Where to Escape the Football Crowds

Carson Kitchen | Photo courtesy of Bunnyfish Studio

Carson Kitchen | Photo courtesy of Bunnyfish Studio

Is it possible to escape football when drinking and dining in Las Vegas?

You don’t like how your favorite dining haunts become de facto sports bars for five months a year? I feel your pain. While living in Summerlin, I quickly learned to avoid my go-to Italian joint on Monday nights in the fall, when the inescapable pallor of a flat screen would turn my otherwise dark, relaxing escape into a frat party.

For a city with no pro sports team, those distracting TVs are seemingly everywhere, including places where they compromise atmosphere in hopes of capturing a few extra bucks. Even strip joints started rolling out the big screens in recent years, which, according to my well-placed sources, might be good for Monday night booze sales, but they’re bad for the dancers’, uh, bottom lines. After all, what red-blooded American man wouldn’t look past a nearly naked hottie to see if Calvin Johnson caught that pass?

Still, despite the dining and shopping and nightlife subcultures, Vegas remains a gambling town, and sportsbooks are a huge part of that—with football easily the king. Which is why asking a bar manager to switch just one of 20 screens showing the same three football games to the finals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament is never a good idea. Try it!

Fear not, though, as there are still a few places in town that actually shun the screen. Some of my favorites: Herbs & Rye, Park on Fremont, Sambalatte, Echo & Rig, Velveteen Rabbit and Carson Kitchen. Know of some others? Drop back and pass them my way.

Why does Vice magazine hate Vegas so much?

Easy: Vice hates everything! To that end, it loves to lend space to the kind of self-loathing navel-gazing I admittedly scribbled in my 20s. To keep you from suffering through another link posted by a well-meaning friend, here’s a David Letterman-esque primer on why Vice and just about every other outside media outlet—not to mention every teenager living here—hates Sin City:

  • We’ve got nothing but douchebags and hoes.
  • It’s a cultural wasteland.
  • Tony Hsieh, Guy Fieri and that dude who bought Beauty Bar.
  • Hot! Expensive! Strippers!
  • Gambling. Casinos. Smoking.
  • There’s nothing to do here.
  • UNLV sucks.
  • Bottle service.
  • Sex! Money! Sex! Booze! Sex!
  • The high school dropout-turned-$100k-a-year valet parker … What an asshole!

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