Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cafe Royale (Farmingdale, NY)

Quality of dances (8/20) – I was happy with the one-way contact, complete with some skillful knee grinding, but disappointed that I got the feeling the action ended there. With a club full of Russians (see Variety/Diversity below), my expectations are always sky high, and it’s crushing when they fall short. These girls were handcuffed by the dance setup, for sure, so who knows what tricks they might pull with more privacy; it may be worth giving the back room a shot, but until I see it, I just can’t believe it.

Quality of dancers (4/10) – I love Long Island girls, so I was really disappointed at the lack of homegrown talent. When I’m on Strong Isle, I expect the girls to look like tanner, sluttier versions of Katy Perry or thicker versions of Drea de Matteo. If they didn’t spend ninety minutes putting on makeup before they left their house that morning, I’m just not interested. These women, while not unattractive, weren’t really making it happen.

Number of dancers (4/10) – No matter what the club size, no matter what the club location, half a dozen dancers on a Saturday night is not acceptable. I demand more.

Variety/Diversity of dancers (3/5) – This category is a little tricky to rate for Café Royale. At first glance, there appeared to be significant diversity: a black girl, a Filipino-looking girl, and a few white girls with varying skin tones. So far, so good, until I started talking to them and found out that, with the exception of the black girl, every one of them was Russian, even the faux Filipino. And so were both bartenders. I half-expected to open the wrong door and see a bunch of bears riding unicycles or Teddy KGB chewing on Oreos. I think we’ve all heard stories about the Russian mob importing strippers to work in New York, so maybe that’s what’s going on here. Or maybe Farmingdale just reminds these girls of the Motherland. Who knows.

Body type diversity was definitely lacking. I didn’t see a single lap dance ass when I was there. Having spent tons of time on Long Island, I know there are plenty of such asses available, so it was a letdown that they didn’t find their way to the club.

Attitude of Dancers (3.5/10) – Nothing really significant to report here. The shortage of dancers made it a little difficult to get anyone’s attention. When they did come around, they were friendly enough, but with a business-like vibe. I definitely wouldn’t describe them as particularly outgoing or fun. Nor would I say they are the ice-cold hustlers that you often encounter working a floor.

Value (5/10) – I have to be honest: I was really drunk when I got to this place, so I don’t remember what the cover was. I was traveling with a cheap dude who doesn’t really like strip clubs, so I’m sure it was $5 or less on a Saturday night, because he wouldn’t have paid it otherwise. As for the cost of drinks, I can’t give a definite answer there either, seeing as I signed the tab without looking at individual drink prices and then proceeded to leave both my ID and credit card at the club. However, some research on their website indicates that drink prices are relatively inexpensive ($3 domestics during all football games, $5 for any drink during Happy Hour). That leads me to think that Miller Lites were something in the range of $5 on my random Saturday night, which is passable. At $20, dances provide standard value. Stage value was basically non-existent (see Club Setup below).

Dance Setup (1/10) – Tremendous fail here by Café Royale. Standard dances occur in a slightly-raised part of the club, maybe 15 feet back from the bar, which is filled with rolly chairs, tables and a few benches. The tables and chairs are obviously for hanging out, and it seems that the benches are the prime dancing spot when this particular area is packed. Whether your dance occurs in a rolly chair or on a bench, privacy is impossible, with nearly the entire club having an unobstructed sight line to your spot.

Club Setup (3.5/10) – Very standard blah setup here. A horseshoe-shaped bar sits in the middle of the club, lined with a few dozen chairs. On each side of the bar are raised areas that are filled with a small handful of tables surrounded by rolly chairs (talked about in Dance Setup). All those things are well and good, and though not incredible, those parts of the setup aren’t dreadful either. However, the stage location is just brutal. It sits inside the bar (like Mons Venus in Tampa or the Playground Lounge in Atlantic City), making any close interaction with dancers impossible. Over the years, strip club patrons have developed a perfect system for getting a dancer’s attention for some personal stage action. Step 1: Sit at the stage. Step 2: Fold a dollar bill (or two or three) in half and place it on the edge of the stage. Step 3: Wait for tits and ass to come your way. It’s simple, it’s elegant, it’s ideal. But with an internal stage, it can’t happen. The five foot separation created by the bar makes any sort of interaction weird and awkward. Dancers have a hard time targeting any specific moves. And tipping requires both the tipper and the dancer to lean way over and reach out their arms to exchange any cash (it resembles the scene at a drive-through when you accidentally pull up too far from the window). Not acceptable.

