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At Silverado
At Silverado, Portland

 Magazine Feature Features Archive  
April 2001 Email this to a friend
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Stripper Bars 101
Naked Men Dancing in North America
By Staff reports

** For our NEW updated Strippers 101 article CLICK HERE **

Suddenly the cold Montreal winter outside the bar seemed very far away; as the lights dimmed, leaving only soft red illumination. Then, as the music came up, the pants came down, and a dozen youths perched on stools throughout the room, eight more on stage. The room was full of men, young and old. Underwear-clad waiters slipped through the crowd carrying trays of beer. More clothing was removed, revealing bare skin, supple backs, pert nipples, tight stomachs, smooth round butts and long slender legs. Then, almost simultaneously, the boys bared their dicks, thrusting them, many erect, towards a nearby face, their own hands caressing perfectly naked bodies. So many cocks, so suddenly; the undulating, ass- cheek-spreading, athletic-slim young dancers held the audience in thrall. Church should be like this, I thought. The spectacle recalled something profound and ancient about men, and what men do.

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After the show, I asked my favorite for one private dance, but stayed for three. The back room was packed, with many of the maybe thirty boys working that night, grinding away languorously, between the knees of seated admirers. No slow strip here, he got directly to business. A guardian watching from the door (to keep things from getting too much out of hand) would occasionally say "ne touchez pas, s'il vous plait."

I drank in the clean but musky smell of him, felt his radiant heat, and savored the play of light across his long, firm, muscles, as he bobbed, close between my legs, with but a fraction of an inch of separation. His body was like one great phallic totem moving up and down, as if masturbating itself between my hands which were open inside my thighs. His firm soft skin occasionally brushed against me, and from my slightly open mouth I caressed his body with my warm breath.

Within certain limits it's his choice, and whatever chemistry there is between you, that determines how low and hard the boy's butt descends to your lap; and how close his cock comes to your face. On his next push into my lap, a little smile crossed his lips. That, along with the twinkle of humor in his eyes and his playfulness, really turned me on. He was rarely at a loss for moves, but I couldn't help becoming aware of the smell and warmth, in the small room, of the other boys, close by, doing the same for others. Afterwards, he kissed my cheek, as he took his money, and with a pleasant "merci" slipped away in pursuit of other business.

I am still fascinated by this ritual disrobing of a handsome youth, dancing mirthfully naked for an audience. Something strange happens, even if he himself is otherwise ordinary, something that sometimes transports me briefly to another place and time. The realm, perhaps, of the old gods-- those the Greeks worshipped with their ideal of life and beauty.

They don't swim naked at the pool where I went to school anymore, and for most of us it's getting harder to see a naked man in the flesh. A close-up of the body-beautiful of our fantasies is even rarer, though we're teased by media images and Abercrombie & Fitch shopping bags. Fortunately, many gay clubs have perked up a quiet night with regular stripper nights, showing as much skin as local laws permit, and some clubs have "hot male dancers" every night.

A small army of guys has emerged, ranging in type from youthful first-timers to practiced gym-buff pros. They jump up on the bar, stage or pool table to make a few dollars, or a decent living, from tips that are stuffed into g-strings or socks (or other more intimate places). They come in all sizes, races, and orientations. Some might "fluff" to a Playboy before they come on, but they still like to flirt and say they prefer a male audience as "more appreciative" (and better tippers). Most of the guys perform within a day's drive from home, and you really can still see regional differences. The variations in physiques-- between Vancouver and Atlanta, or from Quebec to Phoenix- - make for interesting travels.

How much you see, and how close you get depends on a tangle of laws and regulations across the continent. Total nudity is still the exception, but Canada is generally less prudish about showing all, and in the USA there are a few jurisdictions that permit total exposure.

Totally nude


A lot of the major Canadian cities have a nude strip bar or two with male strippers. Many guys start the trade at 18 or 19, when they arrive in a big city. They find they can make decent money and have a good time without the usual hassles of a straight job-- and get lots of attention and other perks if they want. Some have even told me of first time stripping around camp fires in the far north for hunting parties, or in huts over ice-fishing holes to entertain all-male audiences far from civilization. One told of first doing it as a casual teen-age lark in his small home town at the girl-strip club on "boys night." Imagine that in America! Most will dance for just a few months, and then move on, so there are always new faces.

