Monday, January 7, 2013

Clermont Lounge basks in the RHOA effect

Posted By on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 5:48 PM

From the side, Blondie's a dead ringer for NeNe Leakes.
  • Tatum Shaw
  • From the side, Blondie's a dead ringer for NeNe Leakes.

If you've ever had one of those Saturday nights where your original plans fell through and you found yourself riding down Ponce de Leon Ave. 'round midnight feeling a little lonely, you probably know where this post is going...

That's right, the Clermont Lounge.

But when I pulled up last Saturday, I immediately noticed something different about the old haunt: a long ass line spilling out the front door. And it wasn't one of those vanity lines club owners like to create just to promote the club to cars passing by. The doormen were only letting in new patrons as people exited, as if it was full to capacity. Even the dude behind me asked, "What's going on tonight? I've never seen it like this."

That was nothing compared to the inside: Bar. Packed. Dance floor. Packed. That narrow little hallway in front of the bathrooms. Packed. DJ Romeo Cologne's opener Quasi Mandisco was in the booth shirtless and spinning the funk as usual. And everybody was loving it. But the crowd looked, I don't know, different? It was a good mix as always but you could tell there were a lot of first-timers in the spot because they had that touristy look in their eyes. Others looked right at home, first time or not, like the lady who must've been inspired to do her own tease after watching the Clermont's rich variety of over-the-hill, over-the-waistline talent. As she stood on a chair holding the overhead rafter for support, she ground her hips like coffee and screamed like a wino. I almost tipped her.

Still something felt a little off, a little strange, a little suburban. In search of answers, I took to my preferred source of info: Twittah. "damn. wtf happened to the Clermont Lounge? it's packed but ... who r these ppl??" I tweeted.

Within minutes came the response: "clermont was on house wives of Atlanta last week...don't ask me how I kno...," tweeted an Atlanta artist who'd probably prefer to remain nameless under the circumstances.

Indeed, episode 9 of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Atlanta" featured a scene shot inside Atlanta's oldest strip club with Atlanta's oldest strippers putting in work. Apparently, the airing brought the show's freaky, over-40, suburban fanbase out in full force.

In the RHOA ep. in question, Peter and Cynthia had a couples' night out with big booty Phaedra and her husband Apollo. While Apollo spent most of the time venting about he and Phaedra's cooked-up marriage problems (read: manufactured storyline), the rest of them ogled and giggled at all the cellulite, stretch marks and loose booty.

"If you guys wanted to turn me off from coming to the strip club, it worked," said Peter, who, in an earlier scene with his wife, shot at the Castleberry Hills natural food store the Boxcar Grocer, had been breaking down the nonchalant business-casual vibe of certain Atlanta strip clubs. Not so at the Clermont.

While I could only stomach the crowd for about five minutes Saturday night, the bounce in traffic was not wasted on Romeo Cologne, who took to Facebook to give thanks the day after:

  • Screen shot/Facebook

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