Sunday, December 25, 2011

North Hollywood Deja Vu (North Hollywood, CA)

Quality of Dances (13.5/20) – The narrow booths mean that you won’t be able to spread your legs to the optimal grind-inducing angle, but, otherwise, these dances are very good with full two-way contact often encouraged and almost always tolerated.  Several of the ladies implied that extra services would be available during the VIP sessions, but I got the feeling that this was more of a sales pitch than a promise, at least from most of them. 

Quality of Dancers (7.5/10) – Most of the ladies are fairly young and attractive, and I was surprised to see that there were less implants in the room during my visit than at most of the other clubs in southern California.  And you should particularly enjoy the sights if you’re into the porn star look, because several of these ladies are in the industry.  Though hearing about how a girl just finished shooting a blow bang scene didn’t really make her more attractive in my eyes. 

Number of Dancers (6.5/10) – There were about twenty women working on the Sunday night of my visit, and since the club was dead, that should have been more than enough.  Unfortunately, only one or two women were working the sparse crowd for most of the evening since everyone else was doing who-knows-what in the dressing room.  Still, the total number meant that patient customers had plenty of women to chose from.

Variety of Dancers (4.5/5) – They lose half a point because almost all of the ladies were on the thin side, but the variety was otherwise perfect.  Black, white, Latina and Asian ladies were all well represented. 

Attitudes (2/10) – A few of these ladies were nice, but overall, I was less than impressed.  My biggest issue is that most of them were content to stay in the dressing room, presumably waiting for their regulars to show up, rather than cultivating new business.  I could see if one or two girls were in bad moods and were doing that, but it was easily three-quarters of the workforce.   The worst were the girls who would line up on the stage for the dance specials, then walk straight to the dressing room without even giving customers a chance to give them some money.   If you don’t want my money, I’m fine with hanging onto it, but why even show up if that’s your attitude? 

Plus, when some of the ladies did mingle, I kindof wished that they hadn’t.  One in particular had a real attitude when I turned down her offer for a dance, saying, “Oh, so you’re just hanging out taking in the free show?”  No, I’ve spent a few hundred dollars on other girls over the last hour while you were busy sitting in the dressing room. 

Value (6/10) – Dances are a solid value, and since they have the dance counting machines, you can’t be ripped off.  If you’re not familiar with those machines, you insert your money before the dance, then it counts down the time until the end of the dance, when a red light goes on, alerting you that your dance is over unless you add more cash. The regular dances are $20 for about 3 minutes, dances in the couch area are $60 for three songs and the normal VIP price is $150.  The cover charge is a steep $20, but that’s understandable since this is an alcohol-free club and you can get free sodas throughout your visit.  Plus you can save half of the cover charge by printing out this free admission coupon – and, no, that’s sadly not a typo.  They claim that of the $20 fee to get in, $10 is for admission (that’s waived with the coupon) and $10 is for an “entertainment fee” that you still have to pay.  As long as you consider that money to be going toward the sodas that you’ll drink, it’s doesn’t seem like too much of a rip off. 

Club Setup (6.5/10) – This is a fairly large club, with a ton of small tables with rolly chairs spread throughout the room.  The crowd area is a little brighter than I’d like, but the lighting on stage is tastefully bright, and everyone has a nice view of the ladies.  The stage itself is fairly nice and they even have a rain making machine that can be a fun way to waste $20.  The way it works is that you put a $20 bill into the machine, and it will either give you 19 ones back or you can press a button so that it will rain 19 ones down on the stage.  It’s gimmicky, but I did it once to try it, and the girl came over afterwards and seemed to be genuinely appreciative to get her money that way rather than through the normal tipping routine.  And, since a happy dancer makes for a happy customer, it ended up being $20 well spent.   

Dance Setup (6/10) – The dance booths are tiny, but that has it’s pluses and minuses.  On the bright side, it means that you have a good bit of privacy, especially since they’re angled in a way that really prevents anyone from getting a direct view of what you’re up to.  The drawback, however, is that larger customers might feel a little cramped and your legs aren’t going to be able to spread wide enough to allow for maximum access.  Besides that, the only thing that’s noteworthy about the dance setup is the aforementioned dance counting machines, which really do add to the experience by eliminating the need to divert some of your attention from the girl to counting to make sure that you aren’t being ripped off.  I really wish every club had those machines. 

Atmosphere (2/10) – Maybe it was the lack of alcohol combined with the lack of a bar within walking distance, or maybe it was the long stretches of empty stage, or maybe it was the slightly rough looking crowd, but, whatever it was, the bottom line is that I didn’t particularly enjoy hanging out at this club.  It wasn’t bad enough to keep me away and I wouldn’t mind sticking around if a girl caught my eye, but I would never plan on spending my evening here.

