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


  1. Buddy, I keep returning to this classic post for its spot on humorous analysis.

    I enjoy your blog and keep coming back to read about places that I may eventually go to.

    Keep on keeping on.

  2. Rick,

    Thanks for the comment. I love hearing positive feedback from readers. When I wrote this review, I was really hungover and pissed off, and that usually brings out my finest work.

    Glad to hear you're a return visitor to the blog. If all goes well, I'll be launching a full website within a month, so be sure to check back for news on that front.

    - Peter

  3. Im going to DC this weekend and this is going to suck!!!

  4. Great Post Peter

    I went to Archs about 2010 or so - and I agree - one of the worst 'strip' clubs I have ever been too - and i have been to a lot - all over the nation.

    Everything you said in your post is spot on - unfortunately I am going back to DC in a week and with Camelot and Archs the only places in walking distance it does not give a great venue.

    Thanks again!

  5. You have some sort of problem. "Standing inches away front of other guys.." IS A PROBLEM? YOU"RE NUTS! You are the kind of lazy guy who is too afraid of interacting w/ a naked chick while standing up. Obviously you've some sort of complex and STILL upset that Camelot wouldn't let you in 5 years ago because they could see a chump w/ chump buddies a mile away. They let ANYONE in so to hear that Camelot didn't let you in explains drunk lazy chump. Stop pouting about not getting lap dance teases and concentrate on the VALUE of getting FULLY NUDE VAGINA for a dollar...ONE DOLLAR....In the second most expensive real estate market in the country!!! Yeah, Archibalds is small you...but for good reason and a GREAT VALUE that you will never understand because you are a chump w/ a grudge and a lack of understanding of what a dollar buys ONE BLOCK FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.

  6. Anyone else spot someone who works at a DC club?