Quebec's francophone culture is generally less shy than that of English Canada. The dancers are engaging, pleasant, and personable, as well as sexy, uninhibited, and imaginative in their routines. La Belle Province (of Quebec) is blessed with the most relaxed laws in North America that permit more contact between dancers and patrons than elsewhere, especially during private dances (at C$6-10 per song) in secluded areas.

Montreal has the biggest scene with five major bars featuring danceurs nus, each with it's own ambiance and catering to different customer preferences-- with dozens of guys at each bar during any given week. Campus (1111 Ste. Catherine est; campusmtl.com) is the largest club, and they favor the big, buff, muscular guys. Taboo (1950 de Maisonneuve est) and Bar Adonis (1681 Ste. Catherine est) tend to feature younger, more slender dancers from 18 up. There is a more diverse sampling of different dancers for many tastes at the other two bars: Le Stock (1278 St. Andre) and the West Side Bar (1071 Beaver Hall), with the latter featuring a greater racial diversity, too.

Up in the provincial capitol, in Quebec City, there's Bar De La Couronne (310 de la Couronne). You can see dancers tantalize you on the front stage and then go to the back room for danses � dix, ten dollar private dances.

Ontario has the most British feel on this side of the Atlantic, but nowhere in London does it swing like it does in Toronto. At Remingtons (379 Yonge), up to 150 naked hunks a week do sixty shows every day on two floors. Just across from Detroit, in Windsor, there are nude shows at the Club Happy Tap (1056 Wyandotte est).

Vancouver, British Columbia, with the biggest nude beach in North America, also has a gem of a nude strip bar with some very exotic guys, The Dufferin (900 Seymour). The nearby Royal Hotel (1025 Granville) has an occasional special night, too.

Canada's capital, Ottawa, has Bottoms Up (417 Bank, at Frank), showcasing male (albeit not completely nude) bodies in motion.


In America the strippers can be enterprising individuals, or members of groups who travel their regions visiting different bars. Sometimes dancing can be the first step on the road to a video porn career. Sometimes the guys prefer not to be photographed at all, ever, in hopes of doing fashion modeling, or for reasons of job sensitivity (some are military men, for instance). Others just do it briefly as a lark, or to pay their way through school. Those who do porn will often return to the circuit to perform again in person, as celebrities.

It may seem surprising that Washington, DC, the political epicenter, has long been the nude stripper capital of America, too. Four bars, all in the shadow of the Capitol dome in the South East, feature naked guys hailing from the farms of Pennsylvania, Maryland's Eastern Shore, the small towns of West Virginia, the streets of DC or Philly, and some friendly Southern towns, too. They also have some military types, and racial diversity, as well as guest stars of video fame.

Wet (52 L Street, SE) is the largest and most varied of the bunch, with non- stop teams of guys who make the circuit atop the long oval bar, and finish up getting doused in the shower at bar's end. Follies (24 O Street, SE) is a cinema with an in-house local regular team, as wells as visiting national stars who perform on stage and come out into the audience for your appreciation. La Cage (18 O Street, SE), a long-time favorite, is in the midst of renovations, look for their re-opening soon. Secrets (1245 Half Street, SE) likes 'em big and muscled, all the better to contrast with the pageant contestants in their sister club, Ziegfelds, next door. In nearby Baltimore, Atlantis (615 Fallsway) has nude male dancers on their bar, too.

New York City's famous Gaiety Theatre (202 W. 46th) has classic male burlesque where up to twelve dancers strut their stuff in daily shows.

Atlanta's Swinging Richards (1400 Northside Drive) has three stages going all night with a non-stop show of dancers who strip all the way, with a private VIP section in the back.

In the heart of the midwest, the region's only totally nude male shows are seen just across the Mississippi from St. Louis in Centerville, Illinois, at Boxers 'n Briefs (55 Four Corners Lane). The club is discreetly situated and full of young spunky lads doing impressive gymnastics on the stage poles, and in the new showers. Several have gone on to be featured in photo spreads in Playgirl. In Columbus, Ohio, the Full Monty (870 N. High) has a group of young, local, mostly first-timers who shuck all on stage and in private dances.

In Detroit, Wet (6609 Michigan) is a new "intimate erotic playground for men only" with dancers in the raw, and visiting porn stars.

Out west, Phoenix, Arizona's only totally nude male cabaret for men is at Hideout Cabaret (4030 E. Elwood). In San Francisco there are two gay adult cinemas with live nude stage performances: Nob Hill Theatre (729 Bush), with 24 hour videos and performances by their own "Love Muscle Dancers" and top porn stars; and New Meat Campus Theater (220 Jones), with live shows daily.