Location (3/5) – The club is in an industrial part of North Hollywood beside the railroad tracks.  I don’t really know the neighborhood so I’m not sure whether it’s a safe area, but you can valet park your car in a garage inside the building for a few bucks, so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. 

Overall – The North Hollywood Deja Vu is a nice club and is worth a visit if you’re in the area, but the fact that most of the girls hang out in the dressing room the majority of the time makes it frustrating to the point that I can’t recommend going too far out of your way to get there.  If you’re going to travel to get to a Deja Vu, just go to the one in the City of Industry, because it’s a significantly better club. 

RAW SCORE = 57.5

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oasis Gentlemen's Club (Smithtown, NY)

Quality of dances (8.5/20) – Dances are unremarkable. One-way contact with a relatively skilled grind. Customer-to-dancer contact isn’t actively encouraged,  but it’s not totally shut down either. I was dead sober during my dance and thus didn’t really test anyone’s boundaries; I strongly suspect the line is drawn shy of full upper hemisphere contact.

Quality of dancers (7/10) – Given that Oasis looks like a recluse’s murder shed from the outside, I was shocked by the quality of dancers, notwithstanding the fact that the hoochie factor was disappointingly low, much like it was at CafĂ© Royale in Farmingdale. Almost without exception (one dancer was well past her prime), these women were beautiful. Knockouts? No, but pretty nonetheless. I think you’ll be plenty satisfied. 

Oh, I almost forgot. This is a pastie club. They’ve managed to minimize the impact by placing the tiniest possible covers on their nipples, but they still obscure one of the most beautiful parts of a woman’s body. For that, I’m docking them half a point on dancer quality.

Number of dancers (6.5/10) – Oasis has one of the highest dancer to club size ratios I’ve ever seen. At least a dozen women were working the Friday after Thanksgiving in a shoe-box sized club (see more about this below). In absolute terms, though, the number of dancers isn’t particularly impressive, so the club can only score so high here.

Variety/Diversity of dancers (4/5) – Once you’ve spent some time in New York strip clubs, you start to assume that any new club you visit will be largely populated by the standard mix of women from former Soviet republics. That’s really par for the course. But kudos to Oasis for bucking this trend. The two Belarusians working that night were the exception and not the rule. Looking across the floor, there were two black women, an Asian, and a crop of white girls of varying shapes and sizes. Throw me a couple of Latinas next time and this score is going straight to 5.

Attitude of Dancers (6/10) – Most of the dancers were tied up with their regulars when I was there, so I only got to interact with a few, all of whom were pleasant and fun. Based on my people watching, it looked like most of the occupied customers were having a good time, so I feel confident that attitudes are strong across the board. This also makes sense given the club’s small size. You can’t afford to be an asshole when you’re gonna have to walk by the customer you just alienated like 20 more times that night.

Quick note: The bouncers at this place were great. Total class acts, really nice guys. I was impressed.

Value (4.5/10) – There’s never a cover, which is awesome, but at $7, Bud Lights (no Miller Lite; shame on them) are at least $2 too expensive. Dances are $30, but your average dance cost should always be less than that. I was too dumb to take advantage of this, but it’s apparently buy two dances and get a third free. And if I’m remembering correctly, you can get 15 minutes worth of VIP dances (no different than regular dances, from what I can tell) for $100 or 30 minutes for $175. What’s really sweet is that if you purchase 15 minutes in the VIP, you get unlimited free drinks during that time. I can’t wait for my next visit when I’m not the designated driver and can go to town on that deal.

Dance Setup (3/10) – Dances occur in one of two areas: the dance room or the VIP area. From what I can tell, there’s no difference between the two, expect for their location. Both are curtained/walled off parts of the club that contain a few small leather loveseats. So far, so good, except that there are no dividers between the loveseats, which readers of this blog will recognize as totally unacceptable. The privacy of a walled-off room is an illusion if some goober can sit close enough to me that I could reach over and give him a happy ending. At least it’s dark in the rooms, and the VIP doesn’t have a bouncer sitting outside watching your every move.

Club Setup (3/10) – This club is small. And when I say small, I mean really, really, really small. Of the nearly 200 clubs I’ve visited, there are maybe two that are tinier. That said, they do a nice job with the space they have. When you walk in, the stage is directly in front of you against the right wall. It’s maybe 15 feet long with a single ~7 foot pole. The VIP room is to the right and the dance room and one-person bathroom (which I’m still undecided about) are to the left. On the far side, running the length of the back wall, sits the bar. The rest of the space is filled by maybe eight low-tops and two or three high-tops. All told, the space is used as efficiently as it can be without making the floor impossible to navigate. Be that as it may, the setup still leaves much to be desired.

