Looking for some topless sirloin? How about a strip steak? Or, wait … you’d settle for just any piece of meat, well done, wouldn’t you? Alright, alright. Enough with the punny one-liners. If you’re anything like me, your idea of going out to a nice dinner doesn’t include a cadre of naked women slithering around a pole while you’re trying to get your pan-roasted John Dory on. That said, I wonder if maybe I’m cutting strip clubs short when it comes to what they bring to the table. Literally. As in, never mind what’s on the stage–what’s cookin’ in the kitchen?? I set out to answer this very question with a little help from Cult Starr, a seasoned Los Angeles strip club connoisseur.
Plan B – 11637 Pico Blvd, West LA, CA 90064
You gotta hand it to Plan B for what is perhaps the wittiest of names in this tittiest of games. After all, when things don’t go the way you had hoped, there’s always Plan B. Here, you might actually think you’re at a swank-like cocktail lounge, replete with valet parking, crystal chandeliers, leather banquettes, white tablecloths, and even an outdoor cigar patio. There just so happens to be a stripper pole and stage in the middle of the room. The menu includes a full bar, which, if you know anything about LA strip clubs, means there is no full nudity. Serving food until 2am every night, the kitchen turns out dishes like habanero jerked chicken (go ahead … I’ll wait until you finish laughing) with wild mushroom and fingerling potato stew; five-spice salmon atop mashed potatoes and heirloom veggies; pan seared scallops with curry cauliflower puree and warm bacon fennel leek salad in blood orange sauce; New York strip; filet mignon; Asian-style black cod; and a Kobe burger. As Cult Starr says, “I like Plan B best ’cause even though the girls don’t really strip and are more burlesque, there is alcohol, and it really is like eating at an upscale restaurant.”
4Play – 2238 Cotner Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Consider this the naughtier sister to Plan B. Translation: 4Play is all nude, all the time. And in Los Angeles, that means this “gentleman’s club” does not serve alcohol. But it does offer the same extensive dining offerings as Plan B, including a weekly lunch buffet that begins at 12pm. According to Cult Starr, “They don’t serve junk food, they serve real dinner. It’s good. And the girls actually choreograph their dances.” The atmosphere aims for upscale supper club, with leather seats, tiny round tables with white linens, dim lighting, and private VIP rooms for big spenders. If you fancy yourself as someone who goes where celebrities go, this might be the place for you. George Clooney, Matthew Perry, and Sting have all stopped in at one time or another. Christian Slater infamously passed out overnight on one of the couches. Klassy!
Crazy Girls – 1433 N. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Even if you’ve never been to Crazy Girls, you’ve seen it in countless movies and practically every episode of “Entourage.” That’s because this place is a veritable LA institution (for crazeee girls, duh!). The former dump had a serious makeover back in 2007 that brought in four shiny new poles, red booths and top-shelf liquors. Admittedly, there is no kitchen and no chef at Crazy Girls, but as Cult Starr urges, “You can get any food delivered there. I usually order pizza from Greco’s New York Pizzeria, but you can get anything sent in.” Sometimes if you’re lucky, he says, “You’ll get a food truck parked right outside the club. The Kogi truck was parking there for awhile, but recently, it’s been changing up. If all else fails, you can always count on the girl with the weenie cart.” How perfect.
Sam’s Hofbrau – 1751 Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Taking pride as “the one and only topless strip club in Downtown Los Angeles,” Sam’s Hofbrau is a bar, restaurant, and adult cabaret. There are more than 50 beers and cocktails at the bar, pool tables and a large screen TV to watch the game, a stage with four vertical poles and two horizontal poles, DJs regularly spinning, and a full-service restaurant offering lunch and dinner. “You can definitely eat there, but I would say Sam’s is more like a fun dive,” says Cult Starr. “It’s all diner food like hamburgers, tacos, sandwiches, burgers, quesadillas, fries …. The girls aren’t A team, but at least they’re topless. I like this place ’cause it’s old school.” Indeed. Just ask fans Quentin Tarantino, Steve-O, and, according to Cult Starr, some of LA’s finest. “UPS has their truck facility nearby, so those guys are always there. So are the guys from DWP and LAPD–they all go there after work for happy hour. They like the cheap lap dances and even cheaper beer pitchers and junk food.”
Fantasy Island – 11434 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
For anyone who grew up in the early 80s, “Fantasy Island” was their favorite TV show featuring a dwarf named Tattoo. But at this Fantasy Island, the only tattoo you’re gonna see is a tramp stamp. As far as the exterior goes, it’s hard to miss: Pink and powder blue with a tiki motif here and there, and a lookout tower that looks worse for the wear. As for the inside: Can somebody say bright lights, no titties? The sign outside says ‘Showgirls’ but “this place is really a bikini bar,” says Cult Starr. There is no dim lighting, no dark rooms. “The girls don’t take off their tops.” And as for the food, he explains, “They have simple stuff like burgers and fries, salads, quesadillas, finger foods … a lot of people go there for lunch, but it’s not cuisine like Plan B.”