So far things have been looking up in 2010. I've left my apartment once or twice in the new year, and on those occasions I've noticed that the cat piss on my front porch has unusually delicate overtones in its scent, almost like a fine red wine, but with a hint of Tobasco. Even more surprisingly, the dog shit in my front yard seems to have a sparkly sheen, and the little piles are all shaped like crusty brown smiley faces. While standing at the bus stop near my house the other day I saw that Tommy's, the little old run-down strip club sandwiched between another strip club and a fish market on Powell Boulevard, had a new paint job, and the sign out front now said “Glimmer's.” Everything just keeps getting better and better!
It was only about six months ago that Cocktails & Dreams, the heavily mildewed strip club that had long been a neighbor of Tommy's, was bought out by the owner of DV8 and turned into the much nicer Rose City Strip. I'd thought that was a ballsy move at the time, but buying Tommy's must have taken balls big enough to teabag this entire quadrant of the city. If you don't believe me, just read some of the comments that have been left on BarFly's listing for Tommy's over the years. Personally I loved the place, and I always had a good time there, but I'd be lying if I said it was popular.
Here's an example of what it was sometimes like trying to order a drink at Tommy's:
“Could I get a gin and tonic?”
“Sorry, we're out of gin.”
“Oh, really? Huh. Well, could I get a whiskey Coke, then?”
“Actually, we're out of whiskey, too. Sorry. Hopefully we'll get some more by Friday.”
“Shit. OK, I guess I'll just have a PBR.”
“We don't carry Pabst.”
“Really? Well what's your cheapest beer then?”
“We've got Budweiser...?”
“OK, well how much is that?”
“Jesus, really?! Alright then, I guess I'll open a tab.”
“Sorry, we don't take cards. Cash only.”
It was as if they couldn't get rid of customers fast enough. I never understood what their business strategy was. Honestly, though, I much preferred the relaxed, dank environment of Tommy's to the blaring hair metal and angry DJ's at some of the other clubs on the Powell strip, I just couldn't afford to hang out there. And even if I could afford it, nobody ever wanted to go with me.
The guy who recently turned Tommy's into Glimmer's Gentlemen's Club bought Tommy's III back in 2008 – which was out on Southeast Foster, way past Devil's Point – and turned it into Shimmers. He fixed it up and made that place into something great for the club-goers in the neighborhood, and it looks like he's doing the same thing here.
But Glimmer's is more than just dog poop in the shape of a smiley face.
I visited Glimmer's this afternoon to check the place out myself. The interior is set up the same, but it's been cleaned up and re-painted, and the lighting is a little better. The pool table has been replaced with tables and chairs. The video poker machines were powered off and sitting dormant, but I'm sure that won't last long. I remember back in the day watching dancers go directly from the stage to their stools in front of those machines to feed their dollars bills into the slots while they puffed frantically at cigarettes and swirled the ice in their watered-down drinks.
A friendly, attractive Asian woman with wonderful cleavage took my order at the bar after serving another guy a massive burger. I was pleasantly surprised by the new drink prices, which are about half as much as they used to be. The place also now accepts cards. There was a laminated food menu laying on the bar, and everything looked reasonably priced.
Mellow R&B was playing at about the same volume level I would use at home. I sat at the rail, where a cute dancer was already completely nude, except for her heels. I moved my beer so she could sprawl out on the surface in front of me. I started asking her questions about the club's change of ownership, but it was her first day, and it turned out I knew more than she did about it. She introduced herself as Sunshine. She said she used to dance at Shimmers but had taken a couple months off. Another dancer walked into the club, whom she said also used to dance at Shimmers.
Sunshine was attractive and pleasant to talk to. She continued dancing for an extra couple of songs while the other dancer who'd just come on shift gave an eager patron a private dance before she started. When she was done with her set, I finished my drink, nodded to the bartender, and left.
With all of the big, noisy clubs on the Powell Boulevard strip, I'd like to officially declare Glimmer's Gentlemen's Club to be Powell's Chill Room. Maybe I'm getting old, but I really dig the mellow vibe in there, man.
In other recent club changes of note, The Big Bang! has become Lure Exotic Lounge, and Pop-A-Top has become Landing Strip (which is also the name of the strip club in one of my favorite television shows, Friday Night Lights).