Nan o’ War CHX: Vince Neil’s Tatuado

By Rutskarn
on May 3, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play

I’ve started a new job, which is good. But I haven’t played any more Blood and Gold: Caribbean!, which is bad. But I have just enough time to write a post. But I’ve run out of screenshots. But I have some I’d taken, but never used. But I don’t have much to say about them.

I think I’ve worked out a compromise. Today, I’m going to post my leftover screenshots of Blood and Gold: Caribbean! And on an entirely unrelated note, I am going to tell you about Vince Neil’s Tatuado.

Because no-one else will.

Last year my partner and I found ourselves with a surplus of time and money. Picture a pair of cavemen staring at a rack of newfangled smoked meat, shuffling restlessly and picking lice from their eyebrows, and you’ll have an idea of how gracefully we incorporated the concept. Ultimately we did what every other lightly stunned and temporarily comfortable couple on the West Coast does: we got into a car and drove across the desert to Las Vegas.

You may be aware that the Las Vegas strip is one of the most happening, neon-soaked, raucous destinations in America. That any hotel on the strip is an all-access pass to a party that never dies and never sobers. That there are suites to serve every taste and sensibility, basically all of which offer classic, clean, and comfortable experiences within walking distance of something interesting.

Or you can stay at the Circus Circus.

There’s a few reasons not to. For one thing, it’s an hour’s blistering walk from anything else interesting. It’s flooded with squalling bargain-seeking families. It has no famous dining or appealing shows. The escalator won’t work, the bartender won’t notice you, the gift shop won’t have your first name on its leering clown keychains. But it’s bargain priced–and besides, the parking’s convenient, and some of the rooms in the main tower aren’t bad at all for the value.

Or you can stay at the Circus Circus motel.

The rates are cheap, since you’re bunking with a nice cockroach family from Akron and since the twenty minute walk from the room to the main lobby leaves you too tired to go buy an overpriced meal somewhere else. We realized this far too late.

Our fate was foreshadowed pretty early in the evening, if only we’d had our horror glasses on. The poster was everywhere we turned–there in the lobby covered with scratched plexiglass, there tucked behind the info booth, there on the staircase to the rooms. On it was a man built from the Formerly Cool Rock Star template–trapezoidal build, desperate dye job, douche shades, fedora, unfitting wycked posture. Beneath his image was a glossy rack of ribs, which–and this is just about impossible to achieve–looked inedible. The joint advertised was named Vince Neil’s Tatuado.

I might remind you that I once ate Del Taco every other meal for nearly a month. I did not want to eat at Vince Neil’s Tatuado. But, shit–we had a coupon.

No well-designed casino floor is navigable, but we knew we were getting close when we spotted the fake cherry-red chopper and blazing marquee screened in cigarette smoke. By the time we reached the hostess, and were ushered into the din and shadow, the timbre of the music was starting to key us in to our mistake. See, it turns out that Vince Neil’s Tatuado wasn’t an appalling restaurant at all. It wasn’t actually a restaurant.

It was a bar.

It was a karaoke bar.

It was a karaoke bar in the Circus Circus on a Sunday night in Las Vegas.

We passed about four hundred already-edgy families and took our hot-rod styled stools, and the young barman took our orders and vanished. I remember feeling he was holding something back on us–like it was 1999 and this club was run by vampiresBottle of wine, sure. Just no names, okay?

Now, I don’t know where they got a creature up to running Vince Neil’s Tatuado on a Sunday night–but they did. As someone very much in touch with my physical and emotional limitations, I had to admire a man who’d transcended either.

“…and wowwhatabeautifulsong, just BEAUTIFUL tonight here at Vince Neil’s Tatuado EAT DRINK PARTY, absolutelywonderful and WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE?”

He thrust eight cents of plastic towards the crowd in his dripping fist.

“It’s a beaUTIFUL Vince Neil’s Tatuado souvenir folks you won’t find this anywhere else great reminder of Vegas ladies and gentlemen we’re giving this out right now ladies and gentlemen because this is VINCE NEIL’S TATUADO and we know how to PARTY.”

A few of the children cheered.

“And who’s it going to ohhh you know you want one of these for your very own and here it goes to THEEE LAADY IN THE PURPLE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN GIVE HER A HAND, WOW, WHAT A PRIZE BUT THERE’S A CATCH. You owe us…a SOOOOOONNGG!” His brow glowed with sweat as the woman protested feebly, no longer proud of her bauble. “YAGATTA COME UP HERE AND SING! SIING! GIVE HER A HAAND!”

