BEST SAWDUST JOINT Phoenix 2005 - Bikini Lounge
In the parlance of gaming, a sawdust joint is a no-frills, lower-end gambling parlor, the kind of place where they might even have sawdust on the floor, but where you can still catch that betting buzz. Now, there's no sawdust on the floor of the Bikini Lounge, and there's not even gambling, unless you're wagering on when the cat next to you is going to try to light his cigarette the wrong way around. But if Phoenix is a player's paradise, then it follows that there are both sawdust juke joints of renown like Bikini for the common folk, just as there are "carpet joints" for the swells and pretty people. Actually, the 58-year-old Bikini caters to a wide array of PHX characters -- from First Friday revelers and penny-pinching Picassos on the make to brazen betties in low-cut tops and snooker aficionados from around the way making use of Bikini's one pool table in the back. The decor is old-school tiki, with a grass-skirted wahine on black velvet behind the bar. And the drinks are dead cheap. What else could you ask for in a sawdust joint? Oh, yeah, gambling . . .