Ever Since we accidentally rounded the corner of East Baltimore and Gay streets, the Block has exerted a formidable power over our imaginations and sometimes our wallets. Left over from the heyday of Baltimore’s renowned burlesque circuit, the Block is a gloriously sleazy sequence of strip clubs and sex shops along Baltimore Street. And it’s no accident that the police headquarters is within a stone’s throw: A swarming police force is present 24/7, doing its best to keep the city’s vices under control. But they can’t do much to stop the party—it’s a tipsy arcade of bright neon, stilettos, and shifty eyes. If you’re after some local color, this block is a crusty, sequined gem along Baltimore’s namesake street. Baltimore is all nude, so be prepared.
Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club
409 E. Baltimore St., (410) 468-0990, baltimorehustlerclub.com
The porn mogul’s Baltimore branch is big, corporate, and predictable—so if you’re not ready to dig into the seedy underbelly of the Block just yet, drop into Flynt’s for the great service and some top 40 hits. To its credit, Hustler has a wide variety of girls to tickle the fancy of any client, and an equally colorful “gift shop” downstairs.
403 E. Baltimore St., (301) 580-5472, littledarlingsbaltimore.com
Darlings is owned by the Hustler Club, tucked into the basement of Flynt’s building—and the creepy, pink-carpeted flight of stairs down into the club somehow corrects all that is wrong with Hustler’s big-budget spectacle; Darlings is divey, but has more heart than its big sister upstairs. Don’t miss the two-for-one deal: the cover at Hustler will also get you into Darlings for a change of pace and character.
10 Custom House Ave., (410) 949-5999, normajeansclub.com
A classic Baltimore strip joint, with thumping music and lots of booty shaking. Last year, a dancer won a class-action labor suit against the owners, so they may now be the most fairly compensated—and happy—dancers in town.
The Gentlemen’s Gold Club
5801 Pulaski Highway, (410) 483-3356, ggcbaltimore.com
This one’s not part of the Baltimore Street lineup, but is worth the hike down Pulaski Highway if only for a peek at the Gold Club’s “Golden Rods”—that is, the Male Revue held there every Friday night. It’s one of the few venues in the city for male “entertainers,” and it’s well-decorated too . . . in a coke-den-meets-hunting-lodge kind of way.
Haven Place Gentlemen’s Tavern 400 N. Haven St., (410) 276-9420
Like a regular dive bar with a jukebox. But it also happens to have naked women dancing around on the stage. Charlie, the owner, is a friendly guy, and the dancers will come up and talk—without the weird pressure to get a lap dance (which they don’t offer). Always a good time.
615 Fallsway, (410) 528-1117, scores-baltimore.com
Scores is in kind of a weird location over by the highway, the jail, and the Baltimore Sun building, but don’t let that fool you. If you want the atmosphere of a sports bar, with naked women, you’ll score with Scores.
5520 Pennington Ave., (410) 354-1217, fantasiesnightclub.com
Fantasies is the best strip club in South Baltimore. The atmosphere is dark, cool, and laid-back, but the dancers are hot.
The Crazy Russian
8209 Pulaski Highway, (410) 686-1110, crazyrussiancabaret.info
If you want a bit more class and a bit less ass, try the Crazy Russian, where cool costumes, loyal, fun-loving dancers, and sass replace the all-nude, all-in-your-face vibe of many of Baltimore’s strip bars.
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