Wasn’t long ago that Atlantic City’s slot machines had honest to goodness handles that you could pull in hopes of a payout of a cascading stream of real coins. The apparent constant sound of metallic waterfalls made you think everyone was a winner on every pull of the handle. Of course we knew better. We knew every pull was a hit or miss proposition – usually miss.
Atlantic City isn’t what it used to be. The casinos have grown, improved and modernized. The slot machines have gone digital. Most of them don’t even accept real coins anymore and the cacaphony of cascading coins throughout the casino floor is just a digital sound file that could very well be pumping through the gaming floor’s sound system from one of the resort VP’s daughter’s iPods. Real coins aren’t the only things missing from the the slot machines these days. The slot handles are gone too.
Thankfully, the slot handles have been replaced by tap handles at Firewaters in the Tropicana. More thankfully, the payout odds with each pull of those handles is far better than the odds upstairs on the casino floor, in fact, the odds are perfect. Every pull of a tap handle at Firewaters guarantees a tasty payout.
Fifty craft and import brews on tap (OK, there are a few industrial swill spigots) and 101 bottled varieties. More than a handful of the available brews when I visited were impressive. A large selection is nice but a quality selection is far more important. I had a Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard and a Founders Breakfast Stout and if I was staying there that night I might have sampled a few more from the wall of taps which boasted Lagunitas, Great Divide, Left Hand, Smuttynose and plenty of others.
As an added bonus, the bartenders know their hops. Call me crazy, but I think you should know what you’re pouring, especially if you’re filling the glasses with some world class beers. You wouldn’t select a bottle of wine from a sommllier that raves about Sutter Home so you should expect the bartenders at a place with a respectable beer selection to respect the selection themselves. Anyway, our bartender, Sherri, knew her stuff and told us that management requires the staff to take tests on beer styles and brewers. Good for them. Good for us. Good for business.
So there are now 2 legitimate beercentric bars in Las Vegas’s poor step-sister city: the Tun Tavern Brewpub and Firewaters. Here’s hoping that the list grows! While hoping for that I’ll be sampling the bottled selections at Firewaters (to be certain there really are 101).