Chicken and waffles at a strip joint? As if there weren’t already enough thighs and breasts.
Gentlemen’s clubs around the country have been improving their “talent”—this time focusing on the kitchen. Portland has gained a reputation for its culinary-forward strip circuit (which includes vegan food, of course), and L.A. is no exception. Even one of Los Angeles’ best chefs, Night + Market’s Kris Yenbamroong, has a Thai strip-club inspired dish.
Instead of drab lunch buffets, club owners are realizing they can lure customers with their grub too. There are some definite diamonds in the rough—fried chicken that rivals Roscoe’s, mind you—along with other places that are polishing their routines. From steak sandwiches to tuna tartare, here is a survey of what L.A.’s late-night clubs have to offer.
Photos by Tony Chen
4 Play Gentlemen’s Club
Address and phone: 2238 Cotner Ave (310-575-0660)
Long known as the nudie playground for Hollywood, this strip club doesn’t tease when it comes to fine dining. The main room is decorated in leather, along with white linen table cloths. What the club lacks in alcohol (due to full nudity), it compensates with a “gourmet” menu. Katie, an ex-waitress who has seen Clooney, Hefner, and the like pass through, declares the steak the best dish in the house. For the ladies who want something lighter, options include the Californian “Strawberry Fields” salad with romaine, strawberry vinaigrette, almonds, and oranges. If you’re catering to picky Hollywood celebrities, you can’t muck about in the kitchen. (Photo courtesy Chelsee Lowe)
Beverly, Trinity, Jesse, Jackie, Star, Samantha here more coming! $6 admission, drink and lunch free until 4pm! pic.twitter.com/8ruS4ypjwR
— Bare Elegance LAX (@BareEleganceLAX) May 19, 2014
Address and phone: 4824 W Imperial Hwy (310-649-1100)
While Bare Elegance does offer a free Friday lunch buffet between 11:00am and 3:00 pm, it’s the quick and refreshing lunch menu that should attract the weary travelers coming in and out of LAX airport. A mere $8 gets you admission, a well drink, and a “Spring Rresh Turkey Wrap” with veggies and a hit of Ranch. Nothing says L.A. like cucumbers and breasts at lunch. Out of all the airport adjacent strip clubs, Bare Elegance has the best kitchen. The price is killer, and I’d much rather eat it than Chick-fil-A.
Dames n’ Games
Address and phone: 2319 E Washington Blvd (323-589-2220)
This sports bar-cum-topless bar—a new type of venture from the venerable Spearmint Rhino corporation—has the strongest food in the genre. The $12 chicken and waffles is battered on site, and the waffle is packed with cinnamon. With a generous dousing of American’s favorite hot sauce (Tabasco) and a dip into the syrup, the ¼ fried chicken (two pieces, both dark) is one of the best chicken and waffles L.A. has to offer. Dames n’ Games is a legitimate game changer. Take your girlfriend.
Address and phone: 2800 Walnut Ave (562-427-9657)
One-dollar tacos and beer on Mondays and a $5 basket of fries bring all the boys to the yard (I caved), but the carne asada “Long Beach steak sandwich” is surprisingly good. Plus there is free entrance before 6pm. The dancers and waitresses themselves can be seen munching on the crispy shoe string fries (frozen, and therefore, not that bad). There’s a chipotle caesar salad too, of course.
Address and phone: 11637 Pico Blvd (310-312-3633)
Plan B is the sister club to 4 Play, so it makes sense that it runs a tight kitchen game. It’s also one of the very few strip clubs in the city that unapologetically features an ambitious seafood lineup on its menu: shrimp cocktail, check; spicy tuna tartare, check; seared scallops, check; blackened cod, check. To be fair, the dancers are not nude, as this is purely a bikini bar. So if you’re the type to enjoy raw fish with some skin and cocktails, this is the perfect place for dinner. Don’t sleep on the habanero jerk chicken either.