409 E. Baltimore St., baltimorehustlerclub.com, (410) 468-0990
There is a certain seedy charm to the Block. We've been predicting its demise since 1992 (see Classic). The guys selling socks, the hawkers urging you to step inside, and the sheer number of crazy people per capita. (Once we even saw someone we think was H.R., the erstwhile singer of Bad Brains, out on the street wearing a blond wig and dress over his clothes.) We like walking around on the Block and want it to stick around. We even want to support it, but, truth be told, most of the clubs there aren't really made for the casual customer to stop in for a few beers. You have to want to get pretty nasty to buy $15 drinks for the girls (as you'll be pressured to do) in most of the holes in the wall on East Baltimore Street, which cater more to the hardest of hardcore regulars. The Hustler Club, however, lets you experience the craziness of the Block while ultimately retreating to a strip club you might actually want to go to. Sure, it's corporate and, sure, it's cheesy-it's a strip club, after all-but the women are nice and often quite attractive. If you go during the afternoon or early evening-which is really the best time to go to a strip club-it's relatively cheap to get in and drink, and the airport-like, glass-encased smoking room (uncharmingly called the Cut and Poke) is free. The best part about it is you can look out from the window into the burnt-out shell of the old Gayety showroom and dream of the Block's glory days.