Membership has its privileges: beer

When you live in Las Vegas, you tend to take some things for granted. Like having 24-hour access to world class dining and entertainment. The idea of “last call” is completely foreign to us. But on a recent trip to Texas, I ran in to something I had never had to deal with before; a dry county.

I am a big fan of several bands who frequently play in Texas. So as soon as we booked our trip, the next thing I did was check the tour schedules for the bands. At first I was thrilled when I found out all but one of the bands was playing in Texas the week I would be there. But then geography class came rushing back and I realized that “in Texas” didn't mean “close to where I will be in Texas.” Luckily, Mickey and the Motorcars were going to be playing in Denton which was only 90 minutes away. So we headed out early and made our way to the Rockin Rodeo.

After stopping for some awesome BBQ at Rudy's, we made our way to the bar, arriving at 8:00 exactly. The sign says the doors open at 8, and I'm surprised to find there is nobody there. The doors are locked and we have to wait about 10 minutes for somebody to finally open them.

We are greeted by the cashier. She asks for our IDs and $10 for the cover charge. Todd is first to hand her his ID. She swipes it in a machine, prints out a receipt and asks Todd to fill in his name, address and phone number. As he is filling it out, it dawns on him to ask, since we are paying cash, why would she need this information. She goes on to explain the following:

“This is a dry county, so in order for us to be able to sell alcohol, we are designated as a private club and to enter you need to become a member.”

OK, this isn't the first time I have seen places bend rules to fit their needs. Hell, we have laws in Vegas that say you can't smoke in places that serve food, but I know a dozen places where you could still ask your waitress for an ashtray. Even still, I found it entertaining that they were dancing their way through this loophole.

We were probably the only people in the club for the next 20-30 minutes. It finally started to fill up an hour or so later, and the opening band hit the stage. We noticed that several of the patrons had writing on the back of their hands. In big black marker it said “X-18”. We found out that the club isn't restrict to 21 and over. People who are “of age” get a fluorescent green wristbands that let's the bartender know it's cool to sell you beer. While the youngsters get a marking that will last through a week of showers. I had to laugh when I saw one of these under-aged guys drinking a beer using the hand with the huge marking. I would think he would want to stuff that hand I'm his pocket while drinking the beer to keep from getting thrown out…

One other oddity about the club were the restrooms. I have been to sporting events were the restrooms have a trough that dudes line up at to take a leak shoulder-to-shoulder. But, if a place goes to the trouble to install urinals, I have become accustomed to having dividers between them. Not here.

The show was great and the place, oddities and all, was really pretty cool. I could definitely see myself going to another show there. Why not, I am already a member!

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  1. James D Kirk on April 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    John, I always thought you were one weird dude, but your in depth reporting of the divider-less urinals definitely confirms my suspicions! Keep your eyes looking forward, buddy!

  2. vegasgeek on April 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Hey! I wasn't going in search of dividerless urinals! I don't make the news, I just report it!!! 😉

  3. Dan on April 16, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Texas is a LAND of cultural oddities. New is clashing with traditional quite boldly in many parts. Too bad you had only a short stay, because the longer you're there the more oddities you'd see. Lived in Austin for 11 years myself, East Texas for six years before that, and I have STORIES.

    But since when is Denton a dry county??? I almost went to school there (U of North Texas was my backup for UT Austin) and that would have been a shame.

    As for the underage drinking with a wink, yeah… Been there done that. 😉

  4. Lloyd Banks on April 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    As the owner of the rockin rodeo I would like to let you know that the memberships are not a loophole and not our choice…trust me they are a pain in the ass but it is the law…look it up. As far as the dividers, you buy a bar and put dividers in and see how many times you have to replace them before you say the hell with it and pull them out. We also have stalls if you are concerned about someone checking out your business. I am thrilled you had a good time and hope to have you back soon now that you are a member and all. We have a lot of great shows on Thursdays and weekends are great around here as well. Thanks for coming out!

    Lloyd Banks – President
    Rockin Rodeo Denton
    RBAR Denton
    Lucky Mule Saloon Abilene
    [email protected]

    • vegasgeek on April 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      Lloyd, I fully understand that the loophole I mentioned wasn't you guys doing something outside the law. That's not what I meant at all. I think that the way clubs like yours have to jump through hoops to stay within the law and yet still do what you want to do is…. well, amusing. My family has owned a restaurant for 30+ years, so I know full well what sort of crazy rules and regulations they can slap on you for what seems like any reason they feel.

      And about those dividers… Again, I totally understand your reasoning. That doesn't make it any less odd to me.

      and one last thing, like I said, your place is pretty darn cool and I was stoked for the chance to see MMC while I was there. If we didn't live hundreds of miles away, we'd be regular customers… especially now that we're members. 😉

      Keep on Rockin!

    • vegasgeek on April 16, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      Wait, forgot one more thing. The website says that "Dress code is strictly enforced," but nowhere does it say what that dress code is. We made sure to wear jeans, shirts with collars and figured we were doing just fine. And we were. When we saw the guy walking past us wearing a tshirt, shorts and flip-flops, well, we had to laugh and wonder what on earth was strictly being enforced.


  5. Jeffrey Griffith on April 18, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    I think that it is great that even in dry counties establishments still find a way to bend the rules and serve alcohol, I am surprised that it took as long as it did though to fill up the bar 🙂

  6. william on May 11, 2010 at 7:39 am

    I know what you mean. It's going to be odd going back home to visit my parents in Oklahoma and Texas have living here in Vegas for so long. I've gotten use to being able to pretty much get what ever I want any time of day or night I want.

    I'm not sure about the Denton area, but in some parts of Texas you can drink at 18 if you're parents buy you the drink.

    P.S I found you're blog, because of jay.