Thursday, September 15, 2011

Devil's Point (Portland, OR)

Quality of dances (6/20) – Proving that, contrary to my earlier beliefs, not all dances in Portland are created equal, Devil’s Point lags slightly behind its Rose City peers in this category. I got some one-way contact, but nothing particularly aggressive, and reciprocity was not in the cards. This was definitely the type of dance that focused on the emotional impact of sensual movement, not the physical stimulation produced by a good old-fashioned dirty grind.

Quality of dancers (9/10) – In association with my original review of this club (where I rated the dancers as a perfect 10), I wrote this:

Until March 20th, 2011, I didn’t know that God made women this hot. And keep in mind that I’ve been to every strip club in Montreal and Vegas, and have spent substantial time in New York City. Really, I thought girls like this were reserved for the imagination, sometimes captured in art, but never in reality. They’re aspirational; their images should be on posters, and in movies, and filling your daydreams and fantasies. But they’re not. Well, maybe they are, but they’re also here. In real life. In Portland. In all of their inked, pierced and dyed glory. To give you a visual, this dancer was the third hottest girl working that night (from my perspective, of course; several of my friends had her at #1 with a bullet). Even Pussy Control, notorious for her picky tastes, was sitting with her mouth agape and talking like a dog in heat: “I’ve never said this before, but I would definitely pay these girls to make out with me. I just wanna pay them.”

They are a type, for sure, so if you’re into fake tits, symmetrical haircuts or anyone with a skin tone darker than an undercooked sugar cookie, they may not blow your mind (although I hope you’d still appreciate them). For me, though, they’re as good as it gets. If aliens came to Earth today, and asked us to prove our worth as a society or face extinction, I’d show them two things: an iPad 2 and the Devil’s Point girls.

I’m afraid I have to take a small step back from that original evaluation. My decision is based on a combination of factors. First, I wrote that piece about 12 hours after my first visit to stripparaoke, and I’m sure my head was still spinning from the performance, which was something special, even for a grizzled strip club vet like myself. Second, I now have a larger sample size and the newest additions, while still hot, don’t scrape the stratosphere like their peers. And third, I’ve since been to Union Jack’s (also in Portland), which I think has hotter dancers, so I need to ensure that there’s some scoring separation between the women there and at Devil’s Point.

A couple of closing thoughts before I finish this ludicrously long category. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if these women are 9’s or 10’s, because they’re already so fucking hot that you’re not allowed to ask for anything more unless your name is Leo or Brad. I’m currently working on a theory to describe this concept. It will likely parallel the Chandrasekhar limit for white dwarf stars. More to come next time I knock back a few glasses of wine and can reason out the details.

Lastly, it’s still true that the standard Sunday night cast at Devil’s Point is the finest shift I’ve ever seen. Brody (whose omission from the last review was an oversight of near-unforgiveable breadth), Rocket, Berlin and Piper are the ’27 Yankees of strip club lineups. Management, don’t fuck that shit up.

Number of Dancers (3/10) – This is a very tricky category. Devil’s Point is very small, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to staff the place with a crew of 20+ dancers. However, the crowds they get (as many as 100 people, it seems) suggest that perhaps a larger dancing staff is justified. I don’t really know. On both of my Sunday night visits, the crowd was massive, but the dance crew was limited to the four above-mentioned stunners. It’s clear that working the crowd and giving private dances isn’t the thrust of the business model here, but the rating system is the rating system, so I have no choice but to sting them.

Variety/Diversity of dancers (2/5) – Plenty of variety in body type here, from Onyx, the rail-thin stunner who looks like Joan Jett wished she could, to Berlin, the fire-haired vixen with curves so perfectly rich that Paula Dean could cook with them. Sadly, as implied above, there is absolutely no ethnic diversity. The color wheel maxes out at tope and everyone is as American as apple pie, even if they don’t want to be.

Attitude of dancers (10/10) – These women enjoy their work so much that you’d think they had a profit-sharing interest in the club. Every single dancer was working her ass off on stage, flirting with the rail and entertaining the crowd to perfection. The customer-to-dancer ratio makes it almost impossible for the girls to personally interact with any meaningful percentage of the customers, but when they did, they were great. The aforementioned Berlin spent her smoke break in front of the club shooting the breeze with whoever was around, even going out of her way to thank a few departing couples for coming in.

Also, the way dancers interacted with staff and with each other really gave the sense that everyone was working together towards a shared goal. That’s so rare to see in a club. Usually, you’ve got a bunch of girls running individual game (or maybe paired hustles) as they fight for their piece of the financial pie. They view dancing as a zero-sum game (get ready for it, game theory nerds) with a fixed amount of money available: if Justice hooks that guy for three dances, that’s money out of Serenity’s pocket.

But that’s not the case at all. The money input is variable, meaning that most people don’t go to a club and say “I’m going to spend X dollars tonight, no matter what.” The more fun they’re having, the longer they’re going to stay, and the more money they will spend. A great club can change the size of the pie. Indeed, on my most recent trip, Devil’s Point did exactly that. I was there with a handful of women who have never spent more than a few bucks at any club, but that night, several of them spent three consecutive hours at the rack tipping dancers. The girls and management at Devil’s Point seem to understand this concept, so everyone goes out of their way to help each other if it means keeping the customers happy.

