Some Places Are Better Left Unexplored: “Riviera’s, A Review”

In this gripping adventure tale of one young man’s journey into modern night debauchery, The Chad finds his hopes of alcohol-infused pleasures quickly stifled by the realization that maybe, ignorance is bliss. Just maybe, some places are better left unexplored.

Riviera’s: A Review

T.J. “The Chad” Anania

Dashed Expectations, talking money, and eight dollar “titty-shots”

What do you get when you mix boredom with gin-soaked spontaneity? Two weekends ago this dangerously amusing combination led me to pile into the back of a large Suburban with an eclectic group of eight others.

Our destination: The Riviera Show Club. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly innocent name. Riviera’s, a self-described “Premier gentlemen’s club,” was a playground of debauchery and depravity; truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Now, most of the folks who had come on this trip with me had never been to a gentlemen’s club before, myself included. But, after years of jokes about heading to “Sweaty” Betty’s, it was time to actually put our money where our mouth was… and then shove it into the waist of a stripper’s thong.

From the outside, the club looked like a Soviet-era police station. An attempt at modernity was made with a streak of mirrored glass on the side, but the concreate cube and chain link fence that is the Riviera just felt unsettling. This feeling was only exacerbated when smoking patrons gave us a long hard stare as we entered. The whole atmosphere was a red flag, but by this point we were past the point of no return.

Inside, we were greeted with a very thick air of no-nonsense professionalism. The two employees manning the desk were in all black, which, was a fitting match for their mood. No smiles were exchanged here, only hard cash. I, naively, had only brought singles though and I didn’t want to spend all of my “make it rain” money on the cover. Cue my first visit of two visits to the ATM and the nine dollar convenience charge. I hadn’t actually stepped foot in the club and the expenses were already starting to sting.

Once we paid our covers and donned our wristbands, a friend and I were approached by one of the dancers. While stroking my beard and twisting his nipple, she asked if we were interested in a private dance. The joke was over, we were at a strip club and a bit out of our league. We politely declined the offer and ventured to the bar. Two gin and tonics set us back another 20 big ones.

With drinks in hand we were ready for our first real strip club experience. After finding seats near the stage and suffering the angry stares of several patrons, we were approached a second time. A dancer with a tray of multi-colored shooters walked up cleavage first.

“You want a titty shot?”

“Sure, how much?”

“They’re eight dollars.”

“I can’t afford that.”

The dancer’s demeanor changed so drastically I was afraid she had just seen a ghost, and she did. A cheapskate in a club might as well be a dead man and dead men don’t need “titty shots.” With those four words I had marked myself and seen through Riviera’s thin veil. The absurdity of the situation dawned on me and I could only laugh.

In popular culture, the depictions of clubs are almost exclusively positive. The protagonists always have a great time; the booze flows, everyone is genuine, and no one ever runs out of cash. The reality, though, was much stranger. The booze dripped, everyone was fake, and we ran up a large tab.

In The Riviera Show Club, fun shouldn’t be the expectation, it is a commodity to be bought and sold and you’ll definitely get what you paid for. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience though; I’ll never be back again.

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