Checking out a place made famous (or infamous) by a television show or a movie or a song is always a little bit risky. Can the real Cheers ever live up to its boob tube facsimile, especially without Norm or Cliff or Sam? Will you ever see Chelsea Hotel like Leonard Cohen did? A trip to the ER without George Clooney is not nearly as fun. You get it.
That said, it's understandable if you're a little wary of Sin City's Coyote Ugly. The movie was full of people dancing on bars, people being rowdy, people having a blast. How can a real-life bar possibly be so full of life?
Oh, but it is.
Coyote Ugly (the movie) was actually based on Coyote Ugly (the bar), located in New York. So the proper formula has already been perfected, or perfected enough to inspire a movie. And Vegas is great at nothing if not taking something and adopting it as our own.
Located inside New York-New York (how fitting!), Vegas' Coyote Ugly is everything you never knew you wanted in a bar, because it's actually full of less stuff than a normal bar.
There are no fancy cocktails -- do a shot or drink a beer if you're thirsty.
There are no fancy, big-name DJs -- pick a song on the jukebox.
There are no fancy million-dollar interior design concepts -- take a look at some flags and bumper stickers on the wooden walls.
There are no fancy places to sit -- just a serviceable back room with a few spots to rest.
Really, there's no fancy, period.
And what precious few things Coyote Ugly does have in common with other bars, they put their own spin on. Bars need bartenders, but Coyote Ugly takes it a step further with sexy female "Coyotes" pouring the shots (and calling them). And if they're not doing that, they're probably dancing on the bar and, would you look at that, your girlfriend just joined them (men, it should be mentioned, are quite welcome in the bar, but not on the bar). It's actually a lot like the movie, minus the structured narrative running through your night.
Although Coyote Ugly is managed by Pure Management Group -- the same folks that run several of Sin City's swankiest nightclubs -- it's not your typical Vegas night out. There's very little pretension and very little coddling. If you're in town to be pampered, Coyote Ugly might not be the place for you. If you're in town to have a good time without all the pomp and circumstance, it probably is.
If, upon leaving, you should find yourself leaving a metaphorical piece of yourself (say, your heart) behind, why not leave something tangible? Your bra can join the others on the wall. Should you find yourself without a bra, but with a guy in a tie, go ahead and donate J.Crew's finest neckwear to the wall instead. (Incidentally, if you want to take something with you instead of leaving something behind, there's a gift shop for just that purpose.)
We'll be honest, we can't guarantee you'll end up with a promising future in singing or an attractive Australian boyfriend, like in the movie, but a loud, raucous heck-of-a-night is probably in store for you. And who's going to feel let down by that?
-- Review by Jamie Helmick