Club Atmosphere (6/10) – I like the vibe here. In a culture where musical tastes range from headache-producing to suicide-inducing, Oasis somehow filters all of the garbage and comes out with a strong playlist. I’d dim the lighting slightly and take down some of the kitschier accessories, but those are small improvements. The big problem here is that it’s impossible to get lost in the crowd and just mind your business. If you go there, you’re going to be seen. And watched. By pretty much everyone. So be prepared.

Club Accessibility (1/5) – Oasis is right on Route 25, directly across the street from an anatomically correct statue of Whisper, the bull Richard Smith was said to have ridden when establishing the town’s boundaries in the 1600’s. If you live in Smithtown, that’s a highly accessible location. If you don’t, you’re shit out of luck. I’m certain that most of you fall into the latter category.

Overall – I’ve got a few close friends who grew up in Smithtown, and they say that this club has been the subject of local lore for most of their lives, particularly amongst the high school students, most of whom had to pass right by it on the way to school every day. Most of them have never been inside, expecting it to be the shadiest place they could imagine. I’m happy to report that their expectations are wrong. I wouldn’t go out of my way to stop by Oasis, but if I ever find myself in Smithtown again, I’ll definitely swing in for a beer.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Satin Dolls (Lodi, NJ)

Quality of Dances (5/20) – The grinding can be very nice, but there are two things that prevent this score from being any higher: 1) other than a little hand-to-leg touching, the contact goes only in one direction; and, 2) the bikinis stay on.  As if I needed something else to hate about New Jersey, the no nudity in a club that serves alcohol rule is brutal.

Quality of Dancers (8/10) – I’ve been told that the quality can be seriously lacking when the club is slow, but it’s been amazing during my late night visits.  They’ve almost all be young, fresh and in good shape.

Number of Dancers (7/10) – Like the dancer quality, I’ve heard that the number of dancers can vary wildly, but there have been more than enough girls working every time I’ve been there.  In addition to the two girls on the stage, there have been several girls doing the tip walk and several more working the crowd. 

Variety of Dancers (1.5/5) – There are a ton of Russians on the evening shift, and everyone else is white or Italian, or possibly Latinas who could pass for Italians.  I really couldn’t tell but then again, I’ve perfected judging topless women and these bikinis threw me off my game. 

Attitudes (1/10) – Dancer: “ Wannadance?” Me: “No thanks.” Dancer: “Wanna give me a tip?”  And repeat, over and over and over again from every Russian in the building.  The only extended interaction that I witnessed was a girl talking about how bad one customer smelled.  That wouldn’t be too unusual, except that she was talking to him about it.  And by “talking,” I mean saying things like, “you’re making me sick.”  In her defense, he did smell like he’d just bathed in gasoline, but that’s still shockingly bad customer service. 

Value (4/10) – The pole work is fairly impressive, but I’ve seen much better acrobatics at Cirque de Soleil.  You might think that’s an unfair comparison, but since these ladies wear just as much clothing as the circus performers, I think it’s justified.  Similarly, the $5 beers are decent for a strip club but not so good for a tittiless establishment.  And this place is tittiless.

Club Setup (3/10) – If you’re a Sopranos fan, you already know how the club is designed because this is where all of the Bada Bing scenes were filmed.  There’s a pool table off to the side, but the main area is a decent sized high ceilinged room that’s mostly filled by the large square bar.  There’s a stage a few feet away from customers in the middle of the bar, so you’ll have to ball up your ones and throw them if you want to tip during the dance.  If not, don’t worry, you’ll still get your chance to fork over some cash during the constant tip walks. 

Dance Setup (1.5/10) – You can’t see the dance area from the main club area, but that’s the only good thing that I have to say about it.  It’s a long narrow corral that’s lined on both sides with rolly chairs, so you’ll be staring right at another guy when it’s busy. 

Atmosphere (5.5/10) – Despite the constant interruptions from the tip walk crew, this is a fairly fun place to hang out.  There’s a party vibe in the evenings and crowd is decent, so it’s not a bad option if you want the Hooters experience without having to pay for shitty chicken wings.  

Location (3.5/5) – You can see Satin Dolls from I-80,  but there’s really no easy way to get there.  The entrance is off of Route 17S and it’s a real pain in the ass to get to if you drive past, so slow down and start looking to your right after you pass under I-80.  Once you get there, though, there is at least plenty of parking. 

Overall – If this place were topless, I’d say that it’s worth a visit as long as you’re capable of fighting off the Russian hustle.  The girls are hot, the beers are reasonably price, the vibe is good and the dances are decent, but the bikinis really kill it for me.  I’ll reluctantly stumble to a bikini bar during a drunken night out in Atlantic City, but I’m not navigating the maze of highways in northern Jersey to get to this place.  It might be worth a visit if you’re a die hard Sopranos fan, but, otherwise, save your cash or drive the 10 minutes to a state where you can enjoy some partial nudity with your beer.