Sunday, January 30, 2011

Archibald's (Washington, D.C.)

Note: Despite being an East Coaster, I haven't spent much time in D.C., and during the little time that I have spent there, most of it was taken up by typical touristy shit. Up until last night, my only experience with D.C. strip clubs was being denied entry to Camelot during a visit maybe 5 years ago. The bouncer provided no justification for keeping us out, but I'm assuming it's because we looked like a bunch of kids with no money. I remember thinking what a dick move that was and swearing off D.C. clubs for life.

After I started this site, I figured I didn't have a choice but to give the city another chance...which brings us to last night. This review will be the first and last D.C. strip club review that I will ever write. I really don't even want to write it because it's such a waste of my time, but I'm hoping that by shitting on this city in the public domain, I can keep others away.

At this point, you're surely wondering what could possibly be so bad about these clubs? See below for a more detailed description, but it's pretty simple: THERE ARE NO LAP DANCES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA!! WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF?!?!?!?!

Quality of Dances (0/20): I'm not even sure that this deserves a zero; I feel like it should be some sort of negative value. I goose-egged the Blue Moon Lounge in MA for giving air dances, but at least they're trying. Dances literally don't exist at this place (or anywhere in D.C.). I wish I could have seen the look on my face when one of the dancers filled me in on the policy. I think I would have been less shocked if she just walked up and kicked me in the nuts.

Of course, this begs the question: How do they make any money? That's where it gets worse: they tip-walk. But they don't just tip-walk the stage (see Club Setup for why that's impossible), they walk the entire club. And apparently, they make a killing. I was racking my brain trying to figure out 1) how it's possible for these girls to hustle up a decent roll without giving dances and 2) why, in God's name, anybody would go to a club without dances. Here's what I came up with.

D.C. is populated by an endless supply of wealthy, piece-of-shit, social-climbing jackoffs. Typically, these fuckheads are insecure assholes who prefer a stroke of their ego to a stroke of their cock. Also, they're the type of dicks that would frown upon lap dances as the province of the uncouth masses. For them, a naked hottie laughing at their jokes and confirming their status is like hardcore porn, and the benign nature of the interaction saves them from the cognitive dissonance associated with being a Serious Important Person who spends their time at houses of ill-repute. And so they don't mind slowly dropping a couple of bills over the course of a few hours if it makes them feel like the big, strong well-liked men that they aren't.

Quality of Dancers (7.5/10) - That they don't give dances is only made worse by the fact that this place is filled with talent. Pretty faces, tight bodies and real tits abound at Archibald's; the consistency is impressive, with nobody really doing any damage to the overall average. The only thing preventing this score from scraping the rating ceiling is that there weren't any true I'd-empty-my-bank-account-for-you types. If you know my reviews, then you know that I don't go for those girls anyway, but it's still nice to have them around for the viewing pleasure.

Number of Dancers (6.5/10) - The club's voice mail message boasts that 20 dancers work weekdays and 24 work the weekends, but I think they were a little short of that on this Saturday night at 6 PM. I saw perhaps 12-15 dancers, which is still a decent number for a club this small. If they truly put up 20+, then this score should probably be closer to an 8; I can't ever imagine a bad dancer to customer ratio with that number.

Variety/Diversity of Dancers (2/5) - Almost exclusively American white women here (with an Asian girl mixed in), which isn't surprising given the expected clientele. They score a couple of points for having great variety in body type, ranging from Salma Hayek curves to Natalie Portman angles.

Attitude of Dancers (8/10) - The job of these women is more akin to that of a Geisha than a stripper, so it's no shock that they all seem to have great attitudes. I can't say that I have a huge sample size, but the handful of dancers that I talked to were courteous, cool, and even pulled off their tip-walks without much awkwardness, which is a tall task indeed.

Value (3/10) - Only a D.C. club could score a 3 in value while never charging a cover. Miller Lites are $7 ($7.70 after tax), which isn't a Spearmint-Rhino-like $12 stickup, but isn't anything to be proud of. Dance value is non-existent, for reasons already stated, and stage value also doesn't exist (through no fault of the women; see Club Setup below).

Dance Setup (0/10) - Without dances, there can be no dance setup. Automatic zero.