Club Atmosphere (5.5/10) – I was happy with the music and the general vibe, especially for Long Island. I half-expected to hear only house music and Billy Joel for the entire night, but the DJ played it relatively safe and stuck mostly to the classics. If I remember correctly, the lighting definitely could have been lower, but it wasn’t anything particularly uncomfortable. Really, this is the type of place that has a neutral-enough feel that your individual group can make the atmosphere whatever you want it to be (whether you’re just grabbing a few beers or really getting after it). My only complaint is the modified tip-walk that girls do on stage. It’s always a buzzkill to be sitting at the bar trying to enjoy a beer or watch a game, only to have a dancer drop the “Pssst, aren’t you gonna tip me?” I don’t blame the dancers; the internal stage setup basically forces them to do this shit, but it still sucks.

Club Accessibility (1.5/5) – On the one hand, Club Royale is directly off of Route 109 and just a stone’s throw from the Southern State Parkway. On the other, it’s in fucking Farmingdale, smack in the middle of Long Island, and totally inaccessible by any means other than a car (or a wedding transportation bus that you make pull over on the side of the road and drop you off on your way back to the hotel).

Overall – In many ways, this club is a Long Islander’s dream. You can buy some unnecessary shit at Walmart, catch a movie at the Regal 10, eat some overpriced babyback ribs at Chili’s, fist-pump at some douchey club called The Crazy Donkey (which I was really hoping was a Tijuana-style strip club), then see some titties, all without driving your Camaro more than half a mile. However, for those of you who don’t love strip malls and jagerbombs, Café Royale is mediocre at best.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Scores (New York, NY)

Quality of Dances (6/20) - Scores really shot itself in the foot with its stage setup. There are no poles, rails, or other props. No seats are affixed to the stage (although one could roll over a chair if he were so inclined). This creates the interesting dynamic of having to stand and deliver for special attention. Mostly, the dancers looked like deer in headlights up there without something to hold onto.

For a private dance, I cherry-picked the best stage performer, a little blonde hard body with decent curves who called herself Jesse. In my experience, a good stage presence usually translates well to the lap, but not always. Jesse was one of those exceptions. Her dance ranked up there with one of my all time worst – a complete dud. No energy, no interest, minimal contact. In her defense, fight coverage began just as our dance started, and the DJ inexplicably turned off the music to broadcast the playing of the national anthem. Obviously not one for patriotism, Jesse was thrown off her game big time. If she had shown any effort whatsoever I would have given her a mulligan, but unfortunately there was nothing redeeming about the dance.

Scores receives some points here, though, for what looked like decent dances and a fair amount of grinding from the transactions I spied taking place on the main floor. Indeed, one dancer in particular utilized a pretty heroic thrusting maneuver that Peter had never witnessed before; kudos to her for picking up the slack saving this category from ruin.

Quality of Dancers (7/10) - Scores has its share of beautiful girls, and most are young. I saw only one real stunner, however. Like most other New York City venues, Scores is topless only.

Number of Dancers (5/10) - For a Saturday night special event, the number of dancers circulating in the club seemed merely adequate. With the amount of money getting thrown around by the Wall Street-types, a lot of dancers were surely preoccupied in the private and semi-private sections. One host’s claim that between 40 and 60 dancers were working that night was laughable. When I asked a dancer, she estimated from 20 to 30 dancers were working.

Variety/Diversity of Dancers (1/5) - With the amount of blonde girls running around, I was afraid Scores had transported me into a Hugh Hefner wet dream. I was shocked at the lack of variety. The usual trip to a New York City club is like the “It’s a Small World” at Disney World, but with more silicone. Not at Scores. There were a handful of black girls, but I did not see one ethnically-identifiable Latina or Asian. I did not meet any Eastern Europeans or Russians; only dancers with names like Jesse and Betty. The Scores cast fails the diversity test with respect to body type, as well. Those with a taste for thicker, curvier dancers would have been disappointed by the selection.

Attitude of Dancers (2/10) - As would be expected, I found the dancers less friendly as the night went on and the club filled up. Like the fighters we were watching on the flat screens, the dancers all had their eyes on the prize, and our conversations got down to brass tacks fairly quickly. On the bright side, their cool, business-like indifference didn’t lead to any flak that I sometimes get when politely declining an advance.

