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America’s Most Stand-Out Strip Clubs

(Appeared on Playboy.com, October 2009)

By Christina Couch

Photograph by Sharlene Stephens

The striptease is a time-honored tradition that many historians believe dates as far back as ancient Egyptian and Babylonian times. And we can say with certainty that women have been seductively removing their clothes to excite and arouse men for at least the last 400 years. In the United States stripping got its start in carnivals and burlesque shows in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Talented Californian babe “Charmion” was a barely legal American vaudeville trapeze artist who would progressively peel off the layers of her chaste Victorian attire and toss her garments to rapt men during her routine. Given the circus performance nature of the early American striptease, it’s not surprising that there are still a handful of venues today that offer creative exotic dancing that’s a bit more imaginative than the hump-and-gyrate, g-string diva pole dance we’ve all come to know and love. We scoured the country and found 10 gentlemen’s clubs that offer erotic undressing with some unusual twists.

Lusty Lady Theater
1033 Kearny St.
San Francisco, California 

Leave it to San Francisco to have the world’s only unionized, worker-owned peep show co-op. If the stripper-friendly labor policies don’t turn you on, perhaps the play-by-their-rules vibe will. Because dancers own the club, girls are free to do what they want on stage. “Once someone brought instruments, so we had naked band night with a ukulele, kazoo and accordion. Sometimes we’re like, ‘Let’s smear donuts on each other and make out,’” says Princess, a dancer who is also the club’s public relations rep. “It’s kind of like working at a slumber party.” Set up in a peep show format, patrons pay approximately $1 per minute to watch a rotating set of dancers separated by a glass partition. While patrons can’t touch the dancers, they are free to bring a friend and do whatever they like in a private booth while dancers watch.

Cheerleaders Gentlemen’s Club
Club 54 Crescent Blvd RT 130 N.
Gloucester City, New Jersey 

A lot of clubs have themed parties, low cover charges, free lunch buffets and more than 70 dancers, but few can take care of your aches and pains at the same time. Every Friday afternoon, the New Jersey branch of Cheerleaders brings in a masseuse to help patrons get truly relaxed. Those who can’t get enough of Cheerleaders are free to join the dancers—none of whom actually dress as cheerleaders by the way—on the green for any of the two annual golf outings.

Silver Dollar Club
2620 W. 10th Place
Eugene, Oregon 

Three words drag clientele here year after year—stripper haunted house. Each Halloween this all-nude club gets decked out for the holiday. The elaborate haunted house spreads throughout the bar, the champagne room and the three stages of dancers—including a hot tub and shower stage. A word of caution for those that go—don’t even try to get on stage here. Rumor has it, dancers can give handsy patrons a good belt lashing. On the other hand, make sure you try to get on stage here because rumor has it, dancers give handsy patrons a good belt lashing.

Mary’s Club
129 SW Broadway
Portland, Oregon 

This is the club where everybody knows your name, including the ultra-tattooed contortionist strippers. Self-described as a “mom and pop strip club,” Oregon’s oldest topless bar features not one, but two contortionist dancers, one of whom can be seen at left. “That’s Blazer,” explains bartender Cherie Keller. “What she does is so beautifully done, women like to watch her more than men.” In addition to dancers with no reservations about smoking a cigarette with their toes while wearing only panties, Mary’s also makes our list because of its mixed men-women clientele and reasonable one-drink minimum.

401 Semoran Blvd
Casselberry, Florida 

A steakhouse, topless bar and makeshift vaccination center all rolled into one, Rachel’s caters to almost every bodily need. In addition to offering over 500 dancers and five-star dining (including a prime rib buffet every Wednesday and a 26-foot-long lunch buffet on weekdays), the Casselberry branch of Rachel’s also offers free flu shots to seniors ages 55 and over each year. The shots are administered by healthcare pros—sorry, but the only naughty nurses you’ll see are on stage—and those 65 and over are invited to stay for a free meal.

XTC Cabaret
8550 N. Stemmons Fwy
Dallas, Texas 

“You can’t get any better than nude chicks rolling around in baby oil on a mattress,” says XTC general manager Erin Fry. Run by a former Playboy model—check out the September, 2002 College Girls edition—the largest strip joint in Dallas is the only bar in the city that guarantees all nude ladies. While 70-plus girls flood XTC’s four stages each night, the real draw is the Wednesday night nude oil wrestling matches. “Girls volunteer to wrestle and we put them on stage and auction them off,” explains Fry. “Whoever bids highest gets to squirt them down with oil, coach them, wipe off their face in between matches. It’s amazing.” Patrons can also bid on the coveted spot of referee who ultimately declares the night’s winners, but really, when it comes to nude oil wrestling, isn’t everyone a winner?

Jumbo’s Clown Room
5153 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, California 

Picture it—clowns stripping for other clowns. Legendary for its monthly theme nights, this cover charge-free Hollywood skin spot dedicates one night per year to anyone that’s ever been turned on by face make-up and big hair. “On clown night, the girls basically take their stripper outfits and turn them into clown outfits,” explains Kergie, the self-described Best Bartender in Hollywood. “Some girls have rubber noses, some girls have huge shoes, it’s pretty much half-naked clowns dancing around. We encourage customers to come dressed up, too.” If that sounds like something from a David Lynch film, it probably is. Jumbo’s long list of celebrity clientele include Lynch, who supposedly penned screenplays here, along with former dancer Courtney Love. Those uninterested in titties with a side serving of wacky can come for tamer themed nights like dirty housewives or sexy pirate night, or during the week for near-nudity straight-up.

Tootsie’s Cabaret
150 NW 183rd St.
Miami, Florida 

Bachelor parties beware. Once the ladies of the largest strip club in the country get wind that someone’s getting married, it’s game on. Those who opt for Tootsie’s Bachelor Package get the joy of watching the soon-to-be groom tied and whipped on stage by four dancers who later will make him hump a blow-up doll “to demonstrate techniques he and his future wife can utilize on their wedding night,” says Ed Anakar, director of operations for Rick’s Cabaret International. Those who aren’t getting married are in luck, too. The 74,000-square-foot, all-nude club holds nightly contests where patrons can win free drinks, cash or tattoo gift certificates.

Pure Gold Crazy Horse
300 McCann St.
Nashville, Tennessee 

Weekly 1980s hair metal night? Check. Multiple stages, shower shows and the ability to play billiards with a naked woman? Check, check and check. This Nashville nudie hotspot is one of the only places in America that combines the righteousness of 1980s metal with the sweetness of a near-naked woman playing billiards. Those who can’t get enough at the club can take home a slice of the action at the in-house video and novelty shop.

Palace of Wonders
1210 H. St. HE
Washington DC 

It’s definitely not a strip club, but it is one of our favorite places to see flesh. An homage to all things freaky, this bar/museum/vaudeville stage houses a rotating set of sideshow acts that range from pasties-and-panties burlesque and go-go dancers to fire eaters and sword swallowers. While you won’t get the chance to slip a 10-spot into a thong here, this might be the only place in the country where you can swig a beer, see some skin and check out mind-blowingly weird shit like the in-house collection of fetal skulls or the camel dung cooker. In addition to housing classy strip acts, Palace of Wonders is also home to one of the largest collections of freakshow artifacts in the world. Heart of a child vampire with your boobies, monsieur?

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