Sunday, December 23, 2012

Magic Gardens (Portland, OR)

Quality of dances (6.5/20) – The Portland no-touching (by you) rules are in full effect here, a fact the bouncer quickly reminded me of when I planted my hand on a girl’s thigh just above her kneecap, even though she initiated the move. Anyway, don’t expect two way contact under any circumstances.  

Quality of dancers (8/10) – They’re hot. Are they as hot as the women at some other clubs in Portland? Probably not. But they’re still getting the job done and then some.

Number of dancers (3.5/10) – There were two dancers working in the early afternoon. Wanting to be thorough, I asked the bartender whether that changed at night, and he told me that it doesn’t. Magic Gardens has three shifts: Noon to four; four to nine; and nine to close. Each of those shifts has exactly two dancers. Always. Given the size of the club and the number of customers it likely draws, I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad management decision (and it’s probably very beneficial to the dancers, which is always a good thing).

Variety/Diversity of Dancers (1/5) – It’s Portland. The women are white. SURPRISE!! I saw some variance in body type, including one perfect lap dance ass, which is the only thing keeping this number out of the gutter.

Attitude of Dancers (7.5/10) – Everyone that I met was really friendly and personable, just as it should be in a locals club like this. I’m confident that most of these women hang out at the bar and shoot the shit with their regulars during the short breaks between their stage sets. I really like that vibe. 

Value (5/10) – There’s no cover, it’s $3 for a pint of PBR and $5 for the delicious Portland staple: Black Butte Porter. You won’t get any real mileage at the stage in terms of contact, but you’ll get as much performance art as the women can give you with the club’s physical limitations.

Dance Setup (.5/10) – The dance area is an outcropping right around the corner from the club’s entrance, maybe 8-10 feet from the stage. It’s in full view of everyone in the club, save for four or five people sitting at the right edge of the bar. There are no partitions and no comfy chairs, and basically nothing to distinguish it from the rest of the club. This setup is as bare as the vagina that will be staring back at you for the three and a half minutes you’re over there.

Club Setup (4/10) – It’s got a pool table. And a cigarette machine. And video poker. And the list of positives about the Magic Gardens setup ends there. This is a tiny club with a wall-length bar on one side when you walk in (okay, I guess the bar is pretty solid) and a small stage on the other. The stage doesn’t have a pole, which is troublesome anywhere, but particularly frustrating in Portland because the acrobatic skill of dancers across the city is so high. The front door opens directly to the street and any passerby can see virtually the entire club whenever that door swings wide. To say that’s sub-optimal is to severely understate the case. With all those complaints, this setup should probably score a 2. Nevertheless, Magic Gardens does something to add up to more than the sum of its parts in this category, so I gave it a little bump.

Club Atmosphere (5.5/10) – Exactly what you’d expect for such a club. Very chill vibe. Probably never gonna get rowdy in there. A real nice place to start if you’re trying to visit ten strip clubs in 24 hours.

Club Accessibility (5/5) – Just steps from the MAX and within an 8 minute walk of virtually everything in the NW quadrant of Portland, Magic Gardens is as accessible a club as you’ll find anywhere. Technically, it’s in Chinatown, and some people say that Chinatown in Portland is dangerous and you shouldn’t go there. I say those people are huge pussies. Don’t let that deter you.

Overall – Magic Gardens is pretty much the definition of a locals club. It’s the type of place that you’d never go out of your way to make a trip to, but would probably spend a bunch of time at if you lived around the corner. Although someplace like this would never get my official seal of approval, I can safely say that I like it.


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