That’s where the positives end. I could barely believe it when Jesse stopped dancing at the end of the sub-2:00 Star Spangled Banner and said “guess that’s our song.” Pausing for a moment to let her reconsider, I was briskly reminded of the $20 I owed and that we couldn’t tarry in the semi-private lap dance section. I understand that things move faster in New York City, but this kind of treatment just cannot be condoned.

Value (0.5/10) - With a $30 cover and $10 domestics, you’re going to be in for $40 within seconds of walking in the door. A $20 lap dance is not unreasonable for New York City, but it would be more palatable if the dancers actually earned their money. Your wallet will take a big hit if you’re interested in anything saucier. A “curtain” room is $350/hour ($175 for 30 minutes), and a “door” room is $500 ($250). Mercifully, drink purchases are not required for the private rooms. A decent party atmosphere and some eye candy is not enough to justify Scores’s high prices. Don’t be fooled by the flash and hype – there’s not a lot of substance here.

Dance Setup (4/10) - Customers were receiving lap dances pretty much everywhere but the main bar. The semi-private sections are elevated and isolated, and would offer a nice opportunity for debauchery if not for the ubiquitous security stationed around every corner. Seats are wide, comfortable, and placed far enough apart to maintain the intimacy of the dance. Like most New York City clubs, the private rooms are strategically sequestered for the best action.

Club Setup (7/10) - The public area of the club is one level divided into five distinct sections: the main floor with the stage and waitress service at small tables; an elevated bar with both bar seats and standing room; a semi-private elevated section for groups requesting bottle service; a separate section reserved for lap dances; and the restaurant. All sections have a great view of the stage.

The bar area is fairly long but not very deep, and by midnight, as the club began filling up, the bar became very crowded. Because Scores was catering to groups for Fight Night, management had restricted the main floor to bottle service. A host assured me that ordinarily guests can sit at tables on the main floor without obligation.

Club Atmosphere (6.5/10) - At least a dozen flat screen TVs rim the interior, providing a view of the game or fight from any seat. The club is dimly lit, and neon fixtures and the occasional smoke machine and laser show create the party vibe. Edgy showcases – featuring naked barbie dolls in compromising positions with everyday objects like hammers and tongs – appear prominently over the main bar. With the exception of shutting off the music for the national anthem, the DJ was well above-average, and I commend his Depeche Mode selection, “Enjoy the Silence.”

Unfortunately, the bouncers/hosts with CIA-style earplugs had the joint canvassed like we were in the middle of Baghdad. And by the decor, I couldn't blame them for the mistake. A large, Persian rug-styled stripe runs down the main stage’s backdrop, across the stage itself, and onto the floor. On the backdrop, eight screens flank this magic carpet stripe. They alternate between two computer-generated effects: the first, music visualizations (the kind you get when you play an audio CD using your Windows Media Player), and the second, silhouetted scenes of dancers performing acts ranging from the goofy to the sado-masochistic. The combined impression left me waiting for Goldmember to come skating out onto the stage through some Austin Powers-style time warp.

Club Accessibility (4/5) - Situated just south of the Penn Station rail yards and a stone’s throw from the Hudson, Scores is in the middle of a subway deadzone. The walk from Penn Station is 15-20 minutes and not for the feint of heart. Your best bet is to cab it there, as the club is easily accessible from the West Side Highway. You could also drive yourself and avoid the midtown clusterfuck, but you will have to pay for valet service in order to park your car in the secure lot across the street from the club.

Overall - On a marquee night, Scores failed to deliver. Management’s decision to cater to groups ordering bottle service left everyone else cramped in the small bar section. The focus on deep pockets filtered down to the dancers, too, making for a lackluster experience on the whole. Scores is just begging for a re-review on a more typical evening, but for the now, the best things I can say about Fight Night at Scores? Look for the cart food on your way out at 10th avenue – it really hits the spot.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Scruples (Bridgeport. CT)

Quality of dances (8/20) – You'll get some decent grind action here, but two way contact is not encouraged and, with a bouncer closely monitoring the action, it isn't the type of place where you'll want to push your luck.  Considering the things that go on in some of the other Bridgeport clubs, Scruples needs to step their game up, because "decent" just isn't good enough to compete.    

Quality of dancers (7.5/10) –  There's a lot of variation from night to night, but I've seen plenty of 8s in here, and it's very rare to see anyone below a 5 or a 6.  The top end girls aren't all that much better than in most other Connecticut clubs, but the quality control seems to be significantly above average.      