His manic gestures seemed to rip her soul clean out of her body. A crisp round of applause pressed her to the stage.

So, Vince Neil’s Tatuado has an entire supply chain lined up to entrap and sonically exploit barflies. What made this even more perverse is that they seemed to lack no shortage of willing patrons, and that there was no gulf in quality between the conscripts and volunteers.

Our food arrived a few forced songs later. If you’ve ever been curious enough to bite a shoe, and persistent enough to chew a little, you might one day be hungry enough to order a steak from Vince Neil’s Tatuado. It came with a bottle of wine, with the idea that it’d kick in by the time you finished chewing your first few mouthfuls. The bottle had another, hidden characteristic: it held the seed of the volunteer. One by one, I watched desperate-eyed people climb that stage and belt breathless pop until they staggered free, sweating, to a cry of “AMERICAAN IDOL LADIESANDGENTLEMEN!” from the crypt keeper.

Before long, the lightweights had hiked back to their rooms and the bonafide regulars were sharpening their song-requesting pencils. Which led to one of the grimmer realizations of my adult life: Vince Neil’s Tatuado has regulars on a Sunday night. These included a grizzled old man of military bearing, ribbons pinned to his breast, who sat alone at the bar and watched the proceedings like he was witnessing his comrades’ deaths by firing squad.

“You know what time it is LADIES AND GENTLEMEN VINCE NEIL’S TATUADO EAT DRINK PARTY you know ONLY HERE we’ve got SHOTS FREE SHOTS ONLY HERE SHOTS NA NA NA!” The music whipped to the MC’s patter, following his loud whims like a phantom’s haunted piano. The dated rock backdrop gave way to out-of-touch trap thumping. “FREE SHOTS ONLY HERE AT VINCE NEIL TATUADO!” He approached the fever pitch of an Elmo tantrum–more mixed signals for the bemused tables of children. “SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS PAAARTY BUS!”

The barman carefully climbed onto the bar with his drinks mixer. I met his eye, gave a little waggle of my hand. I’m good. 

He shook his head flatly. The vampires had other plans.

A few moments later, I was craning my head back and an eyedropper of liquid was spraying my tonsils. I don’t know what it was. It tasted of chemical lime and cold sobriety. The veteran took his next–he did not crane his head, only folded his hands on his chest and parted his lips as subtly and somberly as a man takes communion. And then shots time was over, and the party bus tokyo drifted back into traffic.

A patron on stage, sweating like a beast, hanging off the mic stand. Somehow he’d managed to get seriously, big-league drunk. “OOOOOH! THIS SEX IS ON FIIIIREE!”

The tables of children shifted uncomfortably. In the gloom of the stage wings, the MC–capped now in a black fright wig–headbanged for the approval of no-one.

Fortunately, that’s about the last thing I can recall. Just one more detail that survived the greasy fugue:

Diamonds and Rust. And I goddamn killed it.

NEXT WEEK: WAIT, WHAT WAS I TALKING ABOUT

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20201454 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. Da Mage says:

    Congrats on the new job! Regular income is always a good thing to have.

  2. lurkey says:

    So you got to experience the near-authentic post-apocalyptic New Vegas? That’s cool! …well, maybe not literally, but you know what I mean.

  3. John says:

    I’ve never read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and now I don’t need to. Thank you, Rutskarn.

    I have detested Las Vegas for most of my life. At first it was because Las Vegas is in a truly terrible place for a large city. Then it was because of the time my family missed our connecting flight and got stranded in McCarron airport overnight where I spent untold hours failing to fall asleep to the sound of slot machines and Yakov Smirnoff on the public address system. Then I learned enough math that the mere thought of casinos makes me mad. So of course I married a woman whose parents live there and I’ve been going there at least once a year for over a decade now.

    • Droid says:

      As a soon-to-be mathematician, I can relate. Cigarette vendors have to put at least 5 cancer on every pack they sell, bartenders stop giving you alcohol at a certain level of inebriation, but casinos not only suck people dry of every semblance of money they will ever get, they go as far as to accuse people of cheating whenever they are actually smart enough to play a strategy that has you winning money on average. The hypocrisy!

      • evileeyore says:

        “…they go as far as to accuse people of cheating whenever they are actually smart enough to play a strategy that has you winning money on average. The hypocrisy!”

        See, here’s the thing. You’re supposed to gamble in a casino. If you are reliably winning money, you are no longer gambling, therefore, ergo, vis-a-vis, concordantly, you are cheating.

  4. Joey245 says:

    Dear god, Rutskarn.