Value (10/10) – There’s never a cover (except when bands play on Saturday nights) and the pole action is at least equal to the best I’ve ever seen. PBR’s are $2 ($7 for a pitcher), microbrews are $4, and stiff mixed drinks are $5. Also, I swear I saw someone order two Red Bull and vodkas and only get charged $6 (disclaimer: I was very drunk at the time and may have been distracted by the super hot bartender, so no guarantees that this is accurate).

The only downside to the value is the dances, but I’m scoring Devil’s perfect anyway because with the amount of money that you save on booze and the cover, you aren’t gonna care that your $20 doesn’t get you the mileage it would elsewhere.

Dance Setup (6/10) – Dances occur on a partially padded bench in a tiny room that is curtained off from the rest of the club. Only one dance can happen at a time and the curtain is opaque, so nobody is going to see inside unless they really want to, but it’s so small, so close to the rest of the club, and so lacking in comfort, that it really can’t crush this score despite the significant privacy. For readers that frequent this club and have been to Lamplighter II in MA, which I imagine is nobody, consider this a poor man’s version of that setup.

Club Setup (5.5/10) – Devil’s Point is small. Very small. Despite being handcuffed by that limitation, they do well with what they’ve got. Upon walking in, you’re greeted by a 6-stool bar with a TV on one side and a row of video poker machines on the other. On the far side of the club is a small stage with an ~8-foot pole in the center and a chain on each of the two front vertices. The chains are a nice touch, giving the stage a sexy and rugged look while providing the dancers with two extra props on which to work. About ten seats line the stage and a small handful of low-tops and high-tops fill the floor.

[From my original review]
To the far right of the stage and the tables is an outcropping with a pool table and a padded bench along the wall. I’m still undecided about the value of the pool table. On the one hand, pool tables are fucking awesome and every dive bar should probably have one. On the other, this place is seriously lacking seating capacity, and that table is stealing some much needed space for a few more low-tops. I guess I’m currently indifferent. If you own or work at this club and read this review (an unlikely parlay indeed), chime in and sway my opinion.

[My thoughts now]
Since I first visited Devil’s Point, they’ve removed the pool table, and now that I’ve seen the space without it, I couldn’t agree more with the decision. The removal did wonders to open up the club, turning a near-functionless corner into the perfect spot for a large group and providing some refuge for the curious wallflowers amongst the crowd. And without customers milling about with pool cues, a rookie roller girl who drank and smoked too much can pass out in peace while her teammates create a ruckus on the other side of the club.

Club Atmosphere (8/10) – The club has a completely different atmosphere depending on the time. During the dayshift, it’s the definition of a dive bar, with the dim red lighting, cheap beer, and Erotic Photo Hunt machine. It reminds me of my favorite hangouts in Boston, where the sickos go to get rid of the shakes at noon. The only difference I noticed was the music, which was dancer’s choice, making it considerably better and more upbeat than you’d find in a typical dive.

At night, it’s still divey, of course, but gets packed with people of all shapes, sizes and ages. It was pretty great to see 60 year old couples sharing the floor with the local scenesters and other curious yuppies. For the most part, everyone was chill and the d-bag factor was minimal. Also, it was probably the best-looking crowd I’ve ever seen at a strip club, including a large number of hotties who would be the best-looking girl in the room at any number of bars across America (brutally, I managed to strike out with all of them). As I wrote before, the staff goes out of their way to make sure the crowd is having a good time, and there is definitely a drinking/partying feel at night.

I’ve only been there on Sundays for stripparaoke (an idea I was skeptical of, but now think is beyond genius), so I can’t guarantee that it’s the same every day. Nevertheless, I strongly suspect that the place stays hot during the week for two reasons. First, they have different themes for every night (fire-breathing, industry night, 80’s night, etc.), which keeps everything fresh and should draw different crowds. And second, people don’t appear to work in Portland, at least not that much, so they’re free to go out on whatever nights they want.

Club Accessibility (2.5/5) – Devil’s point is located in an off-the-beaten path neighborhood in the southeast quadrant of Portland, not accessible by the MAX, but only about a $20 cab ride from downtown. Normally, this would rate something like a 3.5, but my experiences with Portland cabs necessitate a lower mark. Twice, at completely different times of day, I waited 90 minutes for a cab to arrive. Thinking that I may have just been unlucky, I asked a friend who grew up in Portland about the taxi scene. Her answer: “Oh, they’re awful. There are like ten of them. For the whole city.” Next time, I’ll act like a true Portlander and ride a bike.

Overall – This summer, I learned two irrefutable truths. One, Fast and the Furious movies are always better with Vin Diesel. And two, Devil’s Point will never disappoint me.

If you like badass women and dive bars, then Devil’s Point just might be your nirvana. This place is chill, female-friendly (an underrated club quality), and awesomely entertaining. If I lived in Portland, I would probably hang out there two or three days a week. No joke. Just remember that you’re there for the dancing and dancers, not the dances, and adjust your expectations accordingly. If you do that, I cannot imagine a way to have a bad time.


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