As I sift through my memorabilia to bring back memories about wine, I found a matchbook for a “gentleman’s club” which is a code word for a topless bar. I am not partial to this type of establishments, but a good friend was having his bachelor party there, hosted by the best man, so off I went.
I think part of the problem I have with these venues is that there is no artistry or any quality. When I was sixteen I was visiting some cousins of mine, up in Canada, and one of my cousins took me with some of his buddies and we went to the Palace Theater in Buffalo. This was one of the perhaps true Burlesque Halls at the time, I say this with no concrete proof, but I do remember that they had disappeared from the Detroit area by that time. The Palace was still a class act, and I remember that the people that were going in there were still well dressed and it was not just men in the audience, as there were women with furs in attendance with some of the men that came to see the show and this left an impression with me. There were dancers, but there was not really nudity, as the art of burlesque was more of the effect, rather than blatant nudity. Interspersed with the dancers was a magician that used a “young lady” to maybe draw the attention away from his sleight of hand tricks. There was also a “top banana” comedian that would entertain between the dancers, and he also did skits to entertain the audience during changes, the one I remember most was he was talking to a lady on the stage and he snagged a piece of yarn on her knit dress and for the rest of the skit as she walked around being the foil for his jokes, the yarn kept unraveling slowly but surely from her dress until she appeared almost nude at the conclusion. I am glad that I had a chance to see this type of show, before the end of the era.
All of this exposition is to bring us back to the venue for the bachelor party, which was more of a “strip club.” This establishment was very much in vogue at the time, because of business men’s expense accounts at the time, so this club was noted for their food. There were about a dozen of us at a table for the party, and the food that was brought out for our dining pleasure was extensive. We started with about nine different types of hot appetizers that could all be consumed with toothpicks; items like bacon wrapped water chestnuts, a couple of different types of shrimp platters, and more of food of this ilk. Then after the appetizers we had filets and lamb chops brought out on large platters along with side dishes. I have to say that the food was all prepared extremely well; in fact I found the food to be much better than any of the entertainment that was up on the stage.
All the time, that we were in the midst of the revelry and all of the assorted food that was brought out for us, we were enjoying bottles of California Champagne from Korbel. This was not vintage champagne, but more of the house brand, which was fine, because it was being consumed as if it was water, so if we had used more prestigious brands the tab at the end of the night would have been astronomical. It was a night to remember for the camaraderie of the guests, but I remember being impressed on the quality of the food more than anything else, but suffice it to say, that I have not been back there for a dinner since.