There are food and drink specials, but they come with stipulations. There are only a pair of unisex one-seater johns to serve the main floor. Larger, multi-person variations await upstairs. Otherwise, the second floor is strictly for hardcore racing purists. You'll find more big screens and rows and rows of individual cubicles, each with its own monitor.
A nicely appointed bar along one wall sits closed most of the time. Wagering is available for races taking place across the U. Daily simulcasts bring live coverage from numerous tracks, so you can watch the action unfold. The racing form gives all the basic information, if you can figure out how to read it.
And of course, you can always just pick your winners based on their cute names. My personal experience aside, it's possible that Stretch Run can be an okay place if you're looking for something different. A few beers and a few bets can really get your adrenaline pumping. If you're hungry, there are literally other restaurants within walking distance, so my advice is to fill up first then head over to Stretch Run for a trifecta or two.
I just pray that you have a better time than I did I was dressed nicely and didn't smell, so is it my problem if the place attracts transients who order one wing? Our food eventually came not served by the waitress and was largely forgotten as soon as it was eaten. We sat there for about two hours and saw our waitress maybe three times. Thank god we had horse races to watch and lose in the interim. Though there were maybe 15 tables in the whole place, they had let them spread across the three downstairs seating areas and it became apparent that she was the only one on duty.
I felt bad for her, as she ran around like a chicken with her head cut-off. But at this point we wanted the check and she had perfected the art of not making eye-contact to avoid being summoned. The manager was leaning against a railing a few feet away watching TV, so my friend walked up and asked for the check, and almost as an aside said "I can't believe you only have one waitress on tonight.
As if my friend had told the manger to piss off, the manager blanched and yelled "Don't you know we're in a recession! Note: I worked in the service industry for years. Wait-staff gets paid well below minimum wage and receives zero benefits. They survive on tips. Lame excuse, if that was one. He continued: "You have no idea how much money this place is losing. We make hardly anything off the bets. Note: I have never heard management at any establishment offer up financial details of their apparently failing business.
Is their inadequate business model my fault? The high River North rent? Again, was this supposed to be an excuse? Instead of grabbing our check, the manager threatened to have us removed and stalked off to scream at the waitress in full ear-shot of other customers. Now mind you, neither one of us said a negative word either to or about the waitress.
The customers looked non-threatening and were at least a few bad experiences away from desperate. I wouldn't say Mud Bug was comfortable, but it wasn't sleazy, either. I immediately preferred the OTB environment to the vibe of a casino.
I don't like the dark, time-stands-still, outside-world-doesn't-exist, aspect of places like Harrah's. When I last set foot in a casino, I quickly felt isolated and disoriented. Once I perched myself in front of a slot machine, zipping through credits in a hypnotic state, I was completely cut off from everything else. If nothing else, the OTB felt more connected to the outside world than a casino, and it was definitely a more social experience. My friends and I dropped anchor at a table near the windows and ate, drank, and made stupid conversation for a solid two hours.
We never put ourselves at risk of traumatizing financial loss; the gambling was done at a very conservative level, and was really just a backdrop to our hanging out. Apparently, there are always races going on somewhere. I'm pretty sure I bet on a horse race in Costa Rica, and mostly sure I bet on a few more in California. Closed-circuit monitors line the walls of Mud Bug, piping in horse races from tracks around the world. Rather than succumb to sensory overload, we picked a few tracks to zero in on, and the process became more manageable and fun.
It was fascinating to watch the hardcore gamblers in the room. My friends and I assumed the hardcore group drank water to both avoid alcohol-fueled bad bets and to keep expenses down while gambling. The hardcores had their daily sheets splayed across their tables, allowing them to scrutinize every last detail of every race. There's a science to mastering the minutia of details like track type, historical performance, and jockey stats. As far as I'm concerned, I'm perfectly happy picking a horse because its name is "Lunar Fleet.
We had a great time, and more importantly, we didn't sit around the office, waiting for the party to start. Recommended [?
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