Rusty Nail

The iBar at Harrah's Casino, 777 Casino Center Drive, Maryland Heights; 314-770-8100

Aug 31, 2005 at 4:00 am
Where are the hot chicks? Where are the well-hung stallions living on the edge, playing roulette like they're in Monte Carlo? The wheeler-dealers? Where's the hot casino action? On billboards and in print ads, the newest addition to Harrah's St. Louis casino, the iBar, is up and running; the two dolls snuggling up to one another can't wait for us to arrive so they can party with us. We figured we were a shoe-in for some hot casino action.

We drove out here because we wanted to rub elbows not with fat grandmas, pathetic fathers and poker lemmings, but with sunshiny youth with money and time to burn. Yet when we arrive at Harrah's, immediately we're mingling with a bunch of Monday-night gamblers pumping coins into slots like popcorn into the mouths of moviegoers. It's a retirement village for insomniacs.

And the iBar?

Not yet up and running. Half is finished. The other half is a little construction zone with plywood propped up in a semicircular wall that will perhaps someday -- after the ad campaign has run its course, no doubt -- be a wall that will attempt to contain all the lithe hotties winning many Benjamins and drinking joyously.

Disheartened, we do what any good gambler would do: order some Scotch. The rusty nail is a grandpa drink that we've selected in honor of all of our brethren here. Named for its color, the drink has only two ingredients: Scotch whiskey (in the iBar's case, the Glenlivet twelve-year-old single-malt) and Drambuie, itself a blend of Scotch, honey, herbs and spices. The result is a hearty drink that will get your tired old ticker moving full-throttle again, and put a spring in your step that's been absent since LBJ was in the White House. Drambuie, of course, is the secret weapon. Where Scotch straight-up has too much bite for some people, Drambuie -- "the drink that satisfies" -- calms the single-malt, adds a sweetness that transforms the drink into something more refined.

Calm is what we're craving right now. We've never before gambled in a casino, so we're a bit nervous. We did, however, spend three summers in our youth playing video blackjack, and we got to understand the intricacies of the system. We hit 21 on the first hand, doubling our money. Within five minutes we are bulletproof. The rusty nail has permeated our system like Geritol, and we're moving in slow motion. Boom, double jacks. Hold. Bang, a hit on fourteen gives us nineteen, and we've tripled our money.

And then, of course, we learn what is obvious to most: You can't win here. You can succeed on a micro-scale, but in the long run, it's all gone. A string of dumbass decisions and bad luck leaves us with $2.50, not even enough for one more hand. Our account is dry. The only option is beneath us: We will not resort to exchanging blowjobs for chips in the parking lot. That's nasty.