Rock Bar and Gilley’s (and to a lesser extent Harley-Davidson Café and Diablo’s Cantina). Now, Double Barrel Roadhouse joins the party.
Double Barrel is a large indoor-outdoor space that is part of the Monte Carlo’s newly designed façade. Its dark design is a slick, corporate version of a seedy Southern roadhouse. I’ve visited twice, and on both occasions the main entertainment was provided by college basketball, with a loud rock soundtrack during commercials. On weekends, however, I’m told bands and DJs perform while scantily clad ladies strut overhead on catwalks to fire up the crowd, before joining the action on the floor and encouraging people to dance. And folks chug custom cocktails from mason jars.
Like I said, it’s a party spot. And based on my visits, it seems to be attracting a multigenerational crowd. But I don’t get paid to review parties. I get paid to review food.
The menu here is split between Southern classics and basic bar snacks. The appetizers include mini-corn dogs, nachos, corn chowder and five types of sliders. But you’ll also find large plates of barbecue, fried chicken, chicken-fried steak and shrimp with cheesy grits. There’s also a decent selection of burgers and sandwiches.
Whenever a place tries to be both “big concept” and “down home,” its menu will inevitably include some piece of signature comfort food. It’s usually so over-the-top, ridiculous and bad for your health that people should be disgusted by the very idea of eating it. But it will sell, because it’s so over-the-top, ridiculous and bad for your health that people will want to tell their friends they’ve tried it. Here, that dish is the crispy meatloaf appetizer: meatloaf sliced into strips, breaded, fried and served with sweet bacon ketchup. I’ll be honest: If you’re ordering this out of curiosity or for bragging rights, you’ll probably enjoy it. The basic meatloaf is pretty decent and the ketchup is tasty. But, other than novelty, there’s no reason to fry it. And it’s a bit heavy for an appetizer.
On the flip side, while I realize upscale deviled eggs are everywhere these days, Double Barrel’s version is surprisingly simple and good. Their barbecue ribs are smoked in-house and very tasty (although I’d prefer the sauce on the side so as not to drown out the smokiness of the meat). And while the fried chicken could use just a touch more seasoning, it’s generally a satisfying dish. I also like the side of cheesy grits, although I’m neutral on the mac and cheese.
The only total disappointment so far has been the chicken pot pie. It’s basically a good recipe—a thick mixture of chicken, veggies and gravy topped with a flaky crust—but ours was poorly executed. While the gravy was hot enough to burn my mouth, certain vegetables were ice cold.
The atmosphere is clearly the star of the show here, and it’s not for everyone. But if you’re looking for a Strip-front spot to cut loose, drink, dance, hoot, holler and generally have a good time, Double Barrel Roadhouse at least offers better food than most of its competitors.
Double Barrel Roadhouse
In Monte Carlo, 222-7735.
Open for lunch and dinner 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. Sun-Thu, 11 a.m. – 4 a.m. Fri and Sat. Dinner for two, $40-$85.
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