Club Setup (2.5/10) - This is a below-ground club with a bar lining one side, several tables on the opposite wall and a few other tables across the floor. It's only about 20 feet wide and the ceilings are low, making it cramped in feel and difficult to navigate in function. It's also almost impossible to have any type of privacy, because every point in the club has a direct sight line to every other point. There is no proper stage to speak of. Instead, there are two slightly raised platforms (maybe 6 inches off the ground) that are a few feet wide and a few feet deep and sit against a mirrored wall. One is in the middle of the club and one is on the far side when you walk in. Each platform contains a pole and a pullup bar mounted on the ceiling, and there is no physical separation from the rest of the club. They resemble the type of thing a go-go dancer would perform on, but just much closer to the ground and closed off on one side by the wall.

Club Atmosphere (3.5/10) - Generally, the atmosphere here isn't bad if you're into a low-key vibe. It definitely has a classier feel than most clubs I've ever been to, similar to DiCarlo's Lounge in Albany, NY. When you walk in, you're greeted and seated by a bouncer, who informs you that cell phone use is strictly forbidden inside the club. There's no DJ, so you don't get that booming voice, and the girls don't pick their music. All music is spun from the jukebox, over which customers have control. When I was there, I didn't hear any awful choices, but I can see how giving control to patrons could badly backfire.

The real atmospheric problem here is driven by the club setup and the associated tipping issues. If you want to tip someone on the "stage," you can't just roll up, have a seat, fold your bill in half and wait. Instead, because of these weird spaces that they've set up, you have to walk up and literally stand in front of the dancer eye-to-eye. You have some short interaction and then put a bill in her g-string. Needless to say, this process is impossibly awkward for both the tipper and anyone else in the club watching. It's bad enough when you're seated close enough to a creeper that you feel his essence. Here, if you want to see the dancers, you've got to watch these guys in all their glory, standing just inches from a girl's face and engaging them. And of course, you can't go up there yourself because who wants to be that guy standing in the middle of the club getting eyed up by everyone in sight and blocking the view of the hottie. It's a total buzz kill.

Club Accessibility (5/5) - Located on K Street and just a few minute walk from the Red, Orange and Blue Metro lines (and the White House), it's hard to conceive of a better location than what Archibald's offers.

Overall - Archibald's is a gentleman's club in its purest form. You're not gonna get fired up at this place with your boys and rip tequila shots with some crazy-fun stripper. I can't imagine ever holding a bachelor party here. Its purpose is to provide the aesthetic appeal and companionship of naked beauties over a decent lunch or dinner. Nothing more. If that's your thing, more power to you, but it most definitely is not mine, so you can have Archibald's. I'm never going back.

Total Score - 38

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gold Club Groton (Groton, CT)

Quality of Dances (7/20) – There's huge variation from girl to girl, with some girls giving what amounts to little more than an airdance and other girls giving a really solid grind. Of course, the usual skin color correlation is in full effect. There are exceptions, but generally, the quality increases as the skin gets darker right up until the Brazilian bronze, then slightly tapers off after that. Like the Gold Club in Hartford, they've got some strange rules in this place, with dancers having to keep their feet on floor at all times. Also, they say that you can't touch the dancers, but hands on the legs seems to be fine.

Quality of Dancers (7/10) – I haven't seen any real models here, but almost all the ladies are decent and most are well above average.

Number of Dancers (7/10) – There are usually about a half dozen girls dancing in the afternoon, and many more than that later in the evening. By the night, it's crawling with women, but no matter when you visit, it shouldn't take you long at all to get the attention of an attractive lady or two.

Variety/Diversity of Dancers (3/5) – They've got a decent mix of white and Latina dancers a with a few black ones mixed in. In my somewhat limited experience at the Gold Club, there seems to be more Latinas during the day shift, which is why you're much more likely to find me here in the afternoon. There's some variation of body types with a few thicker black girls, but most of the ladies seem to be in pretty good shape.

Attitude of Dancers (5/10) – The bartendresses are really friendly and the dancers aren't bad to talk to, but more than one has asked me to prepay for a dance and that's brutal. Do they really think that people are going to get a dance and then walk off without paying? If so, they either have some really shady customers or give some really unsatisfying dances.

