Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Clairmont Lounge

When I walked into Clairmont Lounge, the our "C" bar for the Alphaholics Anonymous weekly meeting, I was shocked. Like most people, I could not believe what I was seeing on the stage. But its not what you think. This was not my first time, or even my 20 th, so I was not taken aback by meth-addict-rotting-teeth-bruised-ass 50yr old hookers on the stage. I was shocked because there was only about two strippers out of ten that looked like homeless crack whores. The rest of the girls could easily be found in your average low rent strip club. On every previous trip, the average age of the strippers was 55. But now it appears to be closer to 25. If it wasnt for Sophie, the late sixties great-grandmother (whose life story once made Rikki cry), it would be tough to shock the uninitiated with the obsenity that is seeing most of the Clairmont strippers nekkid. These new girls, while by no means hot, were actually watchable without clothes on. It was the first time I have ever considered getting a table dance from a stripper at the Clairmont, but in the end, it still wasnt quite worth the $5.

At most Atlanta strip clubs, you cant dance with a tattoo. It has to be concealed or covered with makeup. The Clairmont has apparently become the defacto bar for the set because they let anyone that can stand, dance. There were quite a few punk chicks with tattoos and piercings, because that is pretty much the only place they can get work. If what I saw was typical, the Clairmont might have taken one step closer towards mainstream. Of course, by mainstream, I mean the girls no longer jump off the stage mid-set, once they have earned enough dollars, to run outside and score some more crack. Mainstream means there are not so many cellulite riddled, black-eyed depraved drug addicts (though they still have a few), but rather more girls with spikes protruding from their lips, half their head shaved like Sinead O'conner and the other half dyed pink. It is less, and more, but has a long way to go before it becomes . Either way, the clientele there still has its fair share of hopeless lonely old men, homeless bums exchanging their spare change for PBR, frat guys ordering Amstell Light, and hipsters drinking High Life because they like the look of the label. Which is to say, the Clairmont brings together all walks of life, and everyone generally has a good time laughing at each other (and the girls onstage).

A lot of people are scared of the Clairmont, but that is just stupid. Its not scary, its just dirty, but also a hell of a fun time. It had been a while since I had been there, but we all agreed that we should return more often. The thing I like most about the Clairmont is that it is what it is. It doesnt try to be a shitty dirty dive bar, it just is because that is the way it always has been. Sure a lot of other places are dingy and dirty, but only because the owners are going for that vibe. It has an authenticity about it that is not tarnished by being listed in magazines and newspapers and "Best Dive Bar in Atlanta," year in and year out, whatever the hell that means. The women behind the bar have been there for years, as have many of the strippers. It's the only place I've ever been too where the girls come by after dancing and thank you for tipping them. Hell, half the time I got a thank you, I didnt even tip.

Our group this week was probably the most diverse yet. We had a former Gold Club dancer, a laywer, a few yuppies, a Girl Scout troop leader, a couple of gay guys, and some hippies. I have seen a lot in my short time on this earth, but I have never seen a gay asian guy tipping a great-grandmother four times over for flashing him her grey haired beaver...until yesterday. Im ready to go back next week, but instead, we will see you at the Dixie Tavern.


Blogger hj1380 said...

First, its the Clermont Lounge, not 'clairemont', 'claremont', 'clairmont' or any of the other random variations. just 'Clermont'. (not to be a spelling Nazi, but hey, the Clermont is a special place....)

After the Chamber shut down, many of the girls who put on the goth/punk/industrial sex shows at the Chamber started working at the Clermont instead. That's why you see all the tattoos and piercings these days.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Michael Wisniewski said...

This place is pretty amazing. I have had nothing but great times there and will always recommend people experience it for themselves.

Did you see the trailer for the upcoming documentry about Blondie?

6:07 PM  

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