Nestled comfortably in one of Downtown L.A.’s yet-to-be-gentrified industrial neighborhoods, this well-known—oft loved, oft hated—topless bar aims to be your one stop shop for food, booze and booty shaking. Part restaurant (opt for the greasy, extra-cheesy pizza), part sports bar and all strip club, Sam’s attracts a diverse crowd and keeps them happy with a stacked lineup of dancers. On any given night there are 25 to 60 dancers with upwards of 13 gracing the stage at a time. However, make no mistake: The ladies of Sam’s Hofbrau aren’t the most… athletic, when it comes to the pole. Usually a dancer will take the stage and just saunter about, with an occasional boob squeeze or ass jiggle. Sam’s dancers are known in the L.A. strip club scene as having some of the “fattest asses” in town, a sentiment some of the more petite dancers at other clubs will be quick to share with you. Table and chair dances ($20 and $10, respectively) are the real draw for customers, so dancers use the poles less for acrobatics and more as a stabilizer/resting post for prolonged twerking between private dances.
Welcome to 22,000 square feet of HDTVs, flowing booze and less-than-dressed mademoiselles. You can barely get a beer in your hand here before a pretty girl in lingerie introduces herself and starts flirting like you’re the most interesting person in the world, which is a nice touch that you don’t find in a lot of LA strip clubs—especially because the dancers aren’t pushy about getting a lap dance right away. Though speaking of which, the private couches for the $20 lap dances aren’t so private. On a busy night you can expect to have a sexy grind taking place right next to yours, and even on either side of you if it’s really packed. It seems the common cure for this awkwardness is to have a few drinks in you and hope nobody starts moaning. Other than this odd quirk, Dames n’ Games is actually a really fun bar. There are two large rooms: The main area has a sizeable stage with three poles (busy nights will have three performers dancing at once) and plenty of seating. The second area is a side room that’s more of a traditional sports bar with tables and a solid but affordable menu. For most strip clubs and bars, Tuesday nights are painfully slow, but DnG offers $3 steak dinners along with well drinks and domestic drafts, which make it one of their busiest nights. We asked around and the consensus is that for two bucks, it’s a hell of a good steak.
“No loitering or urinating in this private parking lot.” This amusing and depressingly necessary sign tells you everything you need to know about Winnetka’s Candy Cat Too. If nothing else, CCT nails what it means to be a neighborhood dive bar, with the added benefit of topless dancers. The beers are dirt cheap—a PBR will run you $3.50 and pitchers of various drafts range from $8.75 to $12.75—and just about everyone seems to be a regular. The dancers aren’t the fanciest, but are eclectic and range in age and body types; a voluptuous performer might use the stage for some R&B hip thrusting and ass jiggling, followed by some jaw-dropping pole twirling to Slipknot from a dancer with less bod, more ’tude. Overall the atmosphere is lighthearted and fun with everyone in the small bar applauding each other’s sets. The girls usually recognize faces in the crowd and will chat at length with patrons. On most nights the average customers skew toward middle-aged males, but you’ll also find young couples, after-work types and the occasional chatty biker.
This North Hollywood bar is owned and operated by a husband and wife duo who take pride in the joint’s solid beer selection (57 total, with 28 on tap) and chummy environment. Star Garden could easily be your regular neighborhood watering hole as well as your favorite spot to make it rain. Often hailed as “the Jumbo’s hipsters haven’t ruined yet,” the joint skews more toward a punk and rock sensibility and features acrobatics by some of the most talented and diverse pole dancers in L.A. (Also, Jumbo’s isn’t topless—Star Garden sure is.) Saturday nights usually host eight or so dancers of varying shape, size and age. Your neighbors at the bar are a mixed bag, ranging from run-of-the-mill barflies, couples (straight and LGBT) and a growing number of hip twenty-somethings. A dance will run you $20 and there’s not much in the way of privacy, but sometimes the spirit takes you and, if that dancer is good enough, you’ll forget everyone else exists.