    I don’t know how you survived that, but I’m very glad that you did.

    My favorite part, hands down, was your description of the steak. That was just perfect. Unlike the steak, which sounds like it was the exact opposite.

    Keep being awesome, buddy.

    • BenD says:

      By the time I reached the end of the story I was so overwhelmed by the rest that I had forgotten about the steak.

      So there’s verisimilitude for you. Rutskarn’s writing is so good he can give you a Vegas blackout by writing up to his Vegas blackout.

  5. djw says:

    I think I may be missing something. At what point during the evening did you dress up like a nun? Or was that part of the greasy fugue?

  6. Anorak says:

    I’m confused. Did you die? Did you get given wifi in hell?

  7. Son of Valhalla says:

    There’s a few reasons not to. For one thing, it’s an hour’s blistering walk from anything else interesting. It’s flooded with squalling bargain-seeking families. It has no famous dining or appealing shows.

    Mandalay Bay or Hard Rock Hotel, choose those instead. Circus Circus and The Stratosphere has a lot of squalor surrounding it.

    I remember when I was a host at a restaurant (near The Stratosphere), we had a guy walk in flailing his arms up and down and bending his back backwards and straight. He asked to use the bathroom, then politely and awkwardly walked towards the men’s restroom.

    After he left, I was informed he was on cocaine. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    Signed,

    Las Vegas resident

    • Dev Null says:

      I thought the squalor was the only reason to actually go to the strip. I mean, not Vegas as a whole – Vegas has some cool places in it – but the strip? It’s basically disaster tourism.

  8. Retsam says:

    My family stayed in Circus Circus when we were young and we were dragged to Las Vegas by an aunt getting married. It’s not a bad place to stay with kids, actually, which I imagine is largely the point. Yes, it’s a hike to virtually anywhere else, but that’s not really much of a downside when you don’t actually intend to go much of anywhere else.

    I recently went back for a work conference (because, of course, Las Vegas is the Mecca for work conferences), and, yeah, it’s not my kind of place. But, hey, the Bellagio fountains (you may remember them from the end of the modern Ocean’s Eleven) are worth seeing, so there’s that, I guess.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I dont know if that was intended,but I ended up reading those announcer lines in the voice of Cheech Marin.

  10. Zak McKracken says:

    Completely off-topic: I have stumbled several times while reading this because the hyphens and em-dashes (is that what they are?) are so hard to tell apart: ” shit–we had a coupon”, or “shit-we had a coupon”? Makes a small difference, doesn’t it?
    Now, I’m not an expert on typography, not even a native speaker, but I’d find this immensely easier to read with spaces before and behind the dash: “shit – we had a coupon”.

    • BenD says:

      Part of the problem is that Ruts is using en dashes (or the site is interpreting them as such). When using en dashes this way, spaces around them is super good.

      • Zak McKracken says:

        Ah, there are two different lengths, but they’re en dashes and hyphens, I suppose. Makes sense.

        It probably says more about me than about Ruts’ writing that I tripped over almost every one of them, but I’m used to having spaces left and right of any dash (em or en), and although I should be used to it by now, it still throws me off–topic like this never get old. (see what I did there?)

        Some experimenting later: Ah! Three hyphens in the editor will give you a proper em-dash—like this. Still looks weird to me but much easier to distinguish from a hyphen.

        • Philadelphus says:

          Stylistically (as a native English speaker) I’ve picked up that an em-dash doesn’t need spaces around it—like this—and is the proper dash to use between words, whereas an en-dash is what you use between number in a range (e.g., 2.4–2.8). A hyphen goes between two words that are thematically tied together, like “do-over” or “em-dash.” But this may not be universal practice, and a lot of people (even myself, in the past) use an en-dash between words with spaces on either side.

  11. Zak McKracken says:

    Thanks for confirming pretty much all my prejudices about Las Vegas.

    …says the guy who used to karaoke every week for two years, and still would if he could find a decent place to do so. In my view, there are two prototypes of karaoke venues: The ones where every other person believes they’re on some kind of talent show and need to “win” this thing somehow, and the one where most of the people are simply getting drunk and doing whatever they can to make fools out of themselves. Most places are a mixture of those two.

    …and then there’s that rare place where most of the patrons can actually hit a note or two and simply enjoy putting on a little show for the rest of ’em. Half of them are or were either in a choir or a band of some sort and just genuinely like singing. No drunk guys trying to sing “Bohemian Rapsody”*, no tipsy “Barbie Girl”**, and no Whitney Houston impersonators. Just people enjoying music in a more interactive way than sitting and listening to it.

