In a city that has longed to become more like Hollywood than the cow-town it started off as, it was no surprise that for a long period of time it was easier to find an all-night Italian rock bar that served rare sushi than it was to find a place where wearing a cowboy hat was acceptable.
But after spending the last 80 or so years getting away from Vegas' roots, the city has made being country cool again thanks to the sprouting of several country clubs -- like Gilley's Saloon, Dance Hall and Bar-B-Q.
Once a proud staple at the New Frontier, it's now resides in the TI. So visitors to Las Vegas (whether they have a cowboy hat or not) can walk right off the Strip into an authentic country-style saloon complete with parquet dance floor, saddle bar stools and four statues of the iconic Jack Daniels himself.
And for those looking to take the country lifestyle one step further, you can try your luck at riding the mechanical bull. The bull is operated by a longtime professional mechanical bull operator (we didn't know there was such a profession) and has an inflatable ring around it for your safety and a waiver for you to sign for Gilley's safety.
But you don't have to have calluses on your hands and a wad of chew in your lip to get on this bull. On Sunday nights all you need is a bikini. The bikini bull riding competition often attracts about 20 competitors and, of course, a throng of male onlookers.
Much of the music played at Gilley's is, of course, country with a bit of rock mixed in, but some Top 40 is played sometimes depending on the crowd. So that means you should probably brush up on your two-step. But if you don't know how to line dance, come a little early (around 7 p.m.) on most nights and take part in the free lessons from a professional instructor.
Live bands play every Friday and Saturday night as well.
If you're just looking for a quick drink, or at least something to take with you, we suggest grabbing one of the boot souvenir cups, which are nearly 40 ounces.
-- Review by Justin Lawson
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