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September 15, 2014

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Last Call!”: Two words you wouldn’t expect to hear on The Strip

So it’s come to this: Things are so bad that the words “Last call!” could be heard at a bar inside a Strip hotel recently.

Last call? Really? In the 24-hour city, a city where you can get a scotch on the rocks with your eggs? Last call in the city where you can stumble out of a bar into the bright, early-morning sunlight because the barman has had enough of you, and sure enough, you can find a new place, packed with like-minded souls?

Last call. It’s a forlorn phrase — the end of hope, the gathering of dread. A phrase long banished from here.

But apparently not.

The “last call” was heard about 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night, when a co-worker and his Irish relatives were drinking at the Centrifuge, the round bar in MGM Grand with the sculpture vaguely resembling sails of ship.

One of the relatives looked surprised. Last call in Vegas?

Must be a joke, the co-worker said.

No joke, the cocktail server said. When the customer count dips too far to cover the overhead, we close the place, she said — some nights as early as 11.

Mike Green, the Nevada historian, was rueful.

“I hope it’s not a sign this is the last call for Nevada’s economy,” he said.

There were once regulations on last call, he said, but not since World War II, and ever since then, we’ve been known as the city with no last call.

“Frank Sinatra said the problem with Las Vegas is that there’s nothing to do between 8 and 9 a.m.”

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