Number of Dancers (6.5/10) – This place can be packed with both dancers and customers on weekend nights.  Though the ratio of dancers to customers isn't always great, there are usually enough girls to choose from so that you shouldn't have to wait too long to get someone's attention for a dance.  That's particularly true if, as is often the case, one of the other clubs in the area is shut down due to legal troubles.          

Variety/Diversity of Dancers (2.5/5) – There's a nice mix of fit white and Latina dancers, but I've been surprised by the relative lack of black dancers and big asses.      

Attitude of Dancers (3/10) – These girls are hot, but a lot of them think that they're hotter than they are.  It's not that they're nasty, but they just aren't all that inviting either.   

Value (3.5/10) – The $8 cover on weekend nights seems a little on the high side, the mediocre dances are $20 each and cans of beer are $4 each.  They have bottles of beer as well, but I can never pass up the opportunity to guzzle a few cans of beer in a strip club, so I'm not sure of the price for them.  Like all Connecticut clubs that serve alcohol, this place is topless, but I never feel like my dollar bills are well spent at the Scruples stage.    

Dance Setup (1.5/10) –  The owners of this place seem to have more invested in the club than do a lot of the other Bridgeport club owners, and the dance setup is designed to make sure that nothing happens that will cost them their club.  That's logical from a business perspective, but it's unfortunate for us customers.  All of the dances are given in a small sectioned off area in the back of the club where a bouncer watches everything.   The chairs are attached as if they were all part of a bench, but arm rests thankfully separate customers from each other.  The dance setup is really the main reason that I haven't spent a whole lot of time in this club. 

Club Setup (3/10) – There's a massage chair, a huge bar and a long stage, but the stage isn't placed at a logical angle and there are barely any tables. Worst of all, the club is way too bright, so you (or at least I) feel kind of creepy sitting at the stage staring at a girl.  Unfortunately, thanks to the odd angle of the stage, you don't really have any other option if you want a decent view of the action. 

Club Atmosphere (5.5/10) – The atmosphere at Scruples isn't bad at all by Bridgeport standards.  When I've been here, the crowd has been mostly small groups of guys who are stopping by on their way home from work.  The lack of tables prevents it from being great for larger groups and I probably wouldn't go here for a night out, but it has a nice relaxed vibe that makes it a decent option if you're looking for a place to enjoy a beer or two.     
Club Accessibility (3.5/5) – The neighborhood isn't the greatest, but it's not terrible for Bridgeport and the parking lot is monitored.  There's no fee for parking, though tips to the parking lot attendant are always appreciated.

Overall – This is one of the cleaner Bridgeport clubs and really isn't bad overall, but the dance setup and the dance quality will need to improve for me to ever make this one of my regular stops.  Unfortunately, I don't imagine that will be happening anytime soon.     


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Juicee's (Norwich, CT)

Quality of Dances (10/20) - Most of the dances that I had at Juicee's were decent but unspectacular.  Some of the girls allowed full 2-way contact (I was told to touch "anywhere but the cookie"), but some were a little more reserved.  Sadly, even the best girls failed to pay any special attention to body parts that like special attention. 

Quality of Dancers (2.5/10) - They probably don't have a whole lot to choose from in the middle of nowhere and it shows, because quality control is non-existent.  I saw a few girls who weren't bad, but there were a few who were among the worst I've ever seen in a club.  I'm not a huge fan of old ladies, c-section scars or white trash, but when you combine all of those qualities into one messy woman, the result is even worse than the sum of its parts.  

Variety (2/5) - I've only been here once, but most of the girls working that night were white.  There was one darker skinned girl working, and there was a pretty wide array of body types, including one girl who was quite possibly a midget.  

Number (3/10) - Though there weren't many dancers working the night that I was there, there weren't many customers either.  The ratio hovered around 1-to-1 for most of the evening.  Usually that's a good thing, but it did make it a little bit difficult to avoid the less desirable girls.  

Attitude (3.5/10) - The "little person" was one of the friendliest dancers I've ever met, but the others weren't nearly as welcoming.  If you don't like being a stripper, either find another way to make money or learn to at least pretend like you enjoy it while you're working.  I'm not sure if saying "I hate doing this" is supposed to make customers feel bad and give more tips, but it definitely didn't work with this customer.

