The first thing that hits you is the smoke that follows you home. The second thing you notice is the older crowd of regulars drinking their beers as they give you a glance. The intimidating atmosphere lightens once you grab a seat at 4 Mile Bar, 3650 Boulder Highway.
The place is a classic dive bar. There are plenty of locals who have made it their second home. The dimly lit venue lacks pool tables but serves drinks for less than $3.
“The people that come here are those that live in trailer parks or down the street,” said Sherri Robinson, manager of the bar. “They treat us like family. For many customers, we’re the only family that they really have.”
Robinson said that since a lot of seniors who frequent the bar do not have family nearby, employees plan to throw an annual Thanksgiving potluck.
The 24-hour bar is also home to fans of the Denver Broncos. During game days, the bar is packed with fans, and employees sell hot dogs, hamburgers and offer free shots of peppermint schnapps whenever their team scores a touchdown, Robinson said.
The bar used to have a kitchen and sold food years ago before a law passed that prohibited smoking at bars that served food. Now the bar sells simple items such as chips, nuts and slices of frozen pizza.
“Since the bar lost its kitchen, business has been a lot slower,” bartender Denise Kelsey said. “But we still have our regulars who have been coming here for years.”
The bar also has an off-site liquor license for people who want to buy drinks to take home and sells cigarettes and coffee.
Soft country music fills the venue, and while there may be a couple of talkative people, the place is mainly filled with those who prefer to be alone.
Customer Pat Rybacki has been a regular at the bar for 11 years. She said she loves the it because all the customers know her and call her Miss Pat.
“I’m known as a nontalker,” Rybacki said. “I just do my counting and no one bothers me. They know Miss Pat likes to keep to herself.”
Rybacki added that the bar has had some problems with prostitutes who tend to frequent the surrounding neighborhood, but the locals have made it clear that working girls are not welcome at their hangout.
Besides that, Rybacki recalls that the only time there has been trouble at the bar was when a man walked in about six months ago and held everyone at gunpoint.
“Hell no, it didn’t frighten me,” Rybacki said. “The incident was just something that happens. The police were called, and he was later apprehended. Besides, the regulars here make me feel secure. I know that they will take care of me.”
The bar’s name is said to come from its location, which is 4 miles from downtown Las Vegas. However, Bob Joslin, who has owned the establishment for 22 years, said it has been around for about 60 years. He added that the name was inspired by the bar being 4 miles from the bus and train station in the central part of town. He also speculated that there might have been an infamous whorehouse called 4 Mile across from the bar.
Another customer attributed the name to prostitution, too.
“The name 4 Mile came from the four-mile marker for prostitutes,” said Ed Vincent, also known as Big Ed at the bar. “This is a good bar, though. The people here are respected, whether they’re locals or transient people.”
The bar has also become well known for hosting karaoke nights at 7 p.m. every Thursday and 8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday, with no set ending time. The event draws a younger crowd.
“The bar is fairly popular,” Joslin said. “It attracts a certain breed of people. It’s the type of place where the customers police themselves. It’s their bar. They take ownership.”
Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter Sandy Lopez at email@example.com or 702-383-4686.