    Gosh, how I miss that!

    * usually: 3 to 5 drunk guys, every single one of them attempting to sing every single voice of the song, but each in a different key.
    ** usually: 2 drunk guys, because isn’t that hilarious? Dudes singing Barbie Girl?

  12. Dev Null says:

    Circus Circus is awesome; distilled Essence of Sleazey Seventies with a topping of kids games. Just don’t convince yourself that you can walk to the rest of the strip – cab fare beats heat stroke any day.

    If you want to stay fairly near the middle of things (which I don’t recommend, but then my best advice for visiting Vegas is “see a show, walk the strip once peoplewatching, and then get the heck out while you still can”) the Motel 6 is actually pretty well-located, cheap, and the only hotel within a 5-mile radius that isn’t a specially-designed rat maze of cacophany with no real exits.

  13. Leslee says:

    I felt compelled to actually Google this establishment.

    And… G’ah! This is a real thing?!?!

    While I was never a fan of Mr. Neil and his Crue, I was a young adult during their heyday (1980s) and remember them at their peak. Seeing cultural contemporaries of this sort reduced to such cheesy dreck is a particularly unpleasant mortalistic slap in the face.

    Why do has-been celebrities frequently attempt restaurant/bar ownership? Do they get some sort of illicit tax break?

    Also, Vince needs to QA his website. The menu page has all of the appetizers listed twice. They probably shouldn’t even be listed once.

    • Rutskarn says:

      I don’t blame you for being skeptical. Sitting in the back, I clearly remember thinking: this is exactly the sort of place I’d make up for a fiction piece.

      Nope. It’s real. It’s so real it made me wonder if I was fake.

    • djw says:

      I remember the early 80’s as well, and I always thought Motley Crue (and the other hair bands) were cheesy.

      I have never heard of the establishment Rutskarn patronized before today, but it is exactly the sort of place that I would have expected Vince Neil to attach his name too, if I had ever bothered to wonder about that sort of thing.

      The only thing that would have surprised me even less is if it had been a Gene Simmons enterprise instead.

      • djw says:

        Actually, now that I think on it, my negative opinion of Motley Crue and their ilk developed later (late eighties, early nineties). I had a roommate in college who listened too them incessantly and I developed a hatred for the music over time.

        To be fair, I’m sure he hates Rush and Led Zeppelin for similar reasons.

      • Son of Valhalla says:

        At least Vinnie Paul opened up a restaurant, not a bar.

    • Fade2Gray says:

      Also, if you find the hours of operation at the bottom of the page , they’re listed as “7AM – 12AAM”.

      That second “A” seems like a bit of a Floridian slip.

    • mwchase says:

      I’m blown away by some of the decor they chose to showcase. An illuminated sign with a watercolor-looking rainbow background, with “TATUADO” on it in comic sans?!

  14. Nimrandir says:

    I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the pronunciation on Tatuado. I first went for “tatwahdoh,” but then I started thinking they were going for a terrible “tattoo – ado” rhyme thing.

    Also, my cursory Google search indicates this establishment’s name actually has the phrase “Eat Drink Party” appended to it.

    I no longer have words.

  15. Benjamin Hilton says:

    Congratulations on the new job. Also, I have very rarely laughed so hard at someone else’s pain, and I’m not certain if that’s a compliment to your writing skill or a testament to how bonkers that adventure was.

  16. Eric says:

    On the other hand, THE Steak House (yes, capitalized like that) at Circus Circus is pretty good, if pricey.

    Source: Las Vegas Native.

  17. baseless_research says:

    the tripadvisor reviews seems like this is a neat place to go. Further proof that most people have no taste.

  18. The bottle had another, hidden characteristic: it held the seed of the volunteer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2CE0DjDdVA&feature=youtu.be&t=3s

    • LCF says:

      It seemed a litterary way to say people getting drunk were easily coaxed into singing.
      Feels integrated into the rest of the story.
      Awesome story, by the way.

  19. Sharnuo says:

    You, sir, have noticeably brightened a very shitty week/month/year with that excellent story. Well done.

  20. SoranMBane says:

    Ya know, the Ultra Luxe and Gomorrah from New Vegas suddenly seem like somewhat less sketchy places to eat. At least Gomorrah doesn’t have conscripted karaoke singers (just an army of strippers), and the steaks at the Ultra Luxe are by all accounts very tasty (even if it’s questionable whether or not it’ll actually be made of cow…).

  21. tremor3258 says:

    This is a wonderful retelling of your journey into madness, and I appreciate the sacrifice.

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