Rustic wooden tables and railings encircle the main bar. The floor, unfinished in most areas, compliments the assortment of Jack Daniels paraphernalia on the walls along with smashed guitars and hundreds of custom vanity plates. Chandeliers made of antlers and covered wagon wheels hang low from the ceiling. And to top off this journey into the southwest â€“ there's a mechanical bull.
This is, of course, Water Street's newest addition, the Red Rock Saloon, 1227 N. Water St.
From the doorstep, Red Rock takes a country western themed bar to a whole new level.
At 6 p.m. on a Thursday, young professionals fill the happy hour; most appear to have just left their offices. Sprinkled throughout the bar sit a few well-weathered folk, fully adorned in cowboy hats and dusty Wranglers.
The mechanical bull at this hour sits lifeless in the corner. Every now and then a group of patrons look up to gaze over at it, someone daring another to be the first rider of the evening. But the lights still seem too bright and the effects of the first drink are quickly absorbed by a plate of chicken wings or mini pulled pork sliders.
Past the garage doors, opening up into the back room, a band plays live pop songs with a country twist; the repertoire includes everything from the Bee Gees to Garth Brooks. The combination of well-known tunes sung with a country flare inspires dancing in a few couples and a group of girls.
After consuming the contents of a second mason jar (with handle and all), a new sense of liquid courage causes the first brave soul to bound shoeless across the inflated black riding area and crawl to the top of the bull. He struggles to get situated, his khaki pants stretched to hang both legs off the sides of the stuffed animal. With one hand gripping the leather strap hand the other raised in the air, he signals his readiness.
The bull bucks painfully slowly at first, and a goofy smile spreads across the face of the rider. Filled with a new sense of pride as the fifth and sixth buck hardly move him from his seated stance, he howls in full rodeo fashion and the crowd that has now assembled along the wooden fence breaks into applause. And then, without warning, the bull's pace quickly picks up. The rider slips, his gripping arm now fully extended, veins throbbing and knuckles whitening. It only takes one more ferocious jump for the rider to fly into the ballooned flooring, the bull remaining once again undefeated.
The atmosphere and unusual attraction make Red Rock a definite must-see. The Wild West adventure is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
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