P-10 (444 Hobron Lane, Honolulu) has Hawaii's only totally nude male shows.

Bath houses

Many of the bathhouses around the USA, as private clubs, are not constrained by the regulations that are imposed on bars. Not only are there the usual bathhouse opportunities (and sometimes nude swimming and sunbathing), but many also have periodic strippers and j/o shows. Check the web sites of groups such as the Club Bath chain (www.the- clubs.com), the Flex clubs (www.flexbaths.c om), Steamworks (www.st eamworksonline.com), and the Midtowne Spas (www.midtowne. com). You can consult our travel features, and Steam Heat listings for over one hundred bathhouses around the world.

Some of the clubs have regularly scheduled performances. These include: Chicago's Man's Country (5017 N. Clark), which features visiting porn stars and other erotic performances by their in-house Chicago Meatpackers, all nice and sweaty and up close; and Miami's Club Body Center (2991 Coral Way), with Tuesday and Friday exotic nude j/o specials and safe sex orgies and periodic "Mr. Nude" contests for cash prizes.

Going (almost) all the way

The laws in some cities don't permit total nudity, but the guys in the following clubs get as bare as they may, and the tease in these performances can sometimes be as good as the strip. Since so many clubs have dancers, consider this but a highlight of those most dedicated to the scene. Consult our travel feature for each city for more complete information.

In all the USA it'd be hard to beat the great time you'll have in Oregon at the Silverado (1217 SW Stark, Portland). The energy here is provided, in large part, by the constant parade of hunks on stage here and the audience's response to their performances, six nights a week.

In Chicago, the Lucky Horseshoe (3169 N. Halsted) and Madrigal's (5316 N. Clark) have honed the art of male erotic dancing and feature the hunkiest guys in this big, burly city. Circuit (3641 N. Halsted) features the hot men of "Chicago Beef," and Spin (N. Halsted at W. Belmont) has some cute amateurs at their Friday night shower contests.

In Cambridge (Boston area), Paradise (180 Massachusetts) has seven nights of some of New England's hottest men (and visitors from neighboring regions, too). In nearby Providence, find gorgeous "All Male Review" dancers on parade at Pulse (86 Crary).

In Philadelphia, "something for everyone" at Woody's (202 S. 13th) includes strip fans, too. The Post (1705 Chancellor) with their "Bad Boys Club Dancers" on weekends, Free Zone (610 E. Naples), and Shampoo (417 N. 8th) are other Philly venues with barely-clad dancers some nights.

East St. Louis's dance bar Faces (4th Street) features male video stars and down-home guys like the Kentucky boys of "Southern Comfort" in semi- nude, weekend performances. Unicorn Club (122 W. 13th) in Indianapolis, has dancers in constant rotation, most nights.

The Brig (117 Broadway) is Denver's best bar for bare boys, and in Los Angeles, Micky's (8857 Santa Monica) has go-go boys most nights. Free Zone (610 E. Naples) has male dancers in Las Vegas.

A whole heap of awfully nice southern lads go just as far as they can (bless 'em) in North Carolina at Chasers (3217 The Plaza, Charlotte) and on weekends at Club Odyssey (4019 Country Club, Winston-Salem). In Atlanta, Georgia, Metro (1080 Peachtree) has go-go dancers most nights. New Orleans' famous dance and show club Oz (800 Bourbon) has weekend strippers.

In Florida, Metro (2929 Plum, Jacksonville) has the "Men of Just Imagine" male dancers on weekends. Strippers are also seen at Tampa's 2606 Club (2606 N. Armenia) and in Ft. Lauderdale at Johnny's (1116 W. Broward) and Lord's (4200 N. Federal Highway). In Miami Beach, The Boardwalk (17008 Collins), has continuous rounds of strippers on stage from 5pm to 5am, and the big dance clubs Twist (1057 Washington) and Score (727 Lincoln Road) also have weekend strip shows.

In the "old days" lamented a dancer friend, in a "more discreet scene," the tips were more like $5, $10, or $20 rather than the $1 today. Other guys tell of hassles like being stalked by obsessed patrons, and one was grabbed by the balls so hard he had to see a doctor. Some people assume that all "dick dancers" are hustling, and though some are, many are not. The guys on stage work hard to entertain you, so hey, be nice, be generous, have fun, and enjoy the show-- and let le spectacle (the show) go on!

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