Crazy Russian

Crazy Russian (NOAH SCIALOM / June 17, 2014)

Part of Charm City’s charm is its louche nightlife. Where else in America can you find a red-light district across the street from police headquarters (and around the corner from the tourist-friendly Inner Harbor)? The Block, as that red-light district is fondly known, goes all the way back to the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 and was the home of Blaze Starr, who brought down a Louisiana governor and was the subject of a Paul Newman movie. We won’t list the dozen or so different strip clubs—ranging from the corporate Hustler Club(409 E. Baltimore St., [410] 468-0990,baltimorehustlerclub.com) to the very local Norma Jean’s(10 Custom House Ave., [410]949-5999)— that you’ll find on or right off of the 400 block of East Baltimore Street, but even if you don’t want to stop in, it’s worth a stroll down the street. There is even one bar—the historic Midway (421 E. Baltimore St.), where all the glamorous dancers of the old days used to hang between sets—with pinups on the wall, but no nudity or expensive drinks. If you want the low-key dive-bar vibe but would still like to see a little flesh (or a lot, most Baltimore strip clubs are all nude), you could try the Haven Place Gentlemen’s Tavern (44 N. Haven St.), an after-work spot that happens to have dancers—but no lap dances and no weird pressure. Or if you are more into sports bars, check out Scores (615 Fallsway, [410] 528-1117, scores-baltimore.com). In South Baltimore, it’s hard to beat Fantasies (5520 Pennington Ave., [410] 354-1217, fantasiesnightclub.com). And if the all-nude is a bit more than you’re looking for, stop by the Crazy Russian (8209 Pulaski Highway, [410] 686-1110, crazyrussiancabaret.info) for some classy and quirky burlesque-style dancing. If you want male strippers, your options are limited. The Gold Club (5801 Pulaski Highway, [410] 483-3356, gentlemensgoldclubgirls.com) has a male revue every Friday night. Unfortunately, Baltimore’s gay strip-club scene, once proudly led by the lamented Atlantis, is a bit flaccid these days, but here’s to hoping that it might rise up from its moribund state.