Value (3.5/10) – Beers are usually $4.75 but they have $3 specials and it's BYOB next door at the nude club (After Dark) after midnight. Dances aren't as good of a deal, however, at $25 each. My first few visits were during the day shift when there was no cover, then the bartender gave me a bunch of free admission passes, so I'm not sure how much the cover would usually be. It's $10 at their Hartford location, so I'm assuming that it's comparable to that here as well.

Dance Setup (3.5/10) – They give lap dances on individual bench style seats that look comfortable at first but really aren't. There's a small divider between the benches, but people who are across from you can still watch you if they want.

Club Setup (5/10) – The mouth shaped urinals are somewhat unique, but the rest of the club is fairly mediocre. The whole place is very dark and has a warehouse feel, but the lap dance area is strangely brighter than everywhere else. There are a bunch of 2 person tables scattered around the club, two small stages, a pool table in the back and a very large nice bar. It looks like a dump from the outside and isn't all that well thought out but it's actually kind of classy despite the warehouse look.

Club Atmosphere (5.5/10) – The crowd is decent, but the 2-person tables and all the wide open space prevent it from being great for large or even medium sized groups. It seems to be a popular bachelor party destination on Saturday nights, so that may not be a great time to go if you're hoping to get lots of attention from the girls.

Club Accessibility (2/5) – The Gold Club isn't hard to get to from I-95, but you'll be driving to get there and to get home. Luckily, there's more than enough parking and there're some spots along the side so that everyone driving by won't see your car. There is, however, no discreet way to walk in the entrance in the front of the club.

Overall – The Gold Club Groton is a decent club. It's nothing that I'd go out of my way for, but it's a much better option than the Gold Club's Hartford location or Rose's Cantina down the street. If you've got time though, you'd be much better off driving the hour to Providence to have a really good time.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Club Risqué on the Delaware (Philadelphia, PA)

Quality of Dances (8/20) – Most of these girls give a fairly solid grind, and even though full two-way contact is not allowed, hands on the outsides of the legs is generally okay. Best of all, at least one of the girls really takes pride in her work, apologizing profusely because she noticed that I wasn't at full attention by the end of the dance. The fact that I'd been drinking moonshine and Yeungling all day had more to do with that that than anything that the girl did or didn't do, but it was still nice to know that she actually cares about customer satisfaction. Sadly, another girl pretty much undid that goodwill by ruining a dance with baby talk bullshit. It wasn't the first time that a dancer has put on that little girl voice with me, but this girl was way over the top with it, and even when it isn't as bad, it's still pretty lame. Creeps who get off on having little girls on their lap are more likely to be working in a department store as Santa Claus than to be in a strip club, so I don't know why so many dancers think it's a turn-on. I come to strip clubs for the women, so is it too much to ask for you to act like a grown-ass woman?

Quality of Dancers (6.5/10) – Most of these ladies are fairly cute, but for one of the most popular clubs in one of the biggest cities in the U.S., it's a bit of a letdown. Even though Philly's more famous for deliciously unhealthy food and overweight, angry sports fans than it is for attractive ladies, there are still more than enough around here to fill up a club with girls in the 7+ range, but Club Risqué just isn't getting the job done.

Number of Dancers (5.5/10) – I've only been here on weekend evenings, but there have always been lots of girls in the place. That's a good thing though, because it's a popular stop after sporting events, so it can get packed with customers and it can be somewhat tough to get a dance.

Variety/Diversity of Dancers (1.5/5) – This club isn't all that diverse for anywhere, but it's particularly monochromatic considering that it's in Philadelphia. I've seen a few black chicks and a few curves, but the vast majority of dancers in this joint are thin, white and, at least in my opinion, kind of boring.

Attitude of Dancers (3/10) – I realize that most strippers put on an act when they're in the club, but these ladies are particularly poor actors. They're friendly enough, but it takes away from it a little bit when you don't even get fooled into thinking that you saw a glimpse of the real person behind the g-string.

