So it was my birthday Sat., Sept. 10, but my first impulse was keeping it low-key to hokey. Ever since turning 25, when I was literally drenched in as much champagne as sweat, I've wondered if I should ask for an Asian massage parlour gift certificate to try and have a night as climactic.
I wondered that again approaching Cheshire Bridge Road, passing nondescript buildings where behind tinted windows may lay the "happy ending" to many birthday celebrations. But my destination offered entertainment far more legitimate, though no less sweaty or enthusiastic.
Southern Nights adult video? No, though a fine suggestion. New Baby Products across the street? No, but don't those make an awesome pair? Think a couple doors down: Taverna Plaka. I hadn't felt enticed to revisit the Greek café since around its soft opening a few years ago, so was I shocked to find not only a "lot full" sign out front, but also a lot fulfilling inside.
I walked in just as a belly dance show began, and was greeted with a face full of OPA! Apparently, showering a crowd with a steady rain of cocktail napkins is a Greek tradition. And the packed cross-cultural house was eating it up, along with mounds of tasty food. I'll just say that I haven't seen that much paper flapping while women swivel their hips since my last trip to the Cheetah.
You feel like you get more for your money at Taverna Plaka, though, plus you can take the in-laws. Go ahead and buy grandpa shots of ouzo, then hoist him up on a table to have a scantily clad artiste wrap a scarf around his hips to guide his wiggle. Try that at the Cheetah. No, seriously, do -- then tell me about getting thrown out.
Things really kick up, however, when the lights go down. On Friday and Saturday from 11 p.m.-2:30 a.m., it's a Mediterranean dance party for yuppies. Think Snap's "The Power" meets Lil Jon's "Get Low" blaring in Greek. You can't hear a conversation, though, so get on a table and just assume all things said are "drink" and "shake it."
Concluding my night of strip club-esque activities, I went to East Side Lounge to check out London's Quantic at the one-year anniversary of Karl Injex's monthly "Get Together," as well as to celebrate the birthday of CL Assistant A&E Editor Carlton Hargro. ESL's like a complimentary shake club because navigating the narrow space causes mad booty to inadvertently massage your jock. Meanwhile, Carlton, breakdancers and bohemians alike were throwing down to worldly funk, and tequila was making some lose control like Missy and others treat 35 like the new 25 -- an orgiastic, honey-dipped happy ending.
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