Value (6/10) -It's unheard of for a place with a $12 cover, $4 sodas and $20 dances to get an above average value score, but Juicee's pulled it off.  Instead of giving dances by the song, they give them in timed 7 minute blocks.  Assuming that the average strip club song is about 3 minutes long, that works out to a little under $10 per song, which is about as good as you'll find.  And it really does make a lot of sense.  Why should you have to pay the same amount for 1 song whether it's Extra Pale by the Goo Goo Dolls, coming in just shy of 2 minutes (which the day shift girls at the Electric Blue still try to get away with) or American Pie by Don McLean?  

Dance Setup (2.5/10) - The lap dance area has a few chairs in a raised area along the side of the club with no privacy between them, but no one in the rest of the club can see much of what goes on below your shoulders.  It's a fairly poor setup, but sadly, it's still better than you'll find in a lot of Connecticut clubs. 

Club Setup (2/10) - This place is a dump.  They have a decent sized bar, but since they don't serve alcohol, who gives a shit?  The stage is fairly large, but its mostly unutilized with dancers going on one at a time.  They have some arcade games that look like they haven't been used in decades along with a pop-a-shot machine and some pool tables.  There's also one TV in the corner of the club, but everything about it is worse than you're imagining.  

Atmosphere (1/10) - The patrons were all really friendly, but an alcohol-free, non-BYOB place will never get a good atmosphere score. Hopefully they just couldn't get a liquor license, because I don't know why any club would think that the lack of undies is worth the lack of alcohol.

Location (2/5) - Juicee's is at the end of a dead end alley.  As you pull up, you'll be hoping that you don't run into any trouble because it seems like the type of place when you could be murdered and dumped in the weeds to never be found.  On the bright side, it is reasonably near the casinos, so it gets a few points.  

Overall - There's not a single thing that Juicee's does particularly well.  The dances are okay and the some of the dancers are friendly, but everything else is well below average.  If you're at the Connecticut casinos and are looking to go to a club, you're much better off spending the extra time to drive to Providence. 


Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Other Side (Fitchburg, MA) CLOSED

Quality of dances (6/20) – With a no-touching policy in effect, The Other Side is limited in its potential for dance quality, but the grind isn't bad, so at least they're trying to make the best out of a bad situation. I almost want to give them an extra point because my dance came from our waitress (who was trying to make the transition into a dancer), but really, novelty is no substitute for quality, and the dance speaks for itself.

Quality of dancers (4.5/10) – When this club was originally reviewed in early 2009, it laid an egg and posted a zero in this category. However, on my more recent trip, there were a handful of attractive dancers who may not have been 10's, but certainly deserve a little love.

Number of dancers (2.5/10) – Three dancers on a Thursday evening is unacceptable, even for this moderately-sized, off-the-beaten-path club.

Variety/Diversity of dancers (1.5/5) – On my first visit, I saw a couple of black dancers, but on my more recent trip, it was skinny white girls only. I expect more diversity than that, even in Fitchburg.

Attitude of Dancers (4.5/10) – At least two dancers were pretty fun, hanging out and shooting the shit while they waited for their turn on stage. Interestingly, while they were both aggressively hustling drinks, neither was hustling dances, which was nice.

Value (4/10) – $5 cover at all times, which is exactly $5 too much. We're in Fitchburg, people; don't flatter yourselves or your club. Beers were $3.50, stage action was mediocre. If you're looking to get drunk, the value is solid. But they could do better.

Dance Setup (0/10) – There is no actual dance room at The Other Side. It's more of a raised area that's further away from the stage. There are no partitions separating it from the rest of the floor and there's nothing to prevent the local mustached creeper on the other side of the club from watching you get grinded on.

Club Setup (4/10) – The setup isn't good, but it's not terrible. Sort of standard. Ample seating at the stage, some low-top and high-top tables surrounding it, a bar on the far side. Nothing really to complain about here, but nothing to rave about either.

Club Atmosphere (3.5/10) – This place has got a dive bar vibe, similar to Lamplighter II in Worcester but a little classier. Nothing remarkable to mention.

Club Accessibility (.5/5) – Almost 40 minutes outside of Worcester, The Other Side is in the middle of nowhere. It only avoids a zero because of its proximity to Route 2 and 190.

Overall – The Other Side is a not a destination strip club. In fact, it's hardly a stop-in-on-your-way-through-town strip club. I will probably never go back and would only recommend it to those who live in Fitchburg and don't own a car.