VICE: Lunch, and possibly dessert, at Sheri’s Ranch
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Need a place to take out-of-town guests, but tired of the usual? Sure, Mon Ami Gabi has a great view of the Bellagio fountains … but do you really want to spend $20 on greasy steak frites while watching SpongeBob and Batman molest tourists again?
Next time, take them someplace they’ll really remember: the bar and grill at Sheri’s Ranch.
A 60-mile drive away, in lovely Pahrump, Sheri’s sits at the end of a two-lane road at the far edge of town — right in the heart of the brothel district, next to its chief competitor, the quaint gingerbread fortress known as the Chicken Ranch. But where the locked-down Chicken Ranch doesn’t take kindly to looky-loos, Sheri’s has a very welcoming “come one, come all” policy. The doors are always open, and the sports bar and grill is a fun, friendly place to grab a bite — even if you don’t want dessert.
Yes, Sheri’s Ranch is a working brothel, possibly the only working brothel in America that also serves cheeseburgers and cocktails. The atmosphere is that of a neighborhood bar staffed by gorgeous, scantily-clad women, sort of like Cheers crossed with the Spearmint Rhino.
After lunch, inquire with the hostess about a tour; one of the girls will show you around. I’ve toured Sheri’s twice, and both times my guide was surprisingly attractive and well-spoken. Your preconceived notions of prostitutes will be challenged after a visit here — these are really good-looking women who seem to enjoy what they do and feel no shame about it.
The tour starts in the parlor, a large, airy room furnished in a sort of Ethan Allen bordello chic, with huge windows affording sweeping views of the tennis courts, swimming pool, volleyball area and theme bungalows. Sheri’s is a bona-fide resort, with a hotel wing and a spa and everything — this ain’t no trailer in the outback. In the parlor, customers sit on a huge, gilt-edged sofa and select from the lineup of available women. A menu of services sits discreetly off to the side, but it doesn’t mention prices — in a classy joint, those discussions take place in private.
From the parlor, your guide will let you peek into the theme rooms. There’s a dungeon, and a jacuzzi room wallpapered in Budweiser logos (Sheri’s being the only brothel in America to have a room sponsored by a major beer company). There’s even a small fine-dining room, with an elegantly-appointed table for two: While working, the women aren’t allowed to leave during their week-long stay, so if a client wants to take his lady to dinner, he can do it here. The lighting is low, the tablecloth is linen, the dishware is fine china and you would never know you weren’t at the Ritz, if not for the little sign on the walnut sideboard: “CONDOMS REQUIRED AT ALL TIMES.”
I made sure to tip my tour guide $20, but she seemed genuinely happy to show me around. Oddly, here in the land of fakery, Sheri’s Ranch is utterly devoid of pretense. They’re upfront about what they do: sell sex and cheeseburgers — and I’m here to tell you, the cheeseburgers aren’t bad.