Value (3/10) – The stage value is lacking, but for a major city, $6 beer and $20 dances aren't all that bad. Plus, there's no cover if you have tickets to a sporting event or a hotel key card. It's kind of like how Vegas clubs waive the cover for locals because they respect their repeat customers, only the exact opposite. Since I've only been to Risqué after sporting events while in various states of drunkenness, I never remember exactly how much the cover would otherwise be, but I think it's somewhere in the $10-15 range.

Dance Setup (3/10) – There's a separate area off to the side of the main stage area in the back of the club where they take you for lap dances. Though there's no privacy back there, the individual comfy chairs do a lot to make up for it. Or maybe I just don't mind the lack of privacy as much as I usually would since I'm always too tanked to give a fuck.  

Club Setup (4.5/10) – They've got a long narrow runway style stage down the center of the club and a raised area along the side with booths and chairs that are great for sight seeing.

Club Atmosphere (7/10) – There's a very nice party vibe at Club Risqué, and if the dances were a little better, it wouldn't be a bad place at all to spend an evening.

Club Accessibility (3.5/5) – Risqué isn't really walkable from anywhere, but it isn't far from center city or the sports complex by cab. You're probably looking at about a $10 ride from most of the city.

Overall – Club Risqué on the Delaware (they have other locations in the area that I've not yet visited) is better than Delilah's as far as the Philly upscale clubs go, and is generally a solid place to stop after a Sixers, Phillies or Flyers game. I wouldn't go out of my way to get here under normal circumstances, but sports, tits and beer are the perfect combination, so I usually try to make that happen when I'm in the area.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Peek-A-Boo's Cafe (Waterbury, CT)

Quality of Dances (13/20) – The good news: "don't worry about the signs that say 'no touching.' You can grab my ass." The bad news: "Just don't let my boss see you. He's the big guy."  As much as I enjoy being actively involved in a lap dance, none of these girls were hot enough to justify pissing off the "big guy." A lot of them are active with their hands over the pants, but it's generally just not worth spending money on girls that look like this.

Quality of Dancers (2.5/10) – There might be one or two tolerable girls, but most of these dancers look like they've seen better days despite never having been all that hot even in their primes.  Too many drugs and/or too many meals have taken their tolls on these ladies.

Number of Dancers (2/10) – I don't think you'd ever have any problem getting a girl for a dance if you have very low standards, but that has more to do with the lack of customers than it does with the number of dancers. Some of the ladies in these place are so atrocious that I can't even factor them into this score, so you can probably add another point if you're just looking for warm bodies.

Variety/Diversity of Dancers (3/5) – The quality is low, but you can find black, white and Latina girls both big and small at Peek-A-Boo's.

Attitude of Dancers (4.5/10) – Other than a few girls who seemed to be a few stages beyond high, they were reasonably friendly. They rely on repeats, so they definitely try to keep the few customers that they have happy. The biggest drawback was that, because of the lack of customers, I did have to deal with a few clingy creatures.

Value (3/10) – There's never been a cover charge while I've been there, but $25 dances are too expensive and $5 for beers are on the high side for a dump like this. You can interact with the girls at the stage, though I kept my eyes on the TVs most of the time that I was in here.

Dance Setup (1.5/10) – Dances are given in a raised area in corner of club on undivided benches.  If anyone else is getting a dance at the same time, it's awful.  If not, everyone else in the club can still watch so it isn't all that much better

Club Setup (1/10) – There's a decent stage in middle of the club and a long bar at the one end, but just like its dancers, this club has seen better days.

Club Atmosphere (0/10) – This place just bums me out.  These aren't girls who even bother pretending that they're trying to pay their way through college or make some easy spending money or earn cash for their families back in South America.  For the most part, they're girls who are trying to finance their next fix.  I never have and never will enjoy a club like this.

Club Accessibility (1.5/5) – This place isn't far from Mr. Happy's and is only a few minutes from downtown Waterbury, but you'll be driving to get there.

Overall –  I'm not going to bother saying which is better between this place and Mr. Happy's, because that would be implying that either of them would be worth considering. I just can't think of any possible reason to ever go to Peek-A-Boo's.  Strip clubs are supposed to make you feel good, and this one does just the opposite.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Centerfolds 2000 (North Oxford, MA)

Quality of dances (4/20) – True to the general Massachusetts trend of the-hotter-the-dancers-the-worse-the-dances, Centerfolds dances are pretty brutal. No contact from customer to dancer, and minimal contact from her to you. Don’t expect to be satisfied here.

Quality of dancers (7.5/10) – I’m not sure what draws them here (perhaps the assurance that they won’t get groped by creeps), but the crop of dancers at CF2K is pretty incredible for Massachusetts. Although they don't live up to the DJ's aggressive claim of "the hottest dancers in the world," many rank among the hottest that I've seen in New England.

Number of dancers (7/10) – There were perhaps 15-20 girls on a weeknight, much better than my last visit and the dancer to customer ratio was excellent. But their weak performance last time prevents them from really making some noise here. Also, given that I visited just a few days before Christmas, I have a sneaking suspicion that the number of dancers was artificially inflated by a bunch of women working an extra shift to bank some money for holiday presents.

Variety/Diversity of dancers (1/5) – Almost exclusively skinny white women who, as readers know, are way outside of my wheelhouse. On my second visit, there was also an unfortunate abundance of fake bombs, my least favorite kind. Especially disappointing was the single gorgeous Indonesian dancer whose enormous well-shaped cans were later discovered to be imposters.

Attitude of Dancers (6/10) – A complete 180 from a year ago. Within two minutes of sitting, each guy in my party had a girl sitting with him or on him. No one was pushy about dances, and only one girl was venomous after being turned down. The servers were likewise cool, and I was even able to coax one waitress into working a stage set, a feat attempted by many but accomplished by few. It's also a huge plus that my first featured dancer, Shelby, is back gracing the stage at CF2K. Still, further research is needed for a better average score and I can't totally disregard how terrible the attitudes were a year ago.

Value (2/10) – Miller Lites are just under $5 and the cover is $7 before 5 PM ($14 when they have feature dancers). Dances are 2 for 1 until 7 PM every day, but that’s hardly any consolation. My first dance was so bad that I almost didn’t even want a second. And stage value is minimal for most dancers.

Dance Setup (1/10) – Dances are conducted on wall benches in slightly raised areas along both sides of the club, in plain view of nearly every person in there. Since I first reviewed this club, it appears they've dimmed the lights in the dance area and added some translucent curtains (bumping the score slightly), but it's still not enough to shield you from onlookers. Call me picky, but if I’m gonna get a shitty dance, I’d at least like a modicum of privacy. Centerfolds 2000 offers none.

Club Setup (7/10) – Despite the awful dance setup, CF2K’s overall design is solid. Plenty of seating, however uncomfortable, at the stage and on the floor surrounding it, good table space, and enough private spots to hang out and drain a few beers. I also like that the bar hangs off the back of the club in a large outcropping, preventing the logjam of douche pickles that often happens during busy hours at clubs.

Club Atmosphere (5/10) – [From my first review] Having spent the better part of my 20’s in strip joints, I understand – and have come to accept – the reality that many dancers/DJ’s have terrible taste in music (I once heard Smooth Operator TWICE in one night). No matter where you are, you’ll invariably be forced to listen to a handful of abominations by the likes of Kid Rock, Nickelback or their equivalents. But CF2K took it to another level. For the first 45 minutes, literally every song was cringe-worthy material. And even after I tipped the DJ to play a few favorites (a move that never fails), the DJ only squeezed in one request amongst the rubbish. This musical misfortune is especially sad because the club has an otherwise good feel to it.

Having given this place a second chance, I'll say that the musical choices weren't nearly as bad this time through. However, there's still way too much rock and crappy pop (Black Eyed Peas), and not nearly enough Lil Wayne.

Club Accessibility (2/5) – Located almost ten miles outside of Worcester, Centerfolds 2000 isn't really in acceptable taxi range. It probably deserves worse than a 2, but because Worcester is very much a driving city, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Overall – Centerfolds 2000 has great potential, but I don't think they'll ever put it all together. I can really only imagine three scenarios where I'd recommend sending you to CF2K:

1) You're looking to take a somewhat-square, shy-ish girl to her first strip club. This place is a great bet for that type of thing.

2) You love Nickelback and white brunettes, and hate lap dances.

3) You want to meet and get a dance from Featured Dancer Shelby.

Otherwise, I